Best Uses For The Cloud

Updated: reports that Cloud computing is here to stay, with 70 percent of businesses either using or investigating cloud solutions. Users are turned on by simplified data storage and access, including Cloud software that takes traditional computing online.

IT executive Todd Nielsen has discussed at length the reasons to implement the cloud for your business. He argues that we are in the midst of a Cloud computing perfect storm: between improved technology and Internet availability, in addition to the maturation of the Internet generation—it seems this is the perfect time to dive in.

SEE ALSO: 6 Things To Learn Before Using The Cloud

Easy, Multi-Platform Access

The way we use computers is changing. We’ve gone from using clunky desktop computers to smartphones and tablets, and 3G networks provide nationwide Internet access anywhere.

Cloud computing means that wherever the Internet goes, your data follows. The files are stored online, and the user may access them from any connected device. This means that you can show those pictures you took of your puppy to that cute girl at the bar, if you so desire.

Instantaneous Backup

Hand in hand with multi-platform access, the Cloud also offers instantaneous backup—meaning that when your old desktop finally crashes, you don’t lose those endearing photos of your puppy, because they're living in the cloud, not on your computer. Data storage allowing access from multiple devices was perhaps the first use for the Cloud, and remains an essential function.

Apple’s iCloud and Microsoft’s SkyDrive are perfect examples; anytime you turn on any of your connected devices, it automatically syncs to reflect any changes in the body of data you have stored in the cloud

Software Delivery

Software as a Service (SaaS) means that the programs you once stored on your computer are now apps stored in the cloud and accessed by your device. Google Drive offers a full office suite of programs for everyday users free of charge, with more extensive versions available for a monthly fee.

Meanwhile, businesses use SaaS to deliver the customized software they need to all of their employees from a single source. Even more traditional programs are increasingly downloaded from various “App Stores,” signaling a revolution in the ways we access software.

Infrastructure As A Service (IaaS)

Businesses especially stand to gain from the utility-style benefits of IaaS; rather than maintaining a server designed to handle rare spikes in activity, they pay only for the server space they actually use. This not only translates to big hardware, utility savings and increased efficiency, but it eliminates the IT burden keeping the server up round the clock. In fact, the cloud faces significantly less downtime than traditional networks: both Google and Amazon guarantee 99.9 percent uptime.

Platform Essentials

As technology and the Cloud revolution progress, businesses will turn toPlatform as a Service (PaaS)which delivers the operating systems, web browsers and other programs that make computers interactive. Forbes has dubbed 2012 “The Year of the Platform,” suggesting that businesses will turn to PaaS for centralization and customization.

But PaaS serves consumers as well: Google’s Chromebook hints at a future in which devices become “dumb terminals” that store little to no information of their own, but access everything from framework to software to files via the web.

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