What is the Cloud
Written by probal
Sunday, 14 September 2014 23:25
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If you are reading this right now, you have probably heard of “the next best thing” for SMBs – Cloud computing or as many people refer to it, “The Cloud”. If you haven’t, let us try and describe it to you in plain English.

The “Cloud” delivers hosted services over the Internet. Not simple enough? Let’s try this: The Cloud allows you to use computer applications on different machines without installations. Same for the documents you create using these applications – instead of downloading, formatting and uploading, you can edit them online.

There are three distinctive categories of the services delivered through The Cloud - Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). However, if we get into the details right now, there is a chance we will overcomplicate things, so we decided to create a separate blog post for this (stay tuned!).

Clouds can also be private or public. Examples of public Clouds are all around us – OneDrive from Microsoft (former Skydrive), Google Drive (Google Documents), Dropbox and so on. Public Clouds can be free or paid, depending on the features and space provided. However, as the name suggests, privacy might be an issue with public Clouds.

Private Clouds are provided to a limited number of people behind a firewall. This way, there is more control and more privacy involved. Also, private ones usually have a price tag.

Both public and private Clouds have the same goal: to provide easy, scalable access to computing resources and IT services.

As we already mentioned, Clouds can lack privacy and/or security. As well as that, cost might be an issue if a lot of space and features are needed. Also, while it may seem nice to hand all the work to your provider, that might not satisfy everyone’s needs. For example, if someone wants more control, the Cloud may not be the ideal solution. ClubCloudComputing suggests that another problem associated with the Cloud is that: “only 40% of cloud users have a clear exit plan” meaning that 60% of Cloud users are unprepared if their provider suddenly requires them to remove all of their data from the server. This, however, does not happen that often. Moreover, it happens predominantly with start-up Cloud providers, whereas more established ones are more reliable and are less willing to risk their reputation. Reading EULA (End-user license agreement) before signing up will probably help understand and acknowledge the risks involved.

Using Clouds has a number of advantages for your business too: Clouds are sold on demand (as you need), they are elastic (you can customize the amount of space and/or computing resources provided to you) and are fully managed by the Cloud provider. You can focus on your business and let your provider manage infrastructure. You don’t have to worry about buying just enough Cloud space because you can buy as much as you need when you need it. Using Clouds also saves companies’ costs by allowing easier file-sharing (online instead of printing). Applications can be accessed from multiple computers too, if they are in the Cloud.

In summary, using cloud services can definitely be beneficial for some SMBs, but you need to carefully assess your needs before making quick decisions. We provide free assessments as well as a number of cloud-based services, so feel free to browse around and reach out to us for more information!

Last Updated on Monday, 15 September 2014 00:43