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Everyone is talking about “the cloud.” What does it mean?

Posted by John Kennedy on Apr 7, 2018 1:35:23 PM
John Kennedy

 

The cloud refers to software and services that are accessed over the Internet, instead of you having them locally on your computer.

In other words, the cloud is just a metaphor for the Internet. With the Internet, you are able to get on with your connected life anywhere, anytime using the cloud to access your data and apps.

Working off your hard drive is how the computer industry has worked for decades, but technology more and more is moving to the cloud, away from the traditional software models.

The amount and variety of hardware and software required to run an app locally can be daunting. You need to install, configure, test, run, secure, and regularly update software. For larger companies multiplying this effort across numerous apps, it’s easy to see how more appealing working in the cloud is.

As an individual user, you may never have a concept of the massive data processing that is happening in the background in the cloud, enabling you to store and access your data.

The most common cloud services that as freelancers to small businesses we subscribe to are when we interact with businesses that choose to implement Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) think www.salesforce.com or www.hubspot.com as an example.

The advantage of the cloud is that you can access your information on any device, as long as you have an Internet connection. No need for you to focus on any particular hardware, power needs or data storage parameters in order to run your operations.

Using the cloud allows you to make edits to a file in for example Google Docs at home, and then pick up where you left off when you get to the office. Colleagues can even collaborate on the same document at the same time.

Another benefit of the cloud is that, because the remote servers handle much of the computing and storage, you don’t necessarily need an expensive, high-end machine to get your work done.

Google has taken this thought one step further by producing a cloud-based computer. It's a low-cost option for consumers and specially aimed at the education market, Google’s Chromebooks.

These are laptops that have just enough local storage to run the Chrome OS, which turns the Google Chrome Web browser into an operating system. With a Chromebook, pretty much everything you do is online: apps, media, and storage are all in the cloud.

But the cloud has its downfalls, too.

Without a reliable Internet connection, you cannot access your data and cloud-based apps. The same applies if there are any technical issues with your cloud vendor.

Also, because your information lives online, there’s always the risk of it falling into the wrong hands. All cloud based companies take security seriously but you should also think about what you are prepared to store in the cloud versus locally on your computer.

With cloud computing, you eliminate some of the storage headaches that come with storing your own data as these become the responsibility of the SaaS vendor or cloud provider.

A shared infrastructure means it works like a utility: you only pay for what you need, upgrades are automatic, and scaling your storage needs is easier because your supplier has to manage the administration.

Relying on a third party to host your data does tend to make businesses feel that there is a greater level of system reliability, because that is the vendors sole focus.  And when there are problems it should be easy to access customer support and address problems quickly to the experts.

In terms of being costs effective, customers of SaaS companies typically subscribe to cloud services, under a monthly billing arrangement. For example, rather than pay for software licenses or network infrastructure upfront, cloud customers take this as an ongoing operational expense, rather than a capital expenditure.

As a business, cloud-based technology provides access to software, storage, computing power and other IT infrastructure elements without the burden of maintaining, upgrading or having to invest in having an onsite IT team.

Every second counts when you are hit with downtime. It’s a situation that nobody wants to be in, which is why Work.Tools have developed three levels of IT support with Plans tailored to your needs.

Outsourcing your IT support can add huge value to your business, preserving liquidity and protecting your business from the unexpected.

A monthly subscription to Work.Tools is like having your own dedicated IT team at a fraction of the cost – allowing you to compete at the same level as bigger competitors.

We partner with you and your team, working closely with your business to ensure that you'll have all the resources you need, all dome remotely, based in the cloud.

By outsourcing you can manage a predictable monthly IT budget and have access to a competent and professional IT team day and night.

Plus, because of our IT expertise we can also provide unbiased advice on software and take a proactive approach to maintaining your technology.

We can provide your business with different levels of IT support tailored to your needs and budget.  

Remote Control

Work.Tools can take over your end user's device to assess and rectify problems.

Remote Diagnostics

We  provide a quick summary of processes, services and application performance.

Unattended Access

Connect to a remote device when no user is present to solve problems during user downtime.

Face to face

We can also arrange a personal visit from one of our tech experts, to advise on suitable technology and provide expert IT consulting services.

Contact us to find out how we can give you peace of mind for your hardware, software and IT Support.

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Topics: IT, small business, technology

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