Cloud Computing: What It Is, and How It Can Help You

January 20, 2012

Cloud Computing graphic

Your business could get a whole lot simpler, with just one change to how you run your office. Welcome to cloud computing. Put simply, it’s a fuss-free way to organize all your data, contracts and digital assets remotely, so you can access them anytime – and from any device. Easy, right?

Cloud computing lets you use the internet to access all your programs and info. You can ditch most of your software and bulky hardware, and rely on a trusted outside company to keep you running.

Rather than storing files on your hard drive or desktop, you’ll save and update your work online. Powerful servers in a remote location will protect your digital assets, so you won’t have to worry about a crash or a faulty device in your office. Then, on any computer or smartphone that can access the internet, you can check in on your projects and work like normal.

You’re probably already using cloud-based services. When you run a Google search, it’s not your computer that’s doing all the hard work; it could be a server in San Francisco or Tokyo. If you create a Google Doc, your work doesn’t live on your computer – it’s in the virtual “cloud,” where you can update and share files as you wish. Even email services like Gmail or Hotmail use the cloud, rather than requiring you to store an email program directly on your Mac or PC.

Cloud-based computing has plenty of advantages:

  • Less computer expenses. You don’t have to get the priciest server or desktops. You just need a basic device that can get online.
  • Lower software costs. Many cloud-computing services, like Google Docs, are free – which keeps you from buying programs like Microsoft Word. Other programs can be used through cloud-computing companies for a relatively low licensing fee.
  • Quicker computer speeds. When your computer doesn’t have to run an excessive amount of programs, it can work faster.
  • Instant accessibility. You’ll be free to check your work anywhere, anytime, from any device that goes online.

However, you should also be aware of potential drawbacks:

  • Internet dependence. You’ll need high-speed broadband to access your info, so you might want a backup internet connection in case of an outage.
  • Ongoing service fees. Sure, you don’t have to buy loads of software, but you’ll be paying a monthly rate for a company to keep your cloud files safe.
  • Privacy concerns. If someone else knows your security information, they can (theoretically) view and edit your work through the cloud. As always, protect your password!

If you’re considering moving your work to the cloud, or just want to see how your site can become more efficient, then give us a call. We’d be happy to give you a tutorial if you make the change.