Cloud Computing, That Is!
|Like it or not, cloud computing is here to stay. Although we are big fans of this trend here at eBizDocs, not everyone is as comfortable with this shift, or even fully understands what it means for their organizations.Cloud computing is a hot trend, and one that will continue to grow. In 2013, 43 percent of small businesses used the cloud, storing data and software offsite and accessing them via the Internet. Some analysts are even predicting that 2014 will be the year that cloud computing overtakes more traditional local network operations.
Where will you be in this trend? It’s clear that cloud computing will inevitably be part of your business’ technology plans – but how, and how much? What’s “fueling” this increase, and how can cloud computing provide a sunny outlook for your business’ future?
A “Definition” and (some) Clarifications
We find it always helps to make sure we’re all on the same page, so to speak…
The term “cloud computing” is simply a buzzword – a cute, marketable, and memorable metaphor for internet-based computing – that is now mentioned over 48 million times on the internet.
There’s nothing “magical” about “the cloud.” Although it can (and does) mean widely varying things to different users and in different contexts, at its heart, it always embodies a few standard characteristics:
- Shared computing activities across a wide network of devices using the internet to connect the group.
- Usually includes remote network data storage.
- Often includes applications that either work completely on a remote computer or through shared workload.
- All of these devices and applications are intended to be integrated with each other as needed.
That’s it – in an extremely simplified version.Follow along with us as we add to our series of articles on cloud computing- what it is, how it can be helpful to your business, and, of course, how our business services and support fit into this new “landscape.”
Here’s our top 5 trends to keep in mind when considering how, when, and why the cloud trend is good for your business forecast:
1. You’re probably already using cloud-based technology tools.
Got a gmail account? That’s cloud computing. Share files with clients using one of many internet-based file sharing tools? Host your company website on a service like GoDaddy? That’s cloud-based technology, too.
2. Even the “big stuff” is going online.
From cloud-hosted Microsoft Exchange servers (like Office365) to a wide variety of what have traditionally been “back-office” tools that were installed on in-house servers, more and more of our daily technology activities will be hosted somewhere other than our own offices. You may even be replacing your phone systems with cloud-based applications. In fact, some experts predict that in the very near future, the only applications that will be installed and running on your actual device will be the operating system and your Microsoft Office applications (maybe…)
3. It’s all about accessibility and interactivity.
Sites like Quickbooks are quick (pun intended) to share their “marketplace”as a one-stop shop for their users to find other applications that they have endorsed as tools that can enhance and extend the capabilities of its own applications. This interoperability, designed to increase efficiency for the end user, also allows Quickbooks to focus on its primary tools while users can select add-ons from a variety of vendors based on their needs. When it works, this is a real win-win for everyone.
4. It’s cheaper and easier. And often better.
Maintenance is centralized, and managed by experts, allowing you to focus on your primary business, and usually providing significant cost savings. Disaster recovery becomes far easier – remote backups and secondary servers not only protect your data, but can allow your business to continue functioning with no break in service if a catastrophe should occur. Hosted software applications are updated as new releases come out (often at no additional upgrade costs), behind the scenes, without requiring any additional effort on your part. Cloud computing really can take the headaches out of technology for a small business.
5. Mobility is key.
Any device, any where, any time. By utilizing remote servers for storage and processing while users access the data they need via their local device, our workforce is increasingly mobile.
5a. The lines between personal and business technologies are becoming increasingly blurred.
You’re definitely using cloud technologies in your personal life – any app on your phone is a cloud tool. As more individuals use their personal devices to perform work tasks, more applications will have dual purposes.
Cloud technology does hold some risks that should be carefully considered as well. Follow along in the series for our next installment where we will discuss the potential pitfalls of cloud technology so you can make informed decisions for your business needs.
It goes without saying that we offer what we think is a terrific cloud-based document management solution for our customers. Using our eBizCloud© document management solution, combined with our expert service and support, will save your business time and money (in fact, we even guarantee it.) Want to learn more about how your business can benefit? Contact us today and we’ll be happy to help you to make your business better.
For further reading on the cloud forecast for the near future, check out these articles: