What Is Cloud Computing?

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There has been a lot of talk about cloud computing, or the cloud, over the past several years. But unfortunately, most business owners don’t have a very clear idea about what the cloud is, and how it will benefit their businesses.

In a nutshell, cloud computing is a method of storing and accessing your data, applications, and programs over the Internet, instead of from the hard drive of your computer. Cloud computing utilizes a network of computers to store and process information in order to optimize performance and data transfer speed.

Cloud computing history

The milestone of cloud computing dates back to 1999, when Salesforce.com was first introduced. Salesforce was the pioneer of delivering enterprise applications via a simple website. The company paved the way for both specialist and mainstream software firms to deliver applications via the Internet.

Next came the Amazon Web Services in 2002, which offered a suite of cloud-based services including storage, computation, and human intelligence through the Amazon Mechanical Turk. Amazon later launched its Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) in 2006 as a commercial web service that allowed small businesses and individuals to rent computers on which to run their applications. Another big milestone came in 2009, when Google and many others started to deliver browser-based enterprise applications, such as Google Apps.

Cloud computing today

Today’s applications will naturally shift towards a cloud platform as they become more popular through the web, require more data processing, and need to be available on multiple devices, such as PCs, laptops, smartphones, and tablets. Businesses that are looking to implement cloud computing into their operations must take security, data privacy, and network performance into account.

Why you should consider cloud computing

In the past, if you want to take your files with you, your only option would be to save them to a USB flash drive, external hard drive, or a compact disk. But if something were to happen to your portable storage, your precious data would risk being damaged beyond recovery. Transferring your files to the cloud, on the other, hand, will ensure your files’ safety. You can access them from virtually anywhere at any time. What’s more, cloud computing allows you to collaborate with your colleagues more efficiently, by allowing you to share and edit documents online.

With many different types of cloud environments to choose from including public, private and hybrid cloud, it comes to no surprise why Cloud Computing has become the new way of doing business. A public cloud offers services provided over the Internet for a high level of efficiency in shared resources where as a private cloud offers services from a private network aiming for higher level of security and control. Then comes hybrid cloud, which as the name states, is a customized cloud offering the best options from both public and private clouds.

What Are My Cloud Computing Costs

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One of the main reasons why business owners are making the switch to the cloud is the massive cost savings. While cloud computing can provide your company with various financial benefits, such as no large upfront capital investment, reduced software costs and spending for IT support, you need to be aware of the cost implications of the cloud and how it can impact your business’s bottom line.

The cloud can eliminate expensive recurring costs

Are you suffering from prohibitively expensive upfront capital costs of hardware and software? With cloud computing, you no longer have to spend a dime on these expenses. In most cloud environments, the costs of installing, managing, and maintaining your networks and infrastructure are included in a flat, monthly fee. This means you can reap all the benefits the cloud has to offer without burning a hole in your IT budget.

Technology is always on the move, and you need to update your software and applications on a daily basis. When you sign up for cloud computing, however, your cloud provider will take full responsibility in making the updates and upgrades - all without additional costs. You can benefit from the latest technology at an all-inclusive price.

Cloud computing offers predictable IT expenses

The unpredictability of the current “break-fix” system has been a blow for business owners for many years. The big flaw in this traditional model is when something breaks, your service providers will charge you for every little fix they make. But things are different with cloud computing. You can better anticipate your IT budget with cloud computing’s all-inclusive, flat monthly fee. All aspects of your cloud infrastructure can easily be upgraded for a fixed cost.

As a business owner, you already know that controlling costs is very important. You need to know what you’re paying for, and understand that the software you use is being automatically upgraded without causing a major disruption and downtime for your business. With cloud computing, all of these are possible behind the scenes!

You can dramatically reduce IT support costs

The costs of downtime and troubleshooting is a major ongoing part of your typical IT support costs. That’s where the cloud can help - by allowing cloud providers and their clients to log into the system and look at the same screen, data, or problem at the same time. There’s no need to call the support staff to describe the problem, or even schedule an on-site visit anymore. Cloud computing makes it possible for both parties to quickly resolve the problem from their own web browser. The ongoing support savings are more than you can ever thought possible!

What Are My Benefits With Cloud Computing

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The cloud is considered to be a game-changer for businesses of all sizes, since it gives them remote access to powerful applications at a fraction of the cost. By utilizing cloud computing, you can enjoy enhanced workflow efficiency, an increase in employee productivity, and a rise in profits. Take a look at some of the benefits the cloud has to offer.

Scalability

One of the major advantages of cloud computing is its scalability. For instance, some business processes are seasonal and require a huge amount of computing resources for a given period, but then the activities slow down when the busy period is over. With cloud computing, business users can expand and contract as demand necessities.

Mobility

Whether you’re in the office, hotel, coffee shop, or at home, you can gain access to your business files and applications from any device, at any time. Cloud computing stores your business resources in a remote server and delivers them to you over the Internet, meaning you can stay productive from virtually anywhere.

Security

The number of cloud users around the world increases every year with no sign of slowing down - and for a good reason. The cloud has become a reliable and trusted place for users to store their mission-critical files. Reputable cloud providers offer best-in-class data centers and employ professional engineers to manage and maintain your data.

Cost savings

You can save a considerable amount of money by implementing cloud solutions into your business operations. There’s no need to invest five or six figures on the installation, management, and maintenance of your hardware and software, because cloud providers can spread the cost of IT infrastructure over many clients, bringing down your expenses. In addition to equipment savings, you’ll also be able to save money on energy bills and recruitment costs, since cloud computing consumes less electricity and takes less staff to manage.

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