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What is Cloud Computing?

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The term “cloud computing” is everywhere. Using the Cloud is internet/web-based computing in which large groups of remote servers are networked to allow sharing of data-processing tasks, centralised data storage, and online access to computer services or resources.

In the simplest terms, cloud computing means storing and accessing data and programs over the Internet instead of your computer’s hard drive

Why use the cloud?

Cloud computing can provide users with a number of different benefits:

There are a number of reasons why cloud computing is so widely used among businesses today.

Reduction of costs – unlike on-site hosting the price of deploying applications in the cloud can be less due to lower hardware costs from more effective use of physical resources and allows companies to avoid upfront infrastructure costs and focus on projects that differentiate their businesses instead of on infrastructure. In cloud computing, small businesses can access resources and expand or shrink services as business needs change. Cloud providers typically use a “pay as you go” model designed to let SME’s easily add or remove services and typically will only pay for what you do use.

Universal access – cloud computing can allow remotely located employees to access applications and work via the internet. Companies can get their applications up and running faster, with improved manageability and less maintenance. This enables IT to more rapidly adjust resources to meet fluctuating and unpredictable business demand.

Up to date software – a cloud provider will also be able to upgrade software with minimum business disruption.

Choice of applications – This allows flexibility for cloud users to experiment and choose the best option for their needs. Cloud computing also allows a business to use, access and pay only for what they use, with a fast implementation time

Potential to be greener and more economical – the average amount of energy needed for a computational action carried out in the cloud is far less than the average amount for an on-site deployment. This is because different organisations can share the same physical resources securely, leading to more efficient use of the shared resources.

Flexibility – cloud computing allows users to switch applications easily and rapidly, using the one that suits their needs best.

We see that only one in five small to medium sized organisations are using cloud based business and finance software, yet the argument for cloud technology is clear. 78% of SMEs using cloud solutions are operating at above industry norms, with a huge 68% of them rating their efficiency as good to very good.

 

Unlike desktop software which requires manual upgrades, regular backups and pricey consultants to link different solutions together, when you have a cloud based solution in place the solution provider deals with upgrades, backups and product integrations. You will therefore always be on the latest version of a cloud based solution, as upgrades are added in small iterative steps and integrated products can be accessed via an online app store. Making the move to cloud software is much less disruptive to your business than you may presume. As there is no installation – you simply sign up and login, you can then access from any online device with no need for your own expensive servers.

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