What is Cloud Computing?

The technical definition is:

¨“Cloud Computing is a model for enabling convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction. This cloud model promotes availability and is composed of five essential characteristics, three service models, and four deployment models.” National Institute of Standards and Technology

which for most people makes as much sense as a theoretical physics book written in Chinese.

The simplest way to look at Cloud Computing is that it enables you to buy computing power as a utility, much the same as with electricity, gas or water. Rather than buy and maintain the required hardware and software, you buy and pay for what you need. After all, most people don’t generate their own electricity – they’re connected to the mains and pay for what they use.

There are different types of Cloud Computing – the most common for smaller organisations would be Software as a Service (SaaS). Instead of buying the software (and the hardware on which to run it), you pay to use the software “in the cloud”.

Take the example of a company using accounts and/or payroll software. The traditional way of doing things is to buy a server and install the software on it. This entails keeping the server operating system secure and up to date as well as updating the accounts/payroll software. Regular backups also need to be taken and stored carefully and if there is a power failure or the server packs in or, worse still, there is a fire or a flood it can take quite a while to get the system up and running again.

So how would it be done differently with Cloud Computing?

Well for a start, you don’t need to buy any hardware or software so you don’t have the headache of maintenance or backups. Nor do you have to worry about making sure the software is up to date whenever tax rates change.

Most of the major accounting software providers such as Sage and Big Red Book as well as many smaller ones now offer Cloud alternatives. Similarly with CRM, ERP and other type of software. Rather than buy them, you can pay a subscription for what you need.

If you want to find out more about how Cloud Computing can transform your business, click here to contact us.

For more information about backing up your critical data to the cloud, click here.

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