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What is Cloud Computing?
You hear the word in tech circles all the times these days: "I have my business on the cloud!" What exactly does that mean?
Cloud computing is a reference to computing resources, (like software or hardware) that exist on computers that are a distance from the user, and are delivered and employed by end users as a service over a network like the internet. Chances are likely that you are already using cloud-based computing without even realizing it; for instance, web-based email services are "in the cloud."
Operating on the cloud can be an inexpensive and maintenance free way to manage your company's I.T. Coupled with applications such as Google apps, managing your computer resources costs and CapEx expenses can be cut substantially.
For start-ups, or companies launching new online services, the cloud can afford a very inexpensive way to beta test a concept without having a substantial investment in in-house hardware.
Pros of Cloud Computing
The advantages of utilizing the cloud for your small business are numerous and include not having to support the infrastructure in terms of hardware, software, or intellectual capital (personnel) in-house. Someone else, remotely, is managing all of that for you.
The premise above leads to the first and one of the most important advantages. It's simply less costly to do business on the cloud. You have eliminated the cost of acquiring and operating servers, license fees for software and applications, and personnel to install and maintain that business segment for your company. Utility bills are cut, and maintenance charges practically vanish.
The cloud is available continuously. There's unlikely to be any downtime, as cloud firms employ huge server firms with redundant hardware, even in different parts of the country or globe. Localized power outages, weather or local holidays aren't going to interfere with your operations. If a server fails in one area, services are automatically switched to another location, and uptime is generally an included guarantee of the service.
No loss of data. Your data on the cloud is backed up continuously on multiple servers. It's virtually going to be there whenever you want or need it.
Scalability. As your business grows, your available space on the cloud grows with it. There is no need for additional investment.
The Cloud Is Green. Utilizing the cloud for your hardware and software is environmentally friendly to your company's geographical location.
Cons of Using Cloud Computing
Like any tools, cloud computing comes with its own set of problems and limitations. You are trusting your data to a service and hardware that you have little or no control over. This is of concern to some users, especially when it is regarding the area of protecting data security. It will be of benefit to you to fully investigate your cloud provider thoroughly, in order to know who you are dealing with is a safe and reliable service.
Getting in bed with a cloud provider for a long period can cause problems down the road, if you want to switch providers or go back in house, for any reason. It can be a chore and onerous process to transfer huge amounts of data from one set of servers to another.
While outages and downtime are less likely with cloud computing, they have happened. So one of the criteria you should use for deciding on who to go with needs to be their reliability and guarantees of uptime and repairs in case of an outage.
Apps on the Cloud
Utilizing Google Business Apps on the cloud can be a huge cost savings to your company, eliminating the need to purchase site license or individual user software, and expending more money for upgrades as they become available. Whereas packaged software might issue an upgrade every year or two, Google Apps, in the cloud, are updated and improved continuously, transparently, 24/7.
Google's Business Apps for business include email, calendars, storage, documents and more. The apps work together seamlessly, and are available wherever your employees have access to the interest and on whatever device your employees chose to use remotely: smart phones, tablets, or laptops. Most Google Business Apps provide your employees with the ability to collaborate, thereby creating living/breathing docs and other tools that can be updated on the fly.
Getting Help with the Cloud and Apps
Switching to the cloud and Google Business Apps is not complicated or time consuming. Coolhead Tech in Austin can handle it all for you, nearly immediately after your first inquiry. The professionals at Coolhead will work with you to uncover your needs and wants and make recommendations on how to turn your wish list into a technological reality.