What is cloud computing? – 12 facts every owner of a small or medium business should know

Background

In the last 3 years there have been drastic changes in the way business computing is developed, especially in larger companies. Traditionally, companies build their own IT infrastructure, buy expensive equipment and servers, and install everything locally. They need to keep the hardware running, the software compatible, and make sure that the input and output of information actually meets the needs of the business.

Things have changed. With the advent of cloud computing, a business can have reliable and secure business computing delivered as a public service. Today we no longer dig wells for water or use our own generator for electricity. These services are available as a public service. So too with IT, you can “buy” IT infrastructure as a service, pay for what you need, and focus on the business, not the technology.

1.What is cloud computing?

Computing is delivered over the Internet as a public service that can be accessed from any device that has an Internet connection. The computing power is located and occurs outside the company on external servers, so there is no need for the company to own or operate computing hardware. In fact, a well-known market research company, Gartner, has estimated that by the end of 2012, 20% of all companies will not own any IT assets! The move to the cloud is underway.

two.What would full cloud computing look like in my office?

Imagine your server room or server farm gone, no more major capital expenditures on equipment and facilities. Imagine crash-free desktops and crash-free hard drives, but with the same user experience. Imagine a secure environment for your systems and data taken care of by experts who are not on your direct payroll for a flat monthly fee that covers everything at a lower cost than what you currently pay. This is what cloud computing can look like NOW.

3.Why isn’t everyone doing it?

Large companies have commonly been using cloud computing technology for a while now. Now smaller companies are increasingly switching to this way of running IT. Specialist managed IT companies are helping these smaller businesses move their IT to the cloud and then run their IT efficiently, and this is accelerating the trend.

Four.With Cloud Computing do you have to buy servers?

No. There is no cost burden for server ownership and therefore no high capital expenditures. You purchase “server usage” of a virtual server built for you in an external data center and pay for it with a simple monthly fee.

5.Company specific software

In a cloud computing setup, a company’s current servers, with their existing business software, are moved to newly created virtual servers that are theirs alone. The company accesses everything as before, except that now it communicates over the Internet and not the company’s local area network.

6.How cloud computing can get rid of PCs

With a full Cloud Computing implementation, there are no servers or PCs at business locations. Data is securely protected and continuously monitored on servers in a secure local physical environment and backed up behind a firewall. All PCs are switched to “Virtualized Desktops”. Employees will have a thin client, mouse, keyboard and screen, but nothing will change in their computing experience. They will be looking at their screens with all their familiar programs like Office, Outlook, etc. They will be able to save to “My Documents” and other drives as usual.

The cloud management company will take care of the equipment, Microsoft software licenses, antivirus, spam filtering, security, secure backup, monitoring of virtual servers and desktops, and all the rest. IT headaches you’d rather not worry about. It’s easy to add desks as you grow, or just as easily remove them if you need to downsize, paying for what you need.

7.Cloud computing and the IT person/department

The typical IT person working in or for a company spends up to 80% of their time keeping things running: PCs, hard drives, office software updates, virus and spam protection issues. It’s a “busy job” that does nothing to improve company performance. With a Cloud Computing solution a company does not have to spend time on these activities. More time can be spent on activities that support the business; or, if appropriate, staff may be reduced or redeployed.

8.Can cloud computing save money?

It’s easy to forget how much information technology costs. In addition to the “hard costs” like the cost of hardware, infrastructure and software licenses, there are the more intangible “soft costs” like IT staff, troubleshooting, energy costs to run servers and desks and cool the server room and building. Generally, you should look for fully budgeted savings in the area of ​​30-50% a year. With these levels of savings, a business owner should, at a minimum, consider cloud computing in their organization.

9.IT people often say that cloud computing is less secure than internal infrastructure. Is this true?

Typically, due to the physical security and data security involved, cloud security protection is almost always much better than most on-premises business networks. Internet security is extremely high with firewalls that form barriers and are continuously monitored. Advanced backup and data recovery means even a disaster can be quickly recovered. And because all company data is stored on remote company servers and not stored everywhere (such as on local hard drives, USB sticks, etc.), the likelihood of software contamination and theft is reduced. and data.

10. What happens if a cloud server goes down or there is a catastrophic loss of data?

This is a very important theme. Companies often think that their own server rooms are somehow immune to catastrophes, and too often, unfortunately, they are also ill-prepared for a disaster. Simply backing up to tape, putting tapes in fireproof boxes, and other methods can give a false sense of security. The reality is that if disaster strikes, you need the latest backup data recovery technology so you can be up and running in minutes or hours, not days, weeks, or ever! Cloud computing solutions typically take incremental snapshots backed up to multiple locations physically elsewhere to ensure you’ll be up and running again very quickly.

11. Office move if you are using Cloud Computing

Moving offices or facilities is trivial when a company has a cloud computing setup. Because the infrastructure is in place (separate from the company’s old and new facilities), data can be accessed from anywhere. In theory, once the Internet connection to the new location is up and running, the entire company can be up and running and back to normal as fast as the thin clients can connect to the Internet.

12. Mobile computing

With Cloud Computing, your virtual desktop can be accessed anywhere and anytime. Other solutions require that your office PC is turned on and your office Internet connection is active. Most internet connected devices such as laptops, tablets, smartphones can be used to connect to your desktop. Imagine being able to run Excel, PowerPoint, or any of your business-specific software from an iPad or smartphone! And security is kept at a high level for remote access, as only keystrokes and screen updates are sent between the data center and your smart device, not actual data.

In short, the benefits of moving to the cloud are great. Cloud computing is already more and more the way IT is handled, and thus owners would be wise to take a look and adopt the technology now.

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