True Cloud Computing
What Is Cloud Computing?
Cloud computing is a computing model that lets you access software, server, and storage resources over the Internet in a self-service manner.
What this means is that you do not need to buy, install, maintain, and manage these resources on your own computer or device. You just access and use them through a web browser such as Internet Explorer, Firefox, or Safari.
You can perform just about any computing task in the cloud, and it’s likely that you already do. For example, software as a service (SaaS) or on demand business applications, such as web based email or Intuit QuickBooks Online are cloud applications; you access them from your web browser, but the software, processing power, and storage all reside in the cloud. (on the Internet)
Services — such as Google’s Gmail or Facebook and Twitter for that matter, are all examples of cloud computing. Furthermore, if you use online backup solutions, you’re storing your files in the cloud.
Why Should You Care?
Most small to mid-sized businesses simply don’t have the time, expertise, or money necessary to buy, deploy, and manage the computing infrastructure needed to run these solutions on their own. Cloud computing shields you from these complexities. As a user, you see only the self-service interface to the computing resources you need.
Instead of laying out capital to buy hardware and software and storage systems, you rent on a subscription basis.
The main benefits of cloud computing:
- Speed of Implementation
- Because the infrastructure is already in place a business simply needs to subscribe to the services they wish to utilize. This allows companies to get up and running much sooner than if they needed to purchase hardware, software, and hire consultants for installation and setup. Cloud computing is ready-made — customers don’t build, they subscribe and receive services immediately.
- Availability of Services
- Behind the scenes, cloud computing service providers have to do a lot of work to manage all of the infrastructure, technology, and people that make everything possible. To provide services easily, flexibility and profitability to thousands of users, they invest heavily in hardware, virtualization technologies, networking infrastructure, and automation capabilities. With near 100% uptime and availability your services are always on and available when you need them.
- Data Security & Integrity
- Company data is housed in an environment which is monitored and managed 24/7 by professional staff, with advanced and multi-layered security measures in place that many smaller businesses would find prohibitively expensive to try to emulate in-house. Additionally, by placing company data into a data center, businesses also benefit from instant business continuity and resiliency as data is protected in accordance with strict service methodology.
- Financial Predictability
- In the past, businesses would pay for hardware and software through capital expenditure and take on all the associated risks and headaches that come with that approach. The business would have to invest in servers and software up-front and with no guarantees of success or a return on the investment. Cloud computing gives organizations an alternative to buying and maintaining costly in house infrastructure and allows users to securely access their business applications whenever they want to and wherever they are. Because there is no hardware or software to buy, businesses can avoid all up-front hardware and service costs and eradicate the unpredictable nature of IT. This also allows smaller businesses to access enterprise grade technologies, but without the issues of complexity, and risk.