What to Know About Cloud Computing and If It’s Right for You
Clouds are ethereal. They lazily float, high above – mere wisps of condensed water vapor suspended in the atmosphere in the shape of a dragon or Abraham Lincoln’s head. They are the stuff of dreams. The name cloud computing can, therefore, imply the wrong connotation, giving users the idea that important data is floating around somewhere in cyberspace.
This is far from true, as any IT support professional can tell you. Although data is spread out over a slew of remote servers, thus separating it from users and their local servers, it is in no way “floating”. Its location is precise and secure. This is an important point as there is a lot of misunderstanding as to cloud computing is; what it is, how it works, or if it’s right for their business. Cloud computing, in essence, is the practice of using a network of remote servers hosted on the internet to store, manage and process data, rather than an on-site server or computer. Here are some things you need to know in order to make an informed decision.
Let’s start with a common question: what the heck is SaaS? Any managed services provider should be able to explain this to you in detail, but here’s the basic breakdown. SaaS stands for Software as a Service, and it basically entails hiring a third party to host applications and data for your business so that you don’t have to keep a lot of hardware onsite. You should also know what IaaS is – Infrastructure as a Service, whereby a third party provides infrastructure services (servers, storage, etc.) and you install your own Operating System (OS) and applications. Both are part of the cloud computing landscape and you’ll need to explore the potential benefits of each option before you decide which cloud computing services are right for your company.
The next thing you need to know is that cloud services are flexible and scalable, which is one reason it is quickly becoming the preferred method of data storage and processing for many businesses. The packages and pricing offered will depend on the technology service you choose for cloud computing. But by and large, these companies offer a wide variety of options so that businesses can expand as needed or even scale back during times when reduction is required. For companies working with a tight budget, cloud computing can provide a workable solution at an affordable price.
With on-site hosting, you have to deal with buying and selling equipment, installing and maintaining hardware and software, and basically facing a major headache any time the size and needs of your company change. You could spend a pretty penny by going this route. Alternatively, cloud computing offers fast and easy solutions for scalability, saving you time and money.
Cloud services can also increase efficiency. When you hire an IT company for server monitoring, you can gain other valuable monitoring and maintenance services as well. By choosing cloud hosting and related services, you’ll gain a team of experienced IT professionals that can keep an eye on every aspect of your operation in order to increase network speed and capacity, decrease the threat of data breaches, and free up your employees to complete assigned tasks in an efficient manner.
Security has improved dramatically, as well. Several years ago, the prospect of utilizing cloud computing was dubious. Now companies that specialize in on-demand tech support and offer cloud computing and hosting services are much more capable of meeting the security needs of business clients. This is not only thanks to facilities that feature physical security, but also to added virtual protections, including encryption and dedicated servers.
In addition, you should understand the options that come with virtualization. It’s important to make a distinction first, though. Virtualization and cloud computing are not exactly the same thing. Virtualization involves using software to partition off your hardware (computers, servers, etc.) so that you can maximize computing power without the cost of additional hardware. Cloud computing has to do with harnessing this principle on a massive scale and offering it as a service to others. You can take advantage of both of these things, optimizing your current hardware through virtualization, as well as outsourcing to appropriate IT support for cloud services. It’s just one more option to consider when it comes to choosing the cloud computing options that are right for your company.