What is Cloud computing and why should I care? By Bob Milliken

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With more and more people and organizations accessing the Internet, and as the Internet of Things grows, the way business is done is naturally evolving as well.

One example of this is the emergence of cloud computing services. In essence, this is the outsourcing of an organization’s IT services to a different company. Everything is managed through the Internet – through “the cloud”, hence the term.

Cloud computing is simply using a network of remote computer systems located in the Internet to store, manage, and process data, rather than a local server or personal computer at your home or office. Facebook and LinkedIn are examples of cloud application, as is sending broadcast e-mails through a service like Constant Contact or Aweber. Don’t be surprised, but Gmail and Hotmail are “in the Cloud”. Salesforce is a cloud application; you don’t buy Salesforce software and install it on the server in your office or on your computer. You purchase a subscription and everything is hosted online. If you think about it, almost every single application you use today can be (or already is) being put “in the Cloud” where you can access it and pay for it via your Internet browser for a monthly fee or utility based pricing.

One of the best ways to understand how cloud computing works and why it’s gaining in popularity is to compare it to the way electricity is purchased and used. Years ago, back in the early 1800’s before electricity was delivered as service, manufacturing plants – or companies – had to generate their own electricity to run their factories and would need huge generators built onsite. Those generators cost a LOT of money to build and a LOT of money to maintain, but that was the only option at the time.

Fast forward several years after the concept of electricity as a utility was introduced (thank you Thomas Edison), manufacturers didn’t have to be in the power-generation business anymore. They could run their factories and machines with electrical current generated by distant power plants delivered by utility companies.

And the reason it worked so well is simple: by supplying electricity this way, power plants achieved economies of scale in which no individual person or company had to generate on their own – and in a very short period of time, it became a competitive necessity to use electricity as a utility because of the cost savings.

So what we’re seeing with “cloud computing” is essentially the same thing. Instead of businesses having to incur the cost and hassle of installing and supporting a complex structure of servers and workstations onsite, they are outsourcing “IT” to the cloud. By doing so, business are saving a lot of money, getting better security and better performance.

Is the Cloud for everybody?  Yes and No.  The increasing use of the web in our personal and social lives as well as in business gives the trend of cloud computing services vast potential. However, this service is not for everyone – for instance, if you have reservations about keeping sensitive information in a location outside your organization, you might want to pass.

To learn more about Cloud Computing and its impact on your business please feel free to give us a call and we’ll be happy to discuss it with you.

 

You can reach Bob directly by e-mail at bob@cascadiasystemsgroup.com

www.cascadiasystemgroup.com