There is little doubt that technology is advancing at a rapid rate, especially when it comes to computers. Almost before one type of computing system is created, another one is taking its place. In the last few years, many industry leaders and researchers have been talking about cloud computing. Although different factions define cloud computing in different ways, it is still a promising addition to businesses and organizations worldwide. There is a lot of uncertainty in the business industry, and cloud computing could very well be the thing that might make or break how a business handles that uncertainty.
Cloud computing (also referred to as “the cloud”) relies on the sharing of resources instead of having specific servers or devices to handle the programs or applications. It is somewhat similar to grid computing, where all of the unused space on a computer network is used to solve problems too difficult for a single computer.
However, where grid computing is based on individual servers or networks, cloud computing is Internet-based. This means that all of the different aspects of computing-from storage to applications to servers-are delivered via the Internet. This applies both to traditional desktop computing and to computing done with handheld or mobile devices.
There are many different benefits to using cloud computing, but the most important ones from a business standpoint are reduced cost, increased speed, and better security and backup than can be offered by a local server or network.
Reduced Costs for Infrastructure
One of the most important aspects of using cloud computing is the lower cost involved. For one thing, just supplying the computing power required to efficiently run all of the programs required by a large business can often be too much for most businesses to afford. Additionally, the purchase of individual servers and software programs for all computers in an office is cost-prohibitive. This is especially true when you take into account how quickly servers and software become obsolete. This creates an almost endless cycle of buying new equipment in order to keep up with the rapid pace of technology.
In addition to reducing the additional capital needed to provide computing systems, using cloud computing can help cut other business costs by eliminating the need for specific IT personnel, reducing the space needed for data storage and backup systems, and can even cut down on utility expenses. Please note that how much can be saved is dependent on which models are being used.
If you choose to use a public cloud implementation rather than a private one, the cost will be less. Also, you will have to spend far less on upgrades to existing equipment, as discussed earlier. Using cloud computing can also defer costs like upgrades for both hardware and software, or even security devices. The cloud provider often includes items like software upgrades, hardware upgrades and the replacement of obsolete network and security devices as part of their service.
Increased Capability, Speed, and Scalability
Cloud computing has the advantage over individual servers in that it has the ability expand or shrink based on usage. For businesses that operate in both on and off-peak seasons, for example, they are usually forced to pay for a set amount of usage regardless of how much they use. A retailer may pay an individual server a premium price to make sure they can handle the influx of business during the holidays, even though they do not use the server to capacity during off seasons. Cloud computing takes care of that by allowing businesses to use it however much or little they need, without paying an additional fee.
In addition to using the cloud as needed, organizations using cloud computing have the ability to expand their existing services or add new services without having to go through the expense of purchasing new equipment and then learning how to use it. Since resources provided by the cloud are available immediately, entirely new or revamped systems can be installed and usable in a matter of hours instead of days.
This is especially important as businesses and organizations are constantly trying to keep up with the rapid pace of technology. Having instant access to resources from the cloud enables them to try new programs or innovations without a loss of time or income. In turn, this allows companies to try cutting-edge technologies without spending large amounts of capital.
Improved Backup and Security
In any type of business or organization, security is vital to the success of the entire company. Providers of public cloud services are based on strict security for both the digital and physical aspects of the business. Most large enterprises do not have the financial capabilities to preserve and protect data in as secure a manner as cloud computing, as they would have to also have security staff on premises at each location. By using the cloud, data is secure and encrypted, and backups are stored in the cloud to avoid having to provide a secure physical place to ensure they are completely safe.
Simply because of their increased capabilities, cloud computing can offer a degree of security that most stand-alone servers cannot.
Increased Mobility, Availability, and Geography
One of the greatest benefits to cloud computing is the fact that it is available all of the time, from any device. For many businesses, being able to work from nearly anywhere in the world is key to their success. For sales representatives, having the ability to use apps like Microsoft CRM or Salesforce can increase their productivity exponentially.
Regulatory Compliance with Industry Standards
As different industries have to meet new industry standards like the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) or Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), cloud providers can offer applications that will help businesses become or remain compliant with changing standards. At the same time, many services like data protection and backup and system testing are simply part of the standard offered by cloud providers.
Unseen capability, lower overall costs, and improved security weren’t enough, making the change from a standard server to cloud computing can benefit a business in many other ways. One of the most important aspects of competing in a global market is keeping up with the fast pace of ever changing technology. By getting rid of outdated technology and freeing up IT staff to manage other important aspects of the business, productivity increases and profits go up. Moving toward a cloud-based computing system can only help a business expand and compete.
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