If you take a look up at the sky right now, you’ll more than likely be able to spot a few clouds in the sky. What do these have to do with your business? Well, you’re about to find out. The clouds in the sky represent one of the greatest innovations to hit computing in the 21st century. The cloud is an idea.
What is the cloud all about when it comes to your business? Well cloud computing refers to internet-based computing or computing powered by digital and thus ‘invisible’ tech. Colloquially this is referred to as the cloud as it may as well be based in the sky, traveling around through the beams and waves of wi-fi!
In technical terms, cloud computing is shared resources, data, and power – provided by a connection of computers with minimal user input and management. Cloud computing networks can be used privately in-house, or can be operated third-party through a cloud server with high availability that is usually sold to users or businesses. The big appeal of the cloud is that it is truly global. Cloud data centers can be located and accessed from anywhere in the world – which means businesses that use a cloud network are not limited to an office space. Think of it as a utility in the same vein as electricity – it’s available as long as you’re connected.
Cloud computing has a number of benefits, and most of these should be obvious – however, we’ll go over them today. The first big benefit is cost. One of the big sinking costs for a business is set-up fees. Infrastructure costs and set-up costs can derail a business – especially when it comes to setting up computing within a business. These costs might be low if you’re working from home, but if you want to run a business based in the outside world, high server costs and other things can mean you spend more money and time on setting up a computer network rather than setting up your business. If you use cloud servers to run your business networks, you can save space and costs and effectively plug into an network that is setup and ready to go with minimal costs and on-site equipment. This is a game changer for startups across the globe who can access some high-powered networks from the get-go.
Then, there is also security. Cloud computing is secure as the servers are operated remotely and checked over by the companies operating them – so if something happens, there is someone there to check it over. With a usual business, if a security event occurs, there’s not much that can be done when everyone is out! Cloud computing services can be defined in two brackets. Private clouds are created for single businesses – which can be created in-house or from an external hosting service, and public clouds – like the cloud services provided by Google and Dropbox amongst other providers. These public clouds are still secure – however, you will be uploading your work files to a company – which might be something you want to avoid if your work is sensitive. Either way, your work is going to be secure, but you might need the additional protection of a privately managed cloud network if your work is of a sensitive and private nature. For example, if Google was to experience a hack, it could be that your files are leaked. This is not good news. While it could happen to a private network, it’s a smaller target and usually goes under the radar.
Cloud networks are also great for accessibility. This is a massive benefit if you’re self-employed or a home worker, but they are also great for big businesses. Cloud networks pride themselves on being accessible, and it’s what they are based on, really.
If you work with a cloud provider, you’ll be able to access your files from anywhere that you have a connection to that provider. This is extremely useful for people who are constantly on the move – as it allows them to work from anywhere across the world.
This is best exemplified by Google’s Drive service – which offers a cloud-powered suite of applications that allow you to create documents, create spreadsheets and save files when you are connected to the internet. You can access them from any computer in the world, as long as you log into your account. What’s more, these files can be edited and collaborated on from anywhere in the world, as long as there’s a connection you are good to go – and it saves a lot of hassle.
Google Drive is just one example of a cloud powered application – an application powered on the internet. There are plenty more we can use for all manner of tasks that we need to complete. Slack, for instance, is a great ‘virtual office’ that allows for work based communication to take place in the form of an instant messaging service dedicated to your workplace. Full of rooms, meeting channels and video conference options – Slack is a great fix for your communication woes when it comes to remote working. Other applications, like the accounting software package Quickbooks are based online as well – there are a lot of cloud solutions for your business – and a lot of these solutions are pretty high powered and in some cases, better than a desktop software package. This will only improve in the future as well, so look forward to more developments.
Of course, you need to be able to understand the cloud – your team will need training, and you’ll need to wrap your head around it as well. However, the cloud has revolutionized remote working and home based worked with a nifty set of features. The benefits of cloud computing heavily outweigh the drawbacks though – so if you’re looking to add flexibility to your work, you want to aim for the skies and choose the cloud, it will certainly make your life in business a lot easier and will help you save time and plenty of costs.