his nebulous term can mean a lot of different things. In a broad view, the Cloud is everything that you access virtually. For example – you are reading this article in the Cloud right now. You’ve virtually accessed our website through a cloud system called the World Wide Web.
Your email account is in the ‘Cloud’.
Your social media platforms are in the ‘Cloud’.
If you just got a Skype message from your sister about dinner next week, you just communicated via this amorphous entity that is widely referred to as the ‘Cloud’.
Basically, without really realizing it, most individuals in the United States currently function within this ‘Cloud’ on a daily basis.
The Cloud for Businesses
So, how does this ‘Cloud’ fit into your business? Well, as we’ve just shown you, it very likely already does. If you have business emails, if you advertise on the internet through your website, if you have mobile apps or use Google apps — you are already functioning part of your business in the ‘Cloud’. You are already familiar on a smaller scale with the security, flexibility, and easy anywhere-you-want, anytime-you-want access to your data within the Cloud.
The next steps, then, are to assess what other areas of businesses would benefit from migrating further into the Cloud. Cloud integration within carefully chosen areas of your business is going to give you the following;
- Improved reliability and flexibility of your IT infrastructure
- More connectivity between your users (staff) and your consumers
- Greater flexibility of resources (servers, switches, firewalls, internet bandwidth, internet connectivity)
Difference between onsite system setups and cloud computing
Let’s say that you need to work with a co-worker on a report. In a cloudless system, you would need to work on the document, save it, and send it to your co-worker. Then, he or she would open the file, work on it, save it, and send it back to you. This creates a lot of time spent passing documents and files back and forth, and you’re left with numerous versions of the same document that have been worked on over time.
Then, consider the catastrophe that would occur if one of your hard drives dies and the file is lost. There was no other location where that file was stored, and you both must start from scratch.
Instead, if you worked on a file that was held in the cloud, given the proper application set up on your cloud platform, you could both work on the document at the same time, the document would autosave after each set of changes, and if one of your systems malfunctions, the document would be untouched, safe within the lofty confines of that magical system known as the ‘Cloud.’
The Trickling Down of The Cloud
It used to be that Cloud computing was something that smaller businesses eyed enviously from a distance as the big data centers, such as Amazon, Microsoft, and other large corporations utilized their vast resources to build their entire software platforms in the Cloud.
Not anymore. Cloud computing services are actually available for small businesses now on a wide scale, and, thanks to this increase in use, the prices are steadily declining. This is making Cloud computing more affordable, and often even cost-saving, for smaller businesses.
In addition, this increasing use of Cloud computing services on such an enormous scale is causing rapidly improving security measures. In fact, some would argue that thanks to the development of extremely tight security measures, the security of your data in the Cloud is actually better than most businesses are able to provide for themselves otherwise.
The Benefits of The Cloud
Because the ‘Cloud’ concept is somewhat ambiguous, and the real-time benefits of Cloud computing can be difficult to conceptualize without concrete examples, here is a list of the benefits Cloud technology can provide, including examples of how it will affect and improve your business on a day-to-day scale.
There are several practical benefits to Cloud computing that are important for businesses of all shapes and sizes to understand.
1. Ease of Access from Various Locations
Because cloud software functions via a non-physical software platform, that platform can be accessed from numerous types of locations. Businessmen, professionals, and personnel no longer need to physically be present at the office to connect to their servers and system platforms. This creates an incredibly convenient amount of flexibility, freeing up staff to do their jobs wherever they need to be.
2. Enterprise Level Infrastructure for Your Small Business
Cloud computing allows for easy collaboration between employees, departments, and the business at large. Production, sales, and marketing can have easy access to necessary reports, files, and documents, and, depending on your software application needs, you can even collaborate via various computer applications and programs. Instead of your critical applications being run on servers in your overheated closet, you are getting the infrastructure in the cloud that has enterprise-level reliability and availability.
3. Automatic Updates
Rather than having to install patches, updates, and next versions of your software and application programs, cloud computing makes this frustrating task completely automatic. Applications that are accessed via the cloud are either automatically updated or send the user notifications when the updates become available. This saves so much time and alleviates the need to move from system to system and install updates, patches, and new versions of software applications.
This also means that your staff will continually have the newest application security and virus protection as it becomes available, automatically keeping your business well-protected from hackers and viruses.
4. Simple Scalability
Down the road, you might find that your business IT needs require more server space or file storage. Rather than having to physically install servers and systems onsite, you simply have to request more space in the cloud. It’s a simple process that can instantly relieve your storage needs. Also, if at any point you need to decrease your storage space, it’s as simple as requesting a smaller package of system storage in the cloud. No need to fiddle with servers and systems any longer, and instead, you can save valuable business time by moving your systems to the Cloud.
Who Needs Cloud Computing IT Support?
Here is the reality – small businesses need widespread IT support to stay flexible, mobile, and able to compete with large corporations that have their own teams and internal applications. Cloud computing services can give them this enterprise-level structure.
That being said, this isn’t a one-day overhaul. Nor is it a one-size-fits-all solution. What we would recommend from one business to another might be entirely different. We offer a hybrid solution for our clients, a blending of Cloud services and onsite systems that mold to the capabilities and needs of each business individually.
Why is this? We believe that every unique business has a unique set of IT support needs. It may be advantageous for the local mortgage company to keep their servers in their air-conditioned closet for the next couple of years and focus on implementing Office 365 or another software platform over the next few months. On the other hand, maybe a web design firm needs to update its billing and time tracking system by implementing Replicon.
This hybrid approach allows us to gradually migrate the areas of businesses that will be best served by utilizing the Cloud. These smaller steps minimize risk and make the transition much cheaper.
One of the goals of our IT support services is to give you the tools necessary to perform well to enhance the success of your business and satisfy your consumers. A unified system, improved communication and email, and advanced every-day business processes are going to increase your efficiency, your reliability, and your services for your consumers.