Cloud Computing is a recently developed technology but its popularity is becoming larger day by day. You are probably using some of its forms without even realising it. From small start-ups to global corporations, from government agencies to non-profit organisations, we are embracing Cloud Computing for all sorts of reasons.
Utilising cloud services has many perks. Whether you are an individual doing online banking or your organisation is running an application that share photos to millions of mobile users, Cloud Computing can satisfy all in providing low cost IT resources.
The multi-faceted Cloud Computing
Cloud service providers, such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), offer on-demand cloud services platform for data storage, applications, and other IT resources via the internet (a.k.a. the cloud) with a flexible pricing, suitable for even small and medium-sized businesses.
Read more: Why CFOs should be looking to the Cloud
The concept of Cloud Computing is you can access your files anywhere, anytime as long as you are connected to the internet. Email, mobile banking, online shopping, skyping are just a few of the many applications that Cloud Computing is capable of.
1. Cloud database
Your business is in need of a database but is on a tight budget or lack the adequate expertise to build one on-site. In such case, cloud database is a better alternative.
Cloud databases give IT personnel a powerful database that just works without the need for a physical infrastructure. Your cloud service provider will not only support but also take care of all the maintenance and operation of the database, your sole responsibility is handling your own data.
Furthermore, cloud database brings endless scalability to businesses. For example, the seasonal sales period is coming up and you are expecting ten folds the normal web visits. Therefore, the need for an additional database is required. Cloud database can be expanded or taken away in a matter of seconds, whereas in the traditional settings, it would take your business weeks or months to install servers, storages and other resources.
2. Test and development
Testing and development testing are crucial steps to ensure your application can run smoothly, error-free, and usable. In order to successfully test your application, you need a simulated environment that mimics the actual business operations to validate the results.
This is where Cloud Computing comes in to ease your pain of building your own test environments. There are various ready-made environments, tailored to your specific needs at your fingertips.
Once your developer thinks the application is ready, it can be introduced to a test environment to analyse. The platform can also be used for training purposes.
3. Website hosting
Hosting your website on the cloud might be necessary if the current one could not meet up with the constant growth of your business. If you have built a steady website, you would know that hosting takes up a large portion of IT resources.
Cloud-based web hosting provides scalability. In case of issues, your site can simply be migrated to the nearest available server, or more servers can be added during uptime as your needs fluctuate.
Most importantly, you pay as you go with cloud web hosting, security is taken care of by your service provider. This free up your time and effort to focus on the more important aspects such as content.
4. Big data analytics
Every data that we encounter today, such as the stack of paperwork, resumes, or digital data like your Facebook messages, is categorised under a big umbrella term called “big data”.
We have mentioned in various blog posts about the importance of data management as well as the challenges that data can bring due to its sheer volume. Putting your data into the cloud may not shrink its size but it certainly can help make data management a lot easier, more accessible, and when combining with analytics, valuable insights can be mined and utilised.
One of the most challenges when it comes to data is the processing aspect. How to obtain only the most useful piece of information from the midst of chaos? Various Big Data Analytics platforms using Cloud Computing technology enable businesses to process both structured and unstructured data.
Infographic: 4 steps to automate enterprise data management
5. File storage and sharing
This is one of the most basic forms of Cloud Computing. Files are stored in the cloud which makes sharing, retrieving and archiving extremely easy. Google Drive, Dropbox, Shutterstock are the most popular examples of this service.
Things can now be kicked up a notch with the virtual offices where you and your colleagues can easily and instantly update your projects, receive feedback or simply edit/ review budget on the go. Long were the days when you have to send various formats of the budget plan back and forth.
6. Backup and disaster recovery
Documents, files and data should be backed up frequently, but not many of us follow through with the routine. Today, we still manually dispatch data using portable devices and storage facilities which are bottom line time consuming and not very cost effective.
Disaster recovery is a strategic plan to effectively backup and restore business data in the event of man-made or natural calamities. Implementing a disaster recovery plan using Cloud Computing can bring many benefits to the business besides just saving costs.
In the event of a natural disaster that either partially or entirely destroy your business, as data is kept offsite, in the cloud, the recovery process can be done timely and automatically thus eliminate the need for disks, tapes or storage facilities.
7. Business applications
There are more than a handful of cloud-based applications that have intuitive interfaces, are easy to use and tailored for a specific industry.
Need a better way to build and maintain the relationship with your customers? Cloud CRM include features like common office applications, emails, past and current activities integrated within the system.
Keep track of resources, obtain decision-making insights, review and update budget plan… all are available at one destination, easily accessible with just one click with Cloud ERP. Cloud ERP is suitable for both international enterprises and small to medium businesses due to its pay-as-you-go pricing and no upfront cost for hardware and software.
Read more: Cloud 101 - A quick guide to Cloud ERP
One concern you might face that refrains you from migrating to the cloud is the breach of security. As we have discussed in a previous blog post, all activities happening in the cloud are closely monitored and frequently audited by a third party. There are standards the service providers must meet to keep up with the fierce competition and various cyber threats.
The demand for Cloud Computing was not driven by and for multi-dollar enterprises but was driven by the public for a service that endorses collaboration and transparency whether you are on-the-go or at home.
Cloud Computing is certainly not a passing trend of the modern era. It is progressively becoming a part of the day-to-day usage of the entire world’s population.
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