As with technology, the business world is evolving at a fast pace. It’s also a well-known fact that some people are resistant to change. It is those people that will end up getting left behind while the rest of the world embraces the latest and greatest ways of doing things.

If you want your business to succeed, it has to change with the times and, in some cases, get prepared to diversify to stay afloat. Otherwise, it risks failing because of its refusal to adapt to the needs of its customers.

Is your company working on a new product or service? Maybe it needs to find a better way of coping with increased demand? Whatever your business is up to these days, one thing is for certain: it needs to have a good IT infrastructure in place.

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Employees rely on computers to help them be more productive in their work. They can be useful for carrying out a range of repetitive and monotonous tasks, as well as lower costs. But did you know that some firms spend far too much money on their IT equipment than they need to?

Those companies are usually the ones that don’t take advantage of “the cloud.”

What is the cloud?

The cloud is a term used by people to refer to cloud computing. It’s a buzzword that many use, but what do you know about it? And why are so many people flocking to the cloud to make their firms more productive and profitable?

In layman’s terms, the cloud is a way of using the Internet to run programs and save files. It’s an alternative to using your office-based computer systems. In case you were wondering, “the cloud” is just a metaphor for the Internet.

Cloud computing is a way of doing stuff online, negating the need to use or store things on your computer. It is worth pointing out that “the cloud” does not refer to using a server on your LAN (Local-Area Network).

The cloud can refer to an array of different Internet-based concepts. Popular examples are as follows:

  • Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). A way of accessing applications over the Internet. Google Drive is a prime example;
  • Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS). Just like SaaS, except that the applications get built by your business, rather than a third party;
  • Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS). Amazon S3 and Dropbox are just a couple of examples of how you can use an online IT infrastructure for your needs.

What can the cloud do for your business?

You might not know this, but the cloud can help you out with all kinds of tasks. Data storage is one of the most-common problems that many businesses face. A lot of firms have central file servers, and they often have a limited amount of disk space.

Does your company deals with large files on a regular basis, such as for music and video production? If so, you are likely to run out of storage space sooner rather than later. The cloud makes it possible for you to start limitless amounts of data online.

Uploading big files to your cloud storage provider isn’t going to be an issue if you have a fast Internet connection. The cost of fibre broadband is much lower today than it was five years ago. Companies with the tightest of budgets can afford even a basic high-speed Internet connection.

But that’s not the only thing the cloud gets used for in today’s business world. Here are some more practical examples of what it can do for you.

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Data backups

In the past, companies would have to perform data backups and store them on removable media, such as tapes, CDs and DVDs. The problem with that approach is that you have to remember to take the backup media offsite.

If some disaster situation occurs, and you forgot to take the backup media home with you, it could mean the end of your business.

Today, there are systems that can store files and applications offsite with no user interaction. With no media to store offsite, modern backup systems just upload to the cloud as they backup your files and folders.

It gives you one less thing to worry about and offers total peace of mind.

Email

Back in the “good old days” of computing, people used to download their emails onto a local email client. Examples of email clients include Microsoft Outlook.

Email backups were fraught with problems. And with most email clients storing everything in a single file, data corruption was inevitable.

But email in the 21st century no longer suffers from such problems! There are many cloud services that offer “hosted” email solutions. In a nutshell, your email gets stored on a remote cloud server and is accessible from any device.

Let’s say that you use your laptop to access your hosted email. What would happen if your laptop decided to stop working one day? In those cases, you can just go and use another device and not worry about losing any emails or other data.

Is it safe to store data in the cloud?

Cloud service providers offer data encryption. The extra layer of protection covers the transmission of data from your computer to the cloud server. Your data on the server is also encrypted.

Even if your computer got hacked, you can change your login details from a secure system to prevent any data theft by third parties.

You might be wondering what would happen if something happened to the equipment where your data is. The good news is that your data gets stored across an array of servers. If the primary cloud server were to go down, a “mirrored” server can go online in a matter of seconds.

Cloud service providers also ensure that their facilities get protected with physical security. Examples of this include CCTV, security guards and strong building access control.

Some company bosses worry about privacy and confidentiality. The truth is, your data is better protected in the cloud than it is on a local system in your office!

Got any comments on cloud computing? Feel free to post them up. Thanks for reading!