By now, most everyone has heard of “cloud computing” and, even though it is a popular concept, not everyone has a clear idea of what it is. This means that many businesses that do not know what cloud computing is, may not know whether that business should consider using the technology. The first step to understanding who should use cloud computing is to understand what cloud computing is.
What is Cloud Computing?
Cloud computing is the general term used to describe a new class of Internet technology. Cloud technology allows individuals and businesses to work on the Internet; the same type of work that previously required the installation of software on their personal computers, the installation of server computers on a local network, or both. cloud computing has existed in various forms for many years, but the technology was limited by practical considerations such as Internet speeds, reliability of websites, reliability of remote servers and cost.
While cloud computing technologies are generally targeted at business users, it is usually because of the cost limitations. The ordinary homeowner or small business establishment in the past could ill afford the cost of maintaining the expensive servers and costly software needed for many advanced networking and information technologies. Even when it was practical or necessary to use the cloud computing technologies, allowing remote users to connect to those services from the field or home was difficult at best. Bandwidth was expensive, using advanced business applications remotely required high bandwidth which also cost a great deal of money.
The Evolution of Cloud Computing Technologies
The corporate world has embraced a variety of cloud computing technologies to drastically reduce their IT infrastructure costs and improve services. This has become possible because bandwidth is more plentiful, meaning it is also cheaper and virtualization technologies have made servers even cheaper to maintain. Now, cloud computing has reached the point where it is less expensive than traditional technologies and this alone has made it possible for small businesses and even individuals to access the power of advanced cloud computing.
Who Should Use Cloud Computing?
Small businesses can most benefit from moving to a cloud computing model. Instead of paying thousands of dollars for a server and thousands more for its software, budgeting for the personnel to maintain it and its monthly bandwidth costs, a small business can implement a cloud computing infrastructure in a matter of days–rather than months–for far less money. There is no need to worry about having the latest version of software as the cloud computing service provider provides the programs. Additionally, as users will be connecting over the Internet to a large service provider, there is no need to worry about bandwidth or services outages, either. Business cloud computing users can even contract support on an “as-needed” basis with the company only paying for the services used.
This means that the cost of having advanced technologies such as sales management, customer services, support, messaging and even office telephone services are accessible to businesses that were traditionally too small to afford them in the past. With costs dropping and services expanding, no professional or small business can afford to ignore cloud computing. There are even companies that no longer have traditional office space and the employees work from home or the field. This is very advantageous in our dynamic new business climate of cloud computing.
Penn State University, “Web 2.0 Glossary,” Penn State Learning Design Community Hub