Cloud computing refers to using the Internet to perform tasks normally performed through a computer connected to a physical location such as an office. The concept of cloud computing has been a dream in the IT world for decades, but it’s only recently that the technology has caught up with the dream to become a viable reality. Cloud computing includes features such as hosted email and online backup of files too big to store on a hard drive. Here are ten things you should know about the world of cloud computing :
1. Easy Availability
Cloud service is a lot more accessible than you might think. You don’t have to have special privileges to access the cloud. The service is available to anyone to use anytime via a standard web browser. The cloud can also be accessed through Rich Internet Application (RIA) clients on laptops, desktop computers, smartphones, tablets, and any other device that can connect to the Internet. There is no requirement to install anything to access cloud technology. Software licenses are not required to license the service either.
2. Flexible Allocation of Resources
The capacity of cloud service is considered elastic and scalable. Elasticity is a reference to how fast resources are allocated with the use of cloud technology. Scalability refers to the ability to adjust resources as needed based on the user’s data and applications. In other words, cloud service represents more flexibility when it comes to allocating resources needed to access your data. This allocation is based on your needs at any given moment and can easily be adapted to meet an increased demand.
3. Only Install Software Once
Unlike traditional services, you only need to install software once and then the data is transmitted and configured virtually to allow multiple authorized parties to access the data. This makes it easier for everybody who needs access to certain data to do so without the requirement to download the right software first. You still share the same resources such as processing power, storage, and memory.
4. Environmentally Friendly Computing
Everybody’s going green these days. The world of technology isn’t immune to eco-friendly efforts. It’s estimated that cloud services consume about 30 percent less energy when compared to traditional methods of storing and accessing data. This is due to remote accessibility of servers that eliminates the need for running multiple versions of the same software on every computer that needs to access the same data.
5. Safer Than You Thought
You may have heard concerns about security and data safety when it comes to cloud technology, but advances in the service have greatly reduced these concerns. Cloud computing includes routine updates and security checks to make the service less vulnerable to attacks. While there are still some risks with large amounts of data, the service is much more safer today than in its early days.
6. Faster Response Time
Since information is accessed from a remote server, the response time is faster when using cloud computing. This may not seem like it would be the case, but information is actually easier to access and this translates into a faster response time. Individual servers, software, and hardware can slow down overall response time, especially if there is an issue somewhere that slows down the entire system. Cloud computing eliminates this concern.
7. Reduced Training Costs
Since software isn’t involved, you don’t have to train people how to use special software. You don’t need as many people to work on cloud computing. This means you have fewer people to train period. There is also no need to train all employees of a company how to use certain software or hardware. Anybody who is authorized to access data can do so without too much extra training. It’s a cost effective service that is certainly attractive at a time when budgets are tighter than ever.
8. Increased Bandwidth
Increased bandwidth requirements can be a headache, especially since this usually means a lot of behind the scenes work that may make take all computers on a server offline for a certain period of time. Cloud computing is an affordable solution when it comes to meeting additional bandwidth requirements since data is stored on remote servers. This means that you can get the extra bandwidth you need with little to no effort on your part.
9. Easy Sharing
A big part of doing business is the ability to share files and easily access data. Multiple users can easily collaborate on shared web documents via the cloud. Anyone with authorization and an Internet connection can log in to view documents stored this way. This also means that all authorized users can make changes to these documents, but even this ability can be limited to only certain individuals.
10. Easy Customization
Cloud technology isn’t something that you have to make work for you. It’s the other way around. Cloud technology conforms to your specific needs. The technology is highly flexible. You can build custom applications and user-friendly interfaces. You get the same level of customization you’d get with individual software, if not more so. This is especially beneficial for businesses that want to standout from the competition. Cloud computing is as effective on a grand scale as it is on smaller, more personal level.
Fun Facts About Cloud Computing
- 25 percent of IT shops use some form of cloud technology as servers or storage
- 20 percent of companies have some policy in place regarding cloud technology
- Microsoft has allocated about 90 percent of its R&D budget for cloud computing strategies and products
- 30 percent of small and mid-size businesses use some form of cloud technology
- More than 25 percent of all companies are planning to implement some form of cloud technology
Clearly, cloud computing has great potential. Think of it in comparison to streaming audio or video presentations rather than downloading them directly to your computer. You get access to the information you want to see or hear, but you don’t have to have the extra space to physically store it. Welcome to the world of the cloud.