Cloud Computing? What does it really mean.

What is Cloud Computing?

The term cloud computing is something of a misnomer. The term suggests there are computers sitting up in the clouds and although this is patently ridiculous many can’t get past the name to understand exactly what it is.

Computers can’t sit in clouds but the communications between them can be via the cloud but even this is not quite true as the communication is via the Internet which is still basically cable based.

The name really refers to the concept that a linked network of hardware (computers, severs and other physical devices) housing software applications (which can store data or perform actions) that can be accessed by multiple users from remote locations. Now isn’t it just easier to say cloud computing or it’s in the cloud?

How is cloud computing good for your business?

In days gone by, one of the largest costs when setting up a business, even a relatively small business, was the setting up of an office server. This server was used to store the applications you wanted to run for your business which could include email accounts, databases, websites and specialist packages such as accounting so these could be used by the network of computers in your office.

Not only was it expensive to set up the server with the relevant server software but usually a company had to be employed to run the server for you and you knew it would only be a matter of time before you would need to update either the server, the software or both.

These were the days when most of the applications where desktop based.

But it all went online.

And that is when most of us heard the term cloud computing. The applications and services accessed now are no longer stored on our computers or even on an office server but are stored on the provider’s servers and when we want to access them we just login.

Now when there is an upgrade, we receive a message when we login and are told to update the system or in some cases the system updates itself. Yes, this can be annoying as we have to wait for the update to process before we can proceed but it is infinitely better than paying for an upgrade and then finding we need to also update our server software or the server itself.

Systems are infinitely scalable.

Providers of the system or service businesses are using also no longer need to invest in expensive servers but can lease them from the cloud provider with the ability to scale up capacity as needed. This is obviously a cost saving for the systems provider which can be passed onto their clients but can also be used to meet increased calls on capacity.

Even better news, the cloud provider is responsible for server security. They should know what they are doing and should do it better than if it was left up to the systems provider so once again good news for the end user.

So it is all in the cloud?

Pretty much. We can personally load to the cloud and many people load photos to save space on phones and other devices. Every time we use a social media platform we are sending information to the cloud just as when we access a service such as a bank account.

Whether we like it or not there is a lot of our personal information in the cloud and it is here to stay and grow. We can only hope the cloud provider and the service providers, which built the online applications we use, know what they are doing when it comes to cyber security.

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