Cloud computing has revolutionised the way that the world of business interacts with one another. There are a multitude of options available for businesses who are looking to migrate on-premises services to the Cloud. This article will provide you with a brief rundown of cloud computing as a concept, and help you understand whether it’s the right choice for you.
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What is cloud computing?
There are many different ways in which IT services are delivered to the end user – i.e. you. The traditional method is to buy or rent hardware and software which resides in your office or working environment, which you then have to maintain and upgrade as the situation demands it. The alternative method is known as ‘cloud computing’, whereby companies pay for access to hardware or software – including data, storage and software – that is hosted and maintained by another company, who offer access on a subscription basis.
It may seem complicated as a concept, but the reality is relatively straightforward. Cloud services are delivered via the Internet. Companies use their Internet connection to connect to a remote server or database, that they’ve purchased the right to able to access.
Quite often, this data will be held in central locations known as ‘datacentres’. These buildings are designed to store vast amounts of secure data and feature high level security measures, specialised environmental controls and teams of maintenance staff to look after the equipment.
There are three main types of cloud computing, based on the kind of services they provide.
- SAAS (Software-as-a-Service) – e.g. Microsoft 365, Dropbox
- PAAS (Platform-as-a-Service) – e.g. Google App Engine, Amazon Web Services
- IAAS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service) – e.g. MS Azure.
What are the benefits of cloud computing?
The global shift toward cloud computing has happened for several reasons:
Providers of large-scale cloud services invest millions of pounds in keeping their services online and accessible to the companies that subscribe to them. Reliability and availability are the central tenets of cloud computing. Massive multinational cloud providers such as Google and Microsoft hardly ever experience significant disruptions to their service, if at all.
Overall, cloud services are markedly more convenient than on-premises systems. Most cloud solutions are browser based, meaning there is very little need for any installation and setup is reserved for registering users on the platform.
Moving to cloud computing may reduce the cost of managing and maintaining your IT network. Utilising cloud-based solutions negates the need for expensive hardware assets with their associated installation and maintenance costs. Accordingly, cloud solutions are provided for a monthly or yearly subscription, meaning you’ll always know what your expenditure is going to be for business-critical apps. On-site solutions can malfunction and require periodic upgrades – this is all part of the package of a cloud subscription.
What businesses benefit from cloud computing?
The simple answer is everyone. There is no one sector, industry or line of business that does not in some way benefit from cloud-based solutions. Whether you’re in manufacturing, the service industry, tech, ecommerce, logistics or any other data reliant trade, migrating services to the cloud can offer numerous benefits.
With a pressing need to keep costs low, new businesses reap many rewards from utilising cloud-based technologies. Something as simple as email hosting can be arranged at the click of a button, without the need to purchase a dedicated on-site server to carry out the task.
It’s not just general applications that reside in the cloud. More and more specialised software vendors are making the move to cloud-based services, in place of standalone servers to run their applications. Critical business processes can now be easily accessed in a web browser, rather than residing on servers and workstations as software installs, markedly decreasing the risk of downtime.
If you’ve been trading for many years and have amassed a large body of data residing on an onsite server, the associated security vulnerabilities grow exponentially as the volume of information grows. Migrating to a cloud-based storage system does incur installation and setup charges, but once it’s completed you’ll benefit from cutting edge security, improved reliability and ease of access.
How secure is cloud computing?
It’s natural to wonder if your data is safe when it’s stored in the cloud. Your data is stored on servers and in locations that aren’t under your direct control. This makes some business owners apprehensive as to who is accessing their data, and how susceptible it is to being compromised.
The reality is that the data that you entrust to ah cloud service provider is likely even safer than anything you’ve stored onsite in a server or storage device.
The security measures undertaken by larger companies providing cloud services are likely to be more robust and powerful than what you have protecting your home computer and devices.
Cloud services benefit from industry leading security measures that on-site solutions rarely succeed in emulating. Whilst there have been a few high-profile instances of data breaches, as a rule, cloud services are perceived as far more secure and less susceptible to social engineering than traditional server-based solutions.
Get In Touch For A Free Cloud Consultation
totality services are an IT services provider who specialise in transitioning business from onsite services to the Cloud.
We can help you identify which parts of your organisation would benefit from being taken offsite, and what third party providers would best suit your needs. Get in touch for a free consultation