For part three of this series, I’d like to focus on a term called “cloud computing“. Chances are, you’ve heard of this term before, probably thrown around by your cable service provider (store DVR recordings on the cloud!) or if you’ve signed up for Microsoft OneDrive or a host of other cloud services. But in fact, cloud computing isn’t really anything new. In fact, all of you have probably used a well known form of cloud computing before: E-mail. Yes, the fancy term tech companies love throwing around has in fact existed for years, at least the core concept of it has anyways.
So what exactly is cloud computing? And how has it evolved beyond email? Well, the concept is simple, cloud computing allows you to free up valuable physical space and save money by storing your data on an offsite server. That means no bulky hard drives or servers on your premises and no having to maintain them either. Since Cloud computing stores everything offsite, a third party usually handles server racks, maintaining the servers and making sure the disaster recovery infrastructure is in place (such as generators in the event of a power failure). That’s a huge cost savings for the customer, because you’re saving money on not having to invest in purchasing actual servers and its associated equipment, but also cutting down on the IT team it takes to maintain those servers.
What’s more, cloud computing offers you greater flexibility. In a traditional environment, if you run out of memory, you’ll have to purchase, install and configure additional hard drives. With cloud computing, it’s different. If you find yourself needing more space, increasing capacity is usually just a phone call away. Or if you find yourself needing less space than what you originally started out with, you can scale down as well. In short, whether you need more storage or less, cloud computing can easily meet your demands.
In addition to flexibility, cloud computing also gives you mobility. Since your data is not confined to your server room, you can access your data anywhere you go. With cloud computing, your data is as mobile as you are (so long as you have a internet connection) and it’s available. Two vital ingredients for any business.
With mobility also gives you security. Laptops are valuable and costly machines, but what’s even more valuable are the documents and files stored on them. You don’t want valuable or even confidential files being lost simply because the hard drive crashed or a clumsy user spilled a Slurpee over his laptop. With cloud computing, even though the laptop died, doesn’t mean the data died with it. Why? Because it’s all stored offsite, not on the laptops physical hard drive (unless the user specified it to be stored on the hard drive).