cloud computing

Cloud Computing – What Is It and Why Should Your Organization Use It?

Have you ever looked down at your phone or tablet to see a prompt asking you to back up your data to the cloud? Are you unsure of what, exactly, the cloud is or why you need to use it? We want to help you understand what the cloud is, how you’re already using it, and how continued (and increased) use of cloud services could help you and your business.

First, what is the cloud? Basically “cloud” is just a metaphor for the internet. Cloud computing can refer to anything that isn't performed or stored on a local device but instead can be accessed anywhere and from any device because the functions happen, and data is stored, online.

So then, we know what the cloud is, but are you currently using it? If you’ve ever used email or social media, then you’ve used a cloud service. Additionally, file management services like Office Online or Box are cloud services that are probably essential to the everyday function of your business.

There are many advantages to using cloud services instead of, or in addition to, local applications. Among these are cost, ease of access, scalability, environmentalism, and disaster recovery. Let's give a brief overview of each of these benefits, and then cover some of the disadvantages as well.

Cost

Since you don’t have to buy, maintain, or power any hardware or software associated with storage you save a lot of money when you use cloud-based storage systems. Instead, you pay a monthly fee based on the amount of storage you need.

Ease of access

Because cloud services exist on the internet, you and your employees can access your information from anywhere. If you have an internet connect you can access your account, and your stored data, on any device from the office, your home, or on the go.

Scalability

Your business probably isn't the same size as when it started, and you're probably anticipating growth in the coming months or years. This means that your storage needs will grow as well. Cloud storage is extremely scalable, and oftentimes there's no wait for increased storage once you request it.

Environmentalism

Cloud computing leads to faster hardware upgrades, a reduction in electricity use, and an overall lower carbon emission.

Disaster recovery

Cloud storage functions as an offsite or remote backup, meaning it is safe if a disaster occurs at your worksite. Because of its access to the internet cloud-based storage is also helpful when an onsite incident prevents your workers from coming in and it doesn’t require any physical equipment to recover your information.

Despite all these benefits there are disadvantages to cloud computing as well. Chief among them is control over your data. If you deal in highly sensitive data, like medical records, there is a level of risk associated with involving a third party in the handling of that data. Additionally, having to rely on your service provider to resolve any issues or be responsible for security may be an issue for your business.

Many factors go into your decision to move business functions over to the cloud. It’s important that you take the time to assess what benefits there could be as well as how feasible it is for you and your company to make this change. If you have questions or want to get started with migrating to the cloud, feel free to contact us.

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