Cloud computing became a buzzword a few years ago, and now it’s ubiquitous. You hear
The Cloud mentioned often and see it written a lot, but what is it all about? In the article
that follows we take a look what the cloud is, what it is used for, and why it is the future for
pretty much every business, large or small. Let’s begin by explaining what is meant by the
What is the Cloud?
Every IT network is there to transmit, receive and store data. That data could be an email,
for example, or a website. It could also be a transaction, an online purchase of goods or
services. The key here are the two words: data and storage.
When did you get your first home computer? If, like many people, it was more than 20 years
ago you would have stored your data on a ‘floppy disk’ or other type of temporary storage.
In the home computer you will have a hard drive, onto which all the data is saved.
In a business environment, all data goes through a server, the main processor of the
business computer network. Traditionally, this server has a hard drive – a bigger one than
your home PC or laptop – for storage of data.
However, with a cloud-based system the need for a hard drive is removed. All data is stored
on the Internet, in a centralized server located remotely. If you want to put it simply, Cloud
is another term for the Internet. Why is this important?
Security is a problem in IT. Hackers can get into most systems quite easily and have done in
even some of the biggest companies in the world. With a cloud-based system security is less
of a problem as the information is not stored in the company IT network. However, there is
more to it than that, and you and your team are likely using cloud-based applications
without thinking about it. Let’s have a look at how this can be.
What is it Used For?
When you send an email from your desktop, or a message from your smartphone, you re
using a cloud system. You are, of course, utilizing the Internet which as we have explained
hosts the cloud as we know it. Other cloud-based applications include the following ,much=-
used business tools:
- Email and messaging
- Video conferencing
- Virtual meeting technology
- Web communications
- Customer Relationship Management Tools
- Accounts, Payroll and Finance systems
- Telephony and communications
That’s just a few applications you use regularly in business that are Internet or cloud based.
Each necessitates the transfer of data in digital form via servers, in this case cloud-based
Think of the different departments in your business – or in any business – and the following
employees will already be using the cloud:
- Agents in the field
- Office staff
- Remote working staff
- Any staff member on the move who needs to keep in contact
So you are already using the cloud, but what makes it the future of business?
Why the Cloud is the Future
When you consider that all of the above mentioned are utilizing the cloud, there is clearly
no need for the old style of hard drive equipped physical server in your office or commercial
premises. It is effectively redundant already.
The cloud – the Internet – makes working wherever you may be easier. It enables simple
and seamless communication, between two or a group of people. It enables the fast and
efficient transfer of data and information in the most secure fashion possible. When you buy
a product online, you are using a cloud-based system.
Removing the physical server is removing a vulnerable part of the IT network within a
business. Older servers are surprisingly to hack, and valuable data has been stolen many
times from some larger corporations, as well as smaller ones. With that data stored away
from the site and in the cloud, it is more difficult for those without approval to access it.
Cloud computing also reduces IT costs as there is no requirement for time-consuming daily
back-ups and maintenance.
But most of all, it is the Cloud – the Internet – that keeps the wheels of commerce and
industry turning as they should. The covid-19 pandemic, which swept the world in 2020
causing chaos in all of our working lives, would have been a lot more catastrophic were it
not for the efficiency and flexibility afforded by cloud computing. This has been a wake-up
call for us all, and a reminder that we have technology to thank for many aspects of daily