You have undoubtedly heard of the term cloud computing by now. What once was a buzz word among the media and a theory in labs has now become mainstream and you can no longer go a day without hearing the term.
So what is cloud computing? Cloud computing is a series of web-based services which host all the programs the user would need for his or her job. Remote machines owned by another company would run everything from e-mail to word processing to complex data analysis programs. There's a good chance you've already used some form of cloud computing. If you have an e-mail account with a Web-based e-mail service like Hotmail, Yahoo! Mail or Gmail, then you've had some experience with cloud computing. Instead of running an e-mail program on your computer, you log in to a Web e-mail account remotely. The software and storage for your account doesn't exist on your computer, it's on the service's computer cloud.
When talking about a cloud computing system, it's helpful to divide it into two sections: the front end and the back end. They connect to each other through a network, usually the Internet. The front end is the side the computer user, or client, sees. The back end is the "cloud" section of the system.
Why use cloud computing? Why would anyone want to rely on another computer system to run programs and store data? Here are just a few reasons:
- Clients would be able to access their applications and data from anywhere at any time.
- It could bring hardware costs down by no longer needing the fastest computer
- Save space. Cloud computing gives these companies the option of storing data on someone else's hardware, removing the need for physical space on the front end.
Is it safe?Perhaps the biggest concerns about cloud computing are security and privacy. The idea of handing over important data to another company worries some people. Corporate executives might hesitate to take advantage of a cloud computing system because they can't keep their company's information under lock and key. The counterargument to this position is that the companies offering cloud computing services live and die by their reputations. It benefits these companies to have reliable security measures in place. Otherwise, the service would lose all its clients. It's in their interest to employ the most advanced techniques to protect their clients' data.
We see cloud computing applications everywhere. Smartphone apps use cloud computing technology to let you store and access data that normally wouldn't fit on your handheld device. Research institutions use cloud computing to house massive libraries of information. And video game companies are experimenting with ways to let you access state-of-the-art games without requiring a hefty investment in a gaming rig.
With the many uses and applications of cloud computing available, contact us to find out if this fits in with your company.