These days, everybody seems to be talking about the cloud, but exactly what it is and what it does can remain a bit vague. In particular, there’s a lot of pressure for businesses to start using it, but could yours really benefit? The answer is almost certainly yes. The important thing is to make sure that you understand it first – it’s not as complicated as you might think – and that you integrate with it in the right way to ensure you get optimum results.
Why use the cloud?
Moving into the cloud can have big benefits for any business that works extensively with information – that is, any business with a fair amount of admin. The reason for this is twofold: firstly, it helps you to organize your internal business systems more efficiently; and secondly, it enables you to utilize the latest pieces of software without having to buy them. You may have to pay a small fee, depending on what is and isn’t included in the package you choose, but this is considerably cheaper than, for instance, having to buy a whole new Adobe package because you need to fill out a single form. Using the cloud also makes it easier to connect with your workplace from anywhere you choose and still have access to all your standard workplace systems and data.
Many people worry about the security aspects of moving into the cloud. In fact, it can often make you safer. You could choose to use a private cloud and keep all your data on your own secure servers, arranging remote access for your employees, but in order to enjoy the benefits of the public cloud, you would have to store your data with another company. Because cloud computing companies depend on having a good reputation for security, however, they have a strong incentive to look after it, and the chances are that they can afford much better security systems than you can.
Cloud computing entrepreneur: Charles Phillips
One man who has made a success out of the cloud is Charles Phillips, whose company, Infor, provides business computing solutions to customers in 125 different countries. A law graduate and presidential advisor on economics, he was quick to spot the potential of the cloud. He has overseen the development of several tailored cloud packages designed to suit different kinds of businesses, making it easier for individual business owners to understand what the benefits can be for them and to maximize their efficiency.
Cloud computing and online businesses
One very visible way in which the cloud has impacted the business world is in its relationship with online businesses, which have increased significantly in number as a result of the options it offers. It’s now easier than ever for people on opposite sides of the country – or even in different countries – to work closely together in business. Many companies are choosing to forego the overheads associated with physical premises altogether and do everything virtually, keeping their data and shared resources in the cloud.
Bringing it all together
Cloud computing brings together not just people but also devices. As a system entirely focused on integration, it’s designed to be compatible with practically everything, and it can eliminate at a stroke the difficulty you have getting your office PC to interact smoothly with the Mac you have at home or the Android phone you use during your commute. As new pieces of hardware develop, cloud companies race to catch up, usually offering patches at no extra cost. Put simply, using the cloud makes it much easier to keep up with the tremendous pace of development in the modern age, while keeping your costs down and keeping all your team up to speed.