Head Into The Cloud

Not everyone has yet been introduced to precisely what “Cloud based computing” is. The terms often leave the uninitiated stumped as to what air moisture has to do with business integration, and how it relates to the machines in their office.

It is a term that you have almost certainly heard. “It’s become the phrase du jour,” says Gartner senior analyst Ben Pring. It is often bandied about by analysts, consultants, and anyone else looking to dazzle in the boardroom. The problem is that the definition has become as fuzzy as the nebulous forms it references.

What is Cloud Based Computing?

In a nutshell, Cloud based computing refers to handling business operations off-site. Some technical analysts argue that it means anything that happens outside of the aegis of your company, or anything off-site or beyond the firewall. Others contest it means nothing more than any computing done on a remote server. This can be a server that is owned by the company but kept in an external location.

Whatever literal definition you prefer, it all basically means the same thing: operations that take place away from the physical company itself. Whether you take that to mean anything off-site, or merely computing that takes place on a virtual, online server is generally immaterial. As long as you know that it basically means off-site computer operations.

Where Have You Seen It?

The truth is that cloud computing is not a truly new idea. Almost anyone online has used some form of cloud based computing. Flickr is one such example where you can upload pictures and then edit them directly from your browser. Being able to add tags to photographs within Facebook is another small example wherein you can essentially add embedded code right into your pictures without needing anything more than an account.

In both instances, you are changing something that is not on a local machine, it exists elsewhere.

How Can You Use It?

Now that we have a basic understanding of what the words “Cloud based computing” refer to, the next question is naturally “What can it do for my business?”

There is no simple answer to this question as businesses – like profit generating snowflakes – all have different attributes. The short answer is that it can keep everyone in a company on the same page, which – especially if you are looking for good integration – saves time and money.

Imagine an idyllic corporate world wherein the accounting department has access to precisely the same files as the IT department, who can share those same files with the technical support staff that works in an outsourced company overseas. No redundancy, no missed connections, no emails that go unread even though they are flagged as “URGENT.“

That is the world that Cloud based computing is trying to accomplish. Rather than having information relayed back and forth through dubious channels that are – sadly – rife with human error, everything floats into the ever-expanding “cloud” where it can be seamlessly accessed.

The Advantages

We’ll talk more in depth about the advantages of Cloud computing as time goes on, but what it comes down to is being able to use the software of a larger more powerful company. You can use the might of their cloud based computers, their bandwidth, and their storage space without having to pay the unbelievably high prices they pay for it. Often there will even be additional applications – such as creating a mobile version of your website – that come along with a cloud based computing service.

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