What is the cloud?

Most of us use Cloud based services every day without even noticing, with things like web based email through Google or Hotmail, communication tools such as Skype, and video sites like Youtube. Many websites or applications are already using services which are run in the cloud, with Google and Amazon being two of the most notable companies. So, what is Cloud computing and how does it work?

Cloud computing is an IT solution which enables you to use software and share information through the internet without having to have all the data stored on your office PCs. Traditionally, we store all of our information locally. In other words we physically hold the data, whether that be on a hard drive, usb device or CD. With Cloud Computing, your data is instead stored online, or ‘in the Cloud’, along with the software which you used to create it. So, all you need is an internet ready PC and your passwords, and effectively you can work anywhere. It also means that you don’t need a server computer on site, because your entire data backup can be held in the cloud as well.

An application that runs in the cloud can be customised to your own requirements; for example by adding or removing users, or limiting access that existing users have.  Also, by running an application in the cloud, for example Microsoft Office, any updates can be automatically applied without the need for CD-ROMs, potentially reducing time and cost. This technology is already applied to things like PC games, which can be bought and downloaded online, usually for cheaper than you would expect to pay in a shop. The game saves are then saved online and updates are applied, in many cases without you even realising. 

Cloud Computing also differs from traditional computing in that it enables you to pay with a monthly subscription, which could include the cost of any upgrades or security. This way, you would only pay for the service you have used, much like a pay as you go mobile phone.

If you are interested in Cloud Computing services for your business, or you’d just like to know a little more about how it works, please call us on 01634 299800.

 

What next?

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