Get out of town and Compute in the Cloud


Cloud Computing

When I hear the phrase “cloud computing” I instantly get a visual of myself in puffy pajamas, sitting in a big fluffy white cloud using my Macbook Pro while surfing the net, drinking coffee and feeling completely uninhibited and free. Alas, that is not cloud computing!

So what exactly is cloud computing? Some geeky types define it as an updated version of utility computing, aka virtual servers and others see it as anything a user consumes outside of the firewall, almost like outsourcing.

The simplistic dumbed down definition is the ability for a user to access additional IT infrastructure virtually anywhere with internet access to software and storage data not on their personal computing device. The cloud allows users to store files, data and software remotely. It is almost like a big virtual hard drive.

So you might be asking how does this new emerging mobile technology help me as a business owner? Mobile technology allows people to use company data and resources remotely while in other locations and not be tied to an office. Whether you or your staff are traveling, working off-site, in client meetings, mobile devices and applications help you to keep in touch, be productive and have access to company data globally even if not on your personal device.

How does Cloud Computing work?

Depending on the size of your organization it may be more cost-effective by ensuring your staff has all the necessary computing tools to do their jobs efficiently. Cloud computing an offer a central location for software licenses. Purchasing individual copies of software for each computer at your organization can be very expensive as well as time-consuming for installation. Cloud computing allows you to install one copy virtually that every device you grant permission to can access the software suite. The application allows users to log into a web-based service which hosts all the programs, tools and data the user needs. The “cloud” would support the software and user interface on their infrastructure. In many ways, it is no different from when the virtual hosting companies made a big splash in the late 1990s. Web hosting firms provided the infrastructure and clients could load and host their data and information on remote servers.

We all use cloud computing in some fashion. If you have a Gmail, Yahoo or Hotmail account, you are using a web-based interface to access your email. Google docs offers virtual space for individuals to store smaller amounts of data which is a cloud computing service. Services are being offered for users to store their purchased movies on the cloud and have the ability to access them remotely from mobile devices and not worry about storing digital files on their devices and run the risk of losing that data. Additionally it motivates people who travel to use this service so they can zone out on a favorite show or movie while escaping the woes of travel. The intention of cloud computing is to shift workload and processing to a virtual server especially for specialized software that needs oomph to run its applications. Server farms have the infrastructure and capacity in place to store applications and data organizations and individuals wish to store and access separately from their computing device. There can be nothing more frustrating than saving important data on a personal device and having it crash and all your data is gone because you failed to back it up. Cloud computing is helping to take the frustration out of data loss.

Is everything fluffy and happy on the cloud?

Not really. With any data storage solution comes concerns. One of the biggest concerns is security and privacy. Sending important data with the push of a button to an unknown location can be worrisome. We have all read articles about financial institutions being hacked and personal information being taken and potentially used due to lack of security measures. Companies offering cloud computing take a huge stake in their reputation by offering secure services.

Privacy is the other concern. How can a cloud computing company ensure that when a user is accessing data and applications from remote locations that their privacy is protected and not compromised? Cloud services have measures in place and have to be dedicated to ensure secure encryption is in place as well as authentication procedures. 

Along with concerns comes the question as to who owns the data. Is it the organization that is using the storage facility or is it the cloud service? This question seems to be up for debate. One could argue the information is intellectual property and belongs to the organization that created it.

There are still come kinks that need to be worked out as well as modifications to the infrastructure and process of use. However it seems to be a great way for organizations to utilize offsite storage options for important data as well as resource consuming files that can be stored remotely and free up device performance. 


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. somniophoto
    Nov 11, 2013 @ 05:33:26

    I think the idea of clouds is amazing. For large companies and schools it is an amazing time and money saver to compute from a cloud. For me, however, it doesn’t make as much sense. I am the one and only employee of my business. I do not need multiple licenses on my software. I also do not upgrade every chance I get. For me computing form a cloud would cost more over the long run than simply owning the software. I am very unhappy that Adobe Creative Suite is now offered on cloud only. I don’t want to have to pay $50 a month for all the programs when I can simply upgrade at the student cost of approximately $250 each time I want to upgrade.


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