What is The Cloud?
What is the cloud?
Most people will have heard the term ‘the cloud’. But when it comes to grasping exactly what the cloud is, what it does and how it can benefit businesses, there is still some confusion.
The cloud is not a physical thing, it’s a network of servers that run on the internet. They can be accessed through the internet, or dedicated mobile apps; allowing users to store and manage information remotely. Some of these servers deliver a service or application - such as Adobe Creative Cloud; and some store data - such as Instagram.
Any time you store data not in your phone or computer's internal system, you’ll be using the cloud - such as iCloud, Evernote, or Google Drive.
Once information and data has been uploaded to the cloud, users are able to access this information from anywhere and any device so long as they have an internet connection and login details. Examples of cloud-based services include Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, Dropbox and many more.
According to research carried out in 2017 from the Cloud Industry Forum (CIF), the overall cloud adoption rate in the UK now stands at 88%, with a predicted 67% of users increasing their adoption of cloud services throughout 2017.
What are the benefits for businesses?
One of the biggest draws for businesses is the flexibility that comes with using cloud-based services. As information and data can be accessed from any device and at any time, users can be completely mobile. This is great for employees who need to work from home and also for business owners who need to manage the running of their business remotely.
There are also plenty of storage options, sharing settings (inside and outside your business) and integration features that allow you to combine a number of different apps all in one place. The cloud is elastic! Making it easy to upscale or downscale depending on what you and your business need.
Businesses can also benefit from better working process and collaboration when adopting the cloud. For example, with tools such as Google Drive, you’re able to set up documents, grant users access and allow multiple people to collaborate on the same document. Allowing users to edit and comment on documents in real-time means that business owners and employees are able to get more visibility over progress and updates - leading to faster, more integrated work processes.
Security and Data Recovery Options
These days, security and data are big concerns for business owners. However, when data and information is stored in the cloud, it’s not associated with a single device or system. This means that even if a laptop is stolen, users are not only able to access their data and information through a another device, but also recover any compromised files and data.
Whilst this increased access can assist you if documents get lost or damaged, it's also worth noting the potential risk here. As with any information living online, there is always the risk of a cyber attack. Most cloud providers have measures in place to prevent this, but for peace of mind do be cautious as to what you store up there.
Improves Cash Flow
Cloud computing is often seen as an affordable option for businesses due to its flexible nature and pricing options. Unlike expensive software, cloud-based services are often built with automatic updates so that users are able to stay up to date with the latest technology without having to replace their whole software system every few years. It’s also great for growing businesses who who want to manage their data storage options.
With cloud-based services they are able to upgrade their storage on a pay-as-you-go basis as their business grows, and find different storage plans to suit their needs and cashflow.
What are your options?
First of all you’ll need to decide what you want to use the cloud for. You can then choose a package that suits your business and select different options depending on your needs. For some guidance on what exactly you can get with each package you can read this article to help you decide!