If you were to look towards the future of many businesses, the first place to look is up at those fluffy white things we call clouds. Cloud computing allows information to act in a similar manner: unrestrained and available almost anywhere. The technology is emerging as a driving force in business.
Many people don’t do all their work in the one place anymore. Portability is a huge advantage for a piece of technology to have, and cloud services are the very definition of portable.
USB thumb drives are constantly getting smaller in physical size and larger in digital storage space, and are extremely portable. Carrying information on CDs and external hard drives is also rather convenient, but the cloud largely does away with even that small physical component.
Simply save your files to the cloud from whichever device you’re working on, and it can be accessed from almost any other device with an internet connection. There’s no need to carry anything at all – which also means you won’t lose that little thumb drive, or leave important files at home.
Regardless of how well organised you are yourself, working with others often means dealing with less prepared colleagues. Cloud systems work really well with collaborative projects: everyone can save their portions of work to the same cloud drive, which makes the files visible to all team members, wherever they are working from.
When files are being worked on and collated later, version control can get out of hand. Cloud services thankfully help to streamline that process with functions that allow you to see who updates what, when, and what changes and additions were made.
Depending on the type of business you are engaged in, companies may need to buy licenses for software, and they can get costly with a large staff.
Software licenses limit the number of computers that the program can be installed onto, but using the cloud, software can be streamed securely to any device given access, even if the program isn’t installed on the hardware.
It opens up productivity without an associated cost: the same license can be used by an employee to stream a program to their computer at work, and then later at home.
And in the long run, the business can save money on hardware – the computers only need to be powerful enough to access the internet and run the basic operating system. All the heavy lifting, including running the often memory-straining software, is handled by the servers’ hardware.
Secure data storage
With all that sensitive data floating around in the sky (so to speak), concerns about security are natural. Data centres will provide a secure home for your information, while still allowing the business and other authorised parties to access it as necessary. Storing your data onsite may seem like the safest option, but the infrastructure of these data centres is designed to be a safer and more cost-effective alternative to onsite storage, which your business may not have the resources to maintain.
Data centres provide managed hosting services, within facilities with extensive safety features that ensure a steady, uninterrupted power supply; surveillance networks and staff onsite to prevent theft or damage from intruders; and advanced fire suppression systems, to name a few.
Setting up similar systems to protect your data stored onsite is not feasible.
Author bio: Michael Irvingis a freelance writer and blogger, who’s investigating options for hosting in the cloud for his small home business.