What is Cloud Computing?
It seems like everyone is talking about “moving to the cloud”, “cloud computing” or “you can just do it in the cloud”… but what does that really mean? The truth it could be a few different things, below are four possible explanations:
- Your Data is not on your computer – It’s just a website or a connection away from your private and secure access.
- Almost Any Device is “your computer” – It allows access to your data from any supported machine.
- Can be a Private Cloud – Private Cloud is where a company creates a web-enabled computer or server within their network to have the Data served up the data to their employees wherever they are.
- Can also be a Public Cloud – Public Cloud is where the server computing, data and main company programs reside all in the Internet via a company who manages your data and makes it available 24/7.
Having a Central Point of Access to Data allows movement from one device to another easily with no loss of data, no need for multiple installation of applications, and with the convenience of fast powerful server-side horsepower making end-device speeds irrelevant. The only limiting factor being the WIFI and internet speed available to the end-device at any given location.
iPad and iPhone apps exist to run complex software/apps such as Adobe, CRM, MS Word and other MS Office programs. With Centralized connectivity you can move from your desktop PC, to your iPhone during lunch, then ipad at night, all with the ability to open applications, edit your files, save, send and much more. Keep in mind with a centralized computer or server holding the data, you can now setup backp schedules to capture all your data, not just the data on one of your many devices.
Convenience drives many to the cloud. User communities demand access to their data from various locations and devices. The only way to truly offer this is to centralize the data and to offer quick simple click to open icons on whatever device is most convenient, from the office to the home and everywhere in between. The choice is primarily whether to offer a private or public cloud. Private is best for security to retain your information within the walls of your company, but carries a downside of needed IT management, electricity, patches and more to keep it all up and going. Public is highly convenient and also has a downside, which is your data is somewhere out there on some server. If your data is sensitive, and in most cases it is, always consider using a Private Cloud architecture. Read more about Public vs. Private Clouds.
Security is easy in a public cloud but so many network share companies and backup companies offer “Cloud Drives”, or drive space in the cloud often for free. While limited in space, it offers some serious concerns to an organization who has much of it’s value in intellectual property, customer lists and more. Public space drives can be secured with a password, but who really knows who is looking at it on the other side. People spend money to a service they’ve never met and give them all their sensitive data. Sounds like a recipe for disaster over time.
When thinking of Cloud computing, remember it’s mostly about having access to your data from any web-enabled device. The important considerations are whether to make it public or private.