Explaining the Cloud

Often, confusion abounds when tech service providers try to explain just what the cloud is—and more importantly, why it is so important to the future of your business. There are fears about security that persist as well, creating hesitation in the market which can hinder the progress of more efficient, cost-effective IT solutions.

Below, we will arm you with information you need to decide if a cloud-based solution is right for you.

Simply put, “the cloud” refers to a type of computing that is not done locally on your desktop, servers, or small devices (phones, tablets, etc.). That’s it—no mystique, no complication.

So now you know what the cloud is, but let’s take a step further and clarify how the cloud actually works. When users access the cloud, computing resources such as processing power, memory, and storage are handled offsite at data centers that you connect to remotely from your local computer. These data centers are usually massive in size and scale, with an infrastructure capable of offering computing resources far beyond those that can be achieved on a local machine for a comparable price. This helps you to reduce costs while having access to a greater range of services and resources. In the cloud, resources are shared by all cloud users so to meet the demand of users at specific times and locations. For example, business hours in Asia, Europe and North America all occur at different times around the globe – but a data center can allocate specific resources at their respective times to meet the demand of multiple users.

Cloud computing is more efficient than on-prem computing and it can save money for your business. And that’s not even including the time and salary required to hire dedicated inhouse IT technicians to manage the more unwieldy aspects of your computer network.

Another piece of the cloud computing puzzle that is so exciting is that the industry has changed from on-site, physical hardware to a service-based platform model. To this end, the cloud is referred to by some as “on-demand computing,” because the end user only uses the computing resources they need for the time they need it, and only pays for what they use.

This varies significantly from the more traditional model of computing, where an organization would buy all the dedicated hardware they ever would need to perform any and all functions they will ever need, and pay to support, repair, replace, and augment these systems consistently and endlessly.

This is a real value for you, as you pay for only what you use without the worry of buying and managing complex physical computer system…sounds like a very good deal.

Finally, it’s important you to understand how and why cloud computing is specifically important to managed IT services, because this is a major differentiator from the common break/fix IT provider. On-demand computing has given rise to multiple “-as-a-service” themed models for cloud computing IT businesses, most notably Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)—all of which deliver fundamental cloud computing capabilities to their customers for a fee. This shift to service-based computing is growing fast due to high computing power and performance, low cost of delivery, and the ability to rapidly scale to meet demand. Cloud vendors are growing, but it also appears that their clients are growing as well.

A recent report shows that companies that take advantage of cloud and similar IT technologies have a much higher growth rate than their competitors. Moving to the cloud literally enables a business to perform better and more profitably, according to this study, and they can expect to see tangible profit and growth from their decision.

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