One IT term that everyone seems to be talking about is Cloud Computing, but no one really understands how it might fit into today’s IT environment?
Cloud Computing is the practice of using a network of remote servers hosted on the internet to store, manage, and process data, rather than a local server
What does this mean for your business? Before we answer that we need to throw a few more terms / acronyms at you.
1. IaaS – Infrastructure as a service
• This is a service in which cloud provider will provide server infrastructure to you and will allow you to install and host any software on that server. You will maintain and patch the software and the cloud provider will maintain network connections and server hardware. Think of this as taking the servers in your office and putting them in a remote data center. You still have to maintain them but they are not in your office anymore.
2. SaaS – Software as a service.
• This is the most common model of cloud computing. A few examples of this are Google Apps and Microsoft Office 365. What SaaS provides is access to the applications and services you need but instead of paying a onetime capital expense to install in your office, you “rent” the software and services from the provider.
• NOTE: some traditional software packages are going to this model. Adobe and Microsoft have both started working with this monthly subscription model to use their software like Office 2013 and Adobe CS suites on your local computer. This second kind of SaaS is not a true cloud based solution, but it is a true subscription service.
Ok, now that we threw all that tech at you, let’s try and answer the original question.
Q: How can I use cloud computing in business?
A: It depends.
We apologize for the generic answer but, in all truth, it really does depend. Your business model and business practices will truly dictate how and what you can use of cloud computing. For example, QuickBooks has a really good cloud based solution you can use. However if your company is large enough to need QuickBooks Premier you may be forced to continue using that software in the traditional format.
Another example may be related to cost. Google apps and Microsoft Office 365 can cost on average about $10 per user per month. A large organzations may find they get a better return on the investment if they stay with traditional servers.
So the long and short answer of can you use cloud services, should be answered by your IT person. They will be able to point you in the right direction. Maybe a mix of both traditional and or cloud services is what will be best for your company.
Stay posted for our next blog, giving you more information on the cloud.