How did Cloud Computing begin?The idea of cloud computing isn’t new. In fact, we’ve been talking about it for about 50 years. First proposed as an “intergalactic computer network” that could connect users worldwide, its current capacity reaches much further than we initially predicted.The technology was once only accessible to large corporations. But now small businesses benefit greatly from switching to the cloud. In fact, cloud computing has sparked some of today’s biggest trends, like the increase in the number of self-employed workers and the number of remote employees.
How does cloud computing work?The cloud is divided into four broad models: cloud storage, software as a service (SaaS), platform as a service (PaaS) and infrastructure as a service (IaaS). Cloud storage and SaaS are the two models most relevant to today’s businesses.Cloud storage servers are used as a data warehouse. You transfer information to the cloud but don’t run any cloud-based services on your network. This could take the form of web email services or web hosting providers—like Dropbox, Box and Google Docs—which store all website data off-site.The most common service model today, SaaS, delivers applications via the cloud. This model is especially appealing for small businesses because it rids them of the responsibility of setting up, maintaining or managing any IT in house. SaaS has a low learning curve and low initial setup costs, making the barrier for entry minimal.Collaboration tools like Slack, word processing suites like Microsoft’s Office 365 and full-service sales CRM platforms like Salesforce are all examples of SaaS.In action: A user logs in to a SaaS application—like QuickBooks Online, for example—through a web browser. It doesn’t matter where the user’s computer is located since processing and storage are handled in the cloud. A user can do whatever they need to do, just like they would if the software was installed locally on their computer.
Get the benefits of Cloud Computing
Fewer upkeep responsibilitiesWith no physical infrastructure, there’s no maintenance or upkeep for businesses. Businesses aren’t responsible for maintenance or upgrading software either; this includes updating security. Providers operate on a large scale, which means they have a large pool of available resources to protect and maintain data for their customers.
A backup systemBusinesses don’t have to worry about having their data or servers wiped out in a natural disaster or damaged by human error since nothing is saved on physical computers.For further peace of mind, many cloud services and hosting solutions store data in multiple locations so that if something happens at one of these storage hubs, your data lives somewhere else as well.
Future of the CloudThe “intergalactic computer network” once proposed by early cloud innovators is now treated as a utility — just like water, electricity and gas. It’s a business resource that’s not going away. Current trends include:
- The cloud’s flexibility is guiding the direction of businesses. More and more businesses are embracing the move toward cloud computing because it’s now accessible and affordable. It also encourages flexibility and mobility for employees.
- Businesses are currently finding the cloud most useful to use in a hybrid form — one foot in the cloud, one foot on the ground. Though trends indicate we’ll continue moving toward a majority cloud business world.
- Though cloud security was initially a concern, it’s now safer to keep data in the cloud than it is to keep it on your desktop.
- Businesses can future proof by moving infrastructure off-site and handing over the reigns of maintenance and upkeep to larger, more-resource heavy cloud computing companies.