Many businesses are moving toward cloud computing to reduce operating expenses. Instead of relying on in-house computer networking servers, cost cutters are using cloud providers to host their data. These third party cloud providers offer an internet-based network that originates from a secure data center that provides data services so that you don’t have to worry about hardware, security or storage issues. It allows multiple employees to share the same software license instead of paying for the same program multiple times. Ultimately, a full service cloud provider can replace your IT department and customize your electronic communication and application needs.
Rise of the Cloud
Cloud computing started to gain popularity as increasing bandwidth became available in the late nineties. Salesforce emerged in 1999 as one of the first major cloud computing players, offering enterprise solutions for businesses with an online infrastructure. Google’s Gmail is an example of a free cloud service. Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are also considered cloud services, which many businesses now use for lead generation, lead nurturing and customer service.
The most elaborate and customized cloud providers will offer you a wide variety of software tools that allow you to collaborate with staff members, store customer profiles, conduct accounting, track sales and other statistics, build websites, create designs for production and much more.
Types of Clouds
The two main types of cloud platforms are public and private clouds. A forum is an example of a public cloud because it allows the public to upload content for everyone to see. A private cloud, which is used by businesses for internal use, only allows access to members who have a password. Hybrid clouds allow limited access to the public. Some of the most well known providers of cloud services include Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform and IBM SoftLayer.
Cloud Computing Advantages
- data can be accessed remotely anytime from any location
- no need to invest in or upgrade expensive hardware
- electronic communications can be consolidated into one platform
- ability to run an entire business big or small from one centralized location
- ideal for automating and scheduling tasks
- efficient way to cut down on office space, paper documents, furniture and energy costs
- quick access to documents accelerates production
- turns your business into a 24/7 operation
- limits need for investing in security software
- cuts down on infrastructure maintenance
Part of the Mobile Revolution
Since many employees now carry smartphones, laptops and notebooks with them wherever they go, they can use cloud computing to check and access assignments even when they are away from their desks. Sales representatives often need to check with supervisors through electronic communications when they are out on the field so that they can answer customer questions or get approval to close deals. Workers are becoming less dependent on desktop computers in the workplace to complete tasks, which can be done at home or in other remote locations.
Scalability, Integration and Deployment
Other advantages to cloud computing are flexibility and cost savings associated with scalability, integration and deployment. No matter how big your company grows, your cloud computing provider will have the available server space ready for you, since upgrading will not disrupt the flow of your business, as it might with upgrading local servers. Your infrastructure will also be set up for easy integration with applications that you add to your cloud computing experience. Expanding your customer base will not present the difficulties once associated with in-house servers. You will essentially have more control of your business and be able to save time, money and resources when you adopt cloud computing.