Cloud computing or otherwise known as “the cloud” is term coined for the myriad of ‘hosted’ services such as servers, data storage and applications that are delivered via the web to internet-enabled devices, such as mobile phones, tablets and pc/laptops.
The ‘Cloud’ is a metaphor used for the internet, this stems from back when a white puffy cloud was used in flowcharts and presentations to represent the internet.
Cloud computing essentially describes the process of storing and accessing data, processes or applications over the internet rather than locally on your device's hard drive(s).
Some continue to argue that the use of local storage for computing is more simple, secure and cost-effective for general needs, and in isolated cases this may prove true.
However, the rapid development and advancement in cloud technology plus the wide scale improvements in ease of internet access in recent times, has meant that mainstream users can now enjoy highly-secure, lightening-fast and technologically-advanced web applications at low cost.
What’s more cloud solutions have empowered users to access critical information, data and applications at any time, anywhere and on any device.
Why are we turning to cloud computing?
It’s fair to say that we have all at some stage experienced a lag in our computer performance due to processor or memory intensive programs hogging system resources and subsequently hampering overall computing performance.
The primary benefit of switching to cloud-based computing is the transfer of intensive processing activity from the user’s device to a cloud-based server farm. With often, unlimited access to storage and scalability (within reason and at a cost), the removal of power-hungry applications and programs has enabled users to do more and to do it faster than ever before.
Furthermore, the advent of web-based applications has meant that cloud computing is helping consumers and businesses alike to access advanced applications with cheaper, consumer-grade hardware or even from memory and storage-limited mobile and tablet devices. With additional software not typically required (bar a web browser), the overall hardware and software savings of moving to the cloud can be significant.
For example, in the past where a business has typically paid hundreds of pounds for several volume licenses for word processing and spreadsheet software, we now have providers offering enterprise solutions for just a couple of pounds per user per month.
Cloud computing has even been introduced to schools in hope of creating a more modern classroom. By introducing file-sharing technology, students are now able to upload their homework or assignments with teachers able to review and grade their work within the
application. Students are then able to view their marked work on any device.
However, inevitably there has been concerns around security of data when it comes to cloud technology and the transfer of data over the internet however with server-side and client-side encryption continuously improving the risk is certainly reduced but a consideration nonetheless. That said, it could be argued that more prominent and established cloud providers are able to offer a level and complexity of security that is far greater than most small businesses could afford to invest in on a local basis.
Why would businesses use cloud computing?
With many businesses now moving away from an office-based model towards a scenario where staff operate remotely, often from their homes, the ability to access business-critical data and applications from anywhere at anytime has become a necessity.
With cloud computing power improving by the day and hardware costs falling, cloud-based software is empowering businesses and their staff to be more productive whilst often reducing costs significantly. What’s more, cloud computing typically uses less electricity through optimal hardware utilisation resulting in less power use and further cost savings.
Cloud computing can also aid employee collaboration with real-time document sharing the norm, say goodbye to documents going back and forth in various iterations and say hello to multiple parties simultaneously working on one unified document with the latest updates synchronised directly to their device.
With software and security updates applied automatically, businesses can enjoy both time and money savings by negating the need to administer locally. In the case of disaster, businesses no longer need complex, physical recovery plans either. With all the data and applications stored remotely on cloud servers (with advanced backups), a flood or fire at an office premises, is no longer the end of the world with business-critical data available online from a new location immediately.
2016 - the year of the cloud?
Cloud computing has rapidly grown in popularity with both consumers and businesses over the past few years and whilst many would argue that 2015 was a standout year in terms of cloud computing growth and adoption, the predictions for 2016 are even more exciting. At BDM Coms, all our business communication systems are cloud-powered. We help businesses of all size access and benefit from the very latest in cloud-based business telephone systems. The future is cloud, get in touch today to find out more…