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What is Cloud Computing?

Posted on: January 12th, 2017 by Matt Sheffer

Cloud Computing continues to play an important role in the Information Technology industry!  If approached the correct way through careful research and planning this strategy offers cost effective benefits to the SMB market.  The most common set of questions around cloud computing are:”What is it?”, “What is the benefit of moving to the “cloud?” and “How secure is cloud computing?”  By definition Cloud Computing is a general term for anything that involves delivering hosted services over the Internet.  Two of the more popular cloud service providers (Microsoft and Amazon) have invested heavily over the past several years to build platforms for both the SMB and Enterprise market.

Why should I use Cloud Computing?

Cloud Computing holds many benefits regardless of the type of business or vertical market.  Perhaps the most noticeable benefit is the reduction in labor costs which are inherent with an on premise datacenter. Infrastructure hardware can get expensive as a result of continual growth and constant refresh cycles.  Cloud Computing scales with your business so you can still maintain all of the performance and benefits of having an on premise solution.  Businesses both small and large understand the importance of having their systems run at peak performance cloud computing offers a high level of service backed by uptime guarantees north of 99% through most providers.  Prior to cloud-based service offerings, access to critical files required remote desktop or VPN technology in order to establish a connection to an on premise server. With Cloud Computing, your information is easily accessible through a web portal that is reachable through any web browser, such as Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, and Firefox.

What are examples of Cloud Computing?

Two examples of cloud computing that are used every day by businesses who may not realize it, Google Drive and Dropbox.  Google Drive and Dropbox are two very well-known cloud based storage applications. Subscriptions are purchased based off of how much storage a business requires.  Data is stored in online datacenters, also referred to as a server farm.  Data is then accessible by logging into your Google or Dropbox account through any web browser on any computer, tablet or smartphone device.  Another well-known example of cloud computing is Office 365.  One of the many services offered by Microsoft is Office 365 Hosted Exchange.  Instead of having to purchase your own on premise email server, you can buy monthly or yearly subscriptions from Office 365 and have your email hosted by Microsoft.  This allows a business to retain the same functionality as if the server was hosted within the walls of their business.  Office 365 Hosted Exchange is one of the most cost effective ways for businesses of any size to have continuous access to email without the administrative labor costs as well as a potential for loss of service.

How Secure is Cloud Computing?

One of the biggest concerns businesses have today in general is security, and rightfully so.  IT Security will be the fastest growing segment of the IT industry over the next 3 years!  Whether on premise or in the cloud, having the appropriate level of security in place is critical.  When selecting a cloud service provider, sticking with the more popular names in the industry is a smart decision.  Cloud providers must satisfy the most complicated set of security compliance standards put in place by an independent auditor.  Millions of dollars a year are spent on security by the major players in the cloud computing space, this pales in comparison to the cost associated to a data breach of any kind.  When selecting a cloud provider, it is always a good idea to review their security practices as well as their level of liability in the event of a breach.  Most organizations today are taking a closer look at “Cyber Security Insurance” to help offset any costs associated with a data breach.  Keep in mind, a data breach can happen to an on premise datacenter as well.  Security protocols put in place by cloud service providers provide a multi-layer approach to security not typically seen with on premise datacenters.

The adoption of cloud based service offerings will continue to increase at a rapid pace over the next few years.  Making the decision to move all or parts of your business to the cloud is not an easy one and should be discussed with experts in the field.  QUALITY has positioned ourselves to be at the forefront of this evolving technology.  Our staff of highly trained professionals can help navigate the complexities of Cloud Computing.  When you are ready to explore if Cloud Computing is right for your business, please reach out to us we’ll be ready!

– Zachary Wolpert