You’ve probably heard the expression “the cloud” at business conferences or read it online — but you might not be completely sure what it means.
It’s time to learn.
All information that you save has to live somewhere. When you print a picture and save it in your file cabinet, it lives in your file cabinet and takes up a little bit of space there. When you save that picture on your computer using the “save” command or CTRL+S, you save it in your computer’s memory and it takes up some space there.
When we save this picture of clouds at our website, the picture is saved on a server, the computer that keeps this website running. It takes up some space on that server, and that’s one of the things you’re paying for when you pay for web hosting.
“The Cloud” refers to shared resources. Instead of living on one piece of paper, one computer, or one server, cloud-based services live in the cloud, a network of shared resources.
Access and security
There are some significant advantages to cloud computing. If you back up your files to the cloud, the loss of your computer or your file cabinet won’t mean the loss of your data. You can access your data at any time from any standard web connection, you can save data there, and other people who have permission can access that new, up to date data immediately.
Imagine a tour guide. She’s gathering her tour group onto a bus or a boat, and wants to double check special restaurant reservations on the other end of the trip. She can call the restaurant — but she may not have all the information they’ll need and she may not have time to wait for the receptionist to check. She can call the office and ask the secretary to call the restaurant and check, and then call back — but by the time the call arrives, she may be too busy to take that call.
She can also use her smartphone to check her company’s virtual office in the cloud, where the confirmation from the restaurant has already been logged.
Secure access means that all workers can access real-time information 24/7 from any internet connection, using the appropriate level of security — higher security for medical records, for example, than for a community group’s calendar.
As you can imagine, having this level of synchronization and power in your own office would be expensive. In the past, companies have had to spend thousands of dollars on powerful computers and thousands more for powerful software if they wanted this kind of capacity for their companies — and often they needed additional staff, too. Small companies couldn’t get these advantages. Now, shared resources make shared access and secure storage affordable for everyone.
If you haven’t checked out your options for cloud computing, it’s time you did. Call 732.549.6030 to discuss your needs — we can answer all your questions.