“Cloud computing” is a major buzzword, and while you may know that it could be a great benefit to your business, you may not be entirely clear on what cloud computing is. Like most jargon, the actual meaning of this term can be a little fuzzy. What is this “cloud” and what can it do for you?
To put it simply, “the cloud” really just means “the Internet”. The image has been a staple in networking diagrams for years, and it has a nice ring to it for marketing. “Cloud computing” is a fancy way of saying that you’re accessing your data over the Internet instead of keeping all your programs and files on your computer’s local hard drive. But why would you want to do that?
Businesses have been using “dumb terminals” for years. These workstations are all connected to a central computer which stores all the data, files, and programs each workstation needs. Cloud computing is basically the same thing on a larger scale. This means that you can access your programs and data from anywhere with an Internet connection, which leads to increased productivity and fewer delays, especially for a smaller business.
Cloud computing isn’t an all-or-nothing proposition, though. There’s a whole world of Web-based applications that can make your life easier. We’re all familiar with Web-based email such as Yahoo and Gmail – that’s just the start. Dropbox stores your data online and synchronizes files on your local hard drive. Google Drive, which is available on computers, tablets, and smartphones, has all the apps and storage online; Apple iCloud provides online storage of your mail, calendar, contacts, etc.
Cloud computing can simplify many aspects of your business and reduce your total costs. For small to medium businesses, the ease of access alone can make a big difference in productivity. If you want your business to run more smoothly and efficiently, look into some of the many Web-based services that could streamline your daily operations.