Cloud computing adaptation statistics indicate that about 67% of enterprise infrastructure and software and 82% of the workload of the most efficient businesses and organisations will be based on the cloud.
“If someone asks me what cloud computing is, I try not to get bogged down with definitions. I tell them that, simply put, cloud computing is a better way to run your business.”- Mark Benioff, CEO Salesforce.com
In this article I will help you understand this phenomenon, its practical advantages and how you can utilize it to steer your business or organisation towards growth.
What is cloud computing?
Cloud computing is the practice of using a network of remote servers hosted on the internet to store, manage, and process data, rather than a local server or a personal computer.
Cloud computing may also be referred to as the on demand availability of computer system resources, especially data storage and computing power without direct active management by the user or even the on demand delivery of compute power, database, storage, applications, and other IT resources via the internet with pay as you go pricing. Cloud computing aid companies collaborative tasks, file sharing, content sharing, and data security.
Cloud computing requires the establishment of a network through which the IT resources and software can be accessed. The most widely used network used for cloud computing is the internet although some organisations use intranet in cases of a private cloud.
Under cloud computing,
The consumer/ client/ user is the person or business or organisation that uses the cloud services provided by the vendor or service provider. Major vendors include Amazon, Google, Microsoft.
The vendor/ service provider is the company/ organisation or business that provides pay-as-you-go cloud services to consumer/clients/users.
Pay as you go: this is a system of paying for a service before using it and you cannot use more than you have paid for.
Cloud computing service models
Software as a service.
This is a cloud computing offering that provides you the user with access to the vendor’s cloud based software or applications. The applications or software is based on a remote cloud network and is accessible through the internet so you do not have to install this software or application on your local device (computer or phone). A good example is Microsoft 365.
Infrastructure as a service.
Here the service provider (vendor) provides you (the user) access to computing resources for example servers and storage. You can then use your own applications and platforms with in the provider’s infrastructure.
Platform as a service.
Here the vendor provides you with a cloud environment in which you can develop, manage and deliver your own applications. The service provides with a vast pool of already built resources which you can use to develop and test your applications.
The “cloud” is a popular metaphor used to refer to the internet especially when talking about cloud computing. The word “cloud” is at times used synonymously with internet and this may be because in the early days of networking and even now – the icon of the cloud was ( and is still) used to represent the internet on network diagrams.
The “cloud” is the virtual space where all the cloud computing magic happens. It is where files and data backups are stored, it is also where information sharing and data security take place.
Practical benefits of using cloud computing in your business or organisation.
As earlier stated, adopting cloud computing will tangibly enhance your business by providing the following advantages.
- Providing data accessibility anywhere. This is one of the major advantages of using cloud computing in business. You have access to business files, information and even premises. You literally have your business anywhere in the world.
- Enhancing disaster recovery capabilities. The other advantage is that cloud computing enhances your ability to recover in cases of unseen disasters for example where a business loses physical resources, cloud computing will provide the necessary resources for the business to recoup and move forward.
- Enabling better flexibility. Cloud computing allows your employees more flexibility as they can work from anywhere as long as they have access to the internet. Employees need not be worried about not accomplishing tasks within the limited office working hours. This also improves productivity.
- Reliability. You can rest assured that you will be able to access cloud services 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year as long as you pay for it. Service provider provide service agreements that ensure this kind of availability. Cloud computing is reliable.
- Consistence across platforms. Relying on cloud computing implies that the organisation speaks the same language, moves at the same pace and ensures that resources are equitably used throughout the organisation. It does not matter how wide spread the organisation is, cloud computing will be able to ensure uniformity even for organisations that are geographically spread out.
- Enhanced security. Cloud computing provides more security to an organisation or business. You as the client are less prone to hacking, infection and internal data theft. This is because you transfer the risk to the service provider of the cloud computing services who has the capacity to employ more technical IT personnel, advanced computer security measures than you would have been able to accommodate.
- Lower risk. Clod computing lowers the IT and knowledge risks that the business may face. Again this is because the cloud services provider can afford to provide better security to clients’ data and resources. Cloud computing also reduces the risk of losing resources like business information.
- Cost savings. Adopting cloud computing will help your business cut costs – after all minimizing operation costs while maintaining profitability is at least a goal for every business. Cloud computing will help you avoid costs associated with establishing IT infrastructure and software for example servers.
Ways in which you can apply cloud computing in your business.
Data backup. Data is arguably one of the most important assets of any organisation today. No business owner would want to risk losing their data. Cloud computing offers you the service of helping you automatically upload and backup your business and work data in the cloud. Here your data will be free from theft or disaster or loss.
File storage. Cloud computing vendors also offer file storage space to clients. Organisations that deal with large files can take advantage and store their files on the vendor’s servers. This way you do not have to worry about maintaining IT storage facilities.
Information Sharing and team collaboration. You can also start using cloud computing in order to facilitate seamless information sharing within your business or organisation. Cloud computing can also facilitate real time team collaboration on business projects hence ensuring productivity and achievement of company targets and goals.
As our businesses are getting more driven by data and technology, it is only reasonable that businesses begin adopting cloud computing to reap the major benefits of reduced IT capital costs, better data security and flexibility to drive productivity and growth while becoming more efficient.