Cloud computing is not a fad. 70% of businesses are already using or investigating cloud computing solutions. Competition between Amazon, Google and Microsoft hasdriven down the prices of cloud business services,while more services become available to consumers every day.
SEE ALSO: Best Uses For The Cloud
What Does Cloud Service Do?
Essentially, Cloud storage allows users to store their photos, videos and documents online. Thus, users can access and edit their data anywhere, across multiple devices, including smartphones and tablets. Furthermore, the Cloud means that data is automatically backed up against a computer crash. The Cloud also allows data to be shared much easier.
What Type Of User Are You?
So how do you get onboard? Depends on who you are.
Im an Average Joe!
First, read up on the Cloud (essentially, the organization of computing as a service). Look into Software-as-a-Service (SaaS); as the most user-friendly cloud service, it enables users to access software via the Internet, rather than locally on the computer.
Other available services include:
- Google Drive features both SaaS and storage at no cost. Users access a full office suite via a web browser, and can upload media and other files, all for free.
- DropBox offers an amount of free storage, and charges a monthly fee for more.
- Additionally, Apple and Androids app marketplaces exemplify the trend toward moving every element of computing to the Internet.
Im a Business!
Beyond SaaS, businesses benefit from Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), which delivers computing requirements such as networks, firewalls and raw storage via remote servers.
IaaS increases efficiency by eliminating wasted capacity. Instead of a business maintaining high-capacity servers, IaaS gives users virtually infinite server capacity based on demand. Thus, servers will never crash during a peak activity period, and businesses pay only for the specific amount of server space they use.
Businesses can harness SaaS even more fully by designing or customizing software to meet their specific needs. The Cloud also simplifies the IT nightmare of maintaining and securing the software and network, because the provider deals with everything remotely. Other businesses and personal users take the Cloud a step further by using Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), which provides computing frameworks from web browsers to operating systems; storing them in the Cloud, rather than on the computers themselves.
But what about my sensitive data, you ask?
Dont sweat it: the cloud can definitely still work for you. There is a great deal of debate about cloud security, but the majority of cloud users reported increased security after switching to the Cloud. Every Cloud provider offers certified security measures, and third-party companies can add another level of monitoring. If thats not sufficient, companies can create a Private Cloud and manage things internally.
For further information, refer to the following guide on Cloud security:
Amazon, Google and Microsoft all offer Cloud business services with increased features like security and functionality that surpass consumer services. Gaming giant Zynga is just one of many companiesincluding everyone from the New York Times to Nasdaqthat have cut costs and increased efficiency by switching to the Cloud.