The Four Cs: Benefits of Cloud Computing
The evolution of computer technology has given way to connectivity, allowing users to: communicate with other users quickly and efficiently via email and messaging applications; share files and documents through email attachments and online storage; and stay in the loop and express themselves via social networking sites. The Internet has opened the way for individuals to transact business from a distance such as shopping and banking, and for companies to hire qualified employees and/or contractors without the need for the latter to relocate. This increase in online activity has led to the rise of products and services that cater to people’s growing need to stay connected, and in the heart of it all is cloud computing.
Cloud computing, according to Webopedia, “is typically defined as a type of computing that relies on sharing computing resources rather than having local servers or personal devices to handle applications.” In other words, rather than installing applications on each individual computer or device, or saving files locally, these are placed in remote servers. Theoretically, for as long as a user can connect to the Internet, they will be able to access those applications or files using any computer, tablet, or smartphone (although some exceptions may apply). For instance, Dropbox or Google Drive lets users save files in a remote server; Microsoft Office Online allows them to access, modify and/or share documents online; and Steam or Origin lets players access their saved games using different computers.
In a survey by SnapLogic and TechValidate, 72 percent of the companies of their respondents said they have an active cloud application or data integration project.
When it comes to businesses and corporations, cloud computing offers numerous advantages, not only for the company itself but also for its workforce. Even the Queensland Government acknowledges the merits of using the technology, which are true not just in Australia but also across the globe.
Among the most notable benefits of cloud computing are:
Convenience. Typically, local workstations that are not connected to the cloud have several limitations. For one, they inhibit flexibility. Employees, for example, need to use the same computer unit in order to continue their work from where they left off. For another, it takes time to share content, i.e. sharing files that are saved on a hard disk requires using a flash drive or sending them via email as attachments. Cloud computing eliminates, or at least minimizes, such limitations. It also lessens the hassle when there are upgrades needed, since one does not need to do the upgrades on each individual unit.
Cost Effectiveness. Since the license fee for the use of software is typically computed based on the number of computers it will be used on, the total amount can become burdensome for a company. There are also added costs if, for instance, one requires full time IT staff to maintain the system, if it’s time for system upgrades, if there’s a need for bigger server space, and the like. There are cloud-based alternatives that could reduce the company’s expense, and a business owner can have the option to scale up or scale down one’s subscription based on the company’s needs.
Continuity. Cloud computing allows a business to work through situations that would otherwise disrupt production, such as moving to another office, natural disasters, losing a laptop, computer crashes, and the like. It also lets users access their data regardless of their location or the device they are using, which is very useful during business trips or when working overtime while away from the office. Furthermore, it minimizes the inconvenience of endorsing files when an employee goes on leave or resigns.
Collaboration. Sending documents back and forth can result in one file saved in multiple computers, or worse, one supposed file ending up with different file names and non-uniform content. With cloud computing, the file is in a central location, and everyone sharing the same document can see how it evolves, minimizing the risk of confusion.
There are other benefits to cloud computing, such as reducing the need for local servers (thus, lowering space, electricity, and maintenance expense), decreased carbon footprint, and increased efficiency and productivity. It also lets businesses become more competitive due to faster disaster recovery compared to non-cloud-based companies.
If you wanted to know more on cloud computing and how it can help your business, contact us today!