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Cloud computing is computing thats based online. Rather than running programmes from software downloaded on a physical computer, or saving files and documenst to your computer, cloud computing allows you to access everything via the internet.

It’s an IT solution that is becoming increasingly popular amongst business. So what is it that makes the cloud such an attractive move for businesses? It’s because cloud computing significantly increases the efficiency of businesses and also helps to improve cash flow. The benefits of cloud computing don’s stop there though!

The three main types of cloud computing services

IaaS (Infrastructure as a service) – This provides computer hardware such as network equipment, servers and storage on a scalable basis in the cloud. One of the most popular uses of IaaS is for cloud based disaster recovery. The benefits of IaaS are quite comprehensive, not only do they allow businesses to create cost effective and scalable IT solutions, but they also eliminate the expenses of managing the hardware. The scalability of this service is very appealing for businesses as it allows them to expand without having to purchase, install and manage hardware themselves.

PaaS (Platform as a service) – PaaS creates an application development environment that allows users to collaborate, develop, test and deploy various applications in the cloud. PaaS is commonly used for the development of enterprise level software. PaaS offers developers a plethora of benefits, the biggest one being that they don’t have to invest in a physical infrastructure, leaving them free to focus on the development of applications. PaaS also makes web installations and application development a less complex process for the less experienced. One click software installations such as WordPress and Drupal are a great example of this.

SaaS (Software as a service) – This provides businesses with access to various software and applications. From anywhere in the world that has an internet connection, users can have full access to software that is hosted in the cloud. The introduction of this has revolutionsed the way in which businesses and their employees collaborate. The best example of SaaS is Google Docs or Gmail. For example, Google Docs allows you to share and edit Microsoft Office documents without having the software installed on your PC. This is just one of the reasons why cloud computing is such a cost effective choice for businesses and organisations.

6 key benefits of cloud computing

1) Disaster Recovery

When businesses start utilising cloud based services, they eliminate the need for complex disaster recovery plans. The reason why cloud computing eliminates the need or disaster recovery plans is because it’s all based on virtualisation. With virtualisation, the server, operating systems, applications and any patches of data are encapsulated with one software bundle or virtual server. What makes this so beneficial is that the entire virtual server can be duplicated or backed up to an off-site data centre or spun up on a virtual host within the space of ten minutes.

2) Security

Security within IT architecture is pretty much a form of risk management. Cloud computing allows millions of security nodes to link together, resulting in better detection of new threats. |One of the largest threats to IT security derives from data breach or corruption. Cloud computing eliminates these threats by utilising centrally stored data with top quality automated network analysis and protection.

For example, over 800,000 laptops are lost every year in airports. This can have significant financial implications, but when documents and data are stored in the cloud, they can be accessed regardless of what happens to a machine.

3) Scalability

The minute a business requires more bandwidth than usual, a cloud based service can instantly meet the demand because of the sheer capacity of its remote servers. Having this much flexibility is hugely beneficial to small businesses who have a lack of resource and physical storage. It’s also a cost effective way to upscale or downscale your IT requirements as and when you need to. The scalability that cloud computing provides will allow you to support the growth of your business without taking expensive risks!

4) Improved collaboration

Cloud computing has completely revolutionised the way in whcih people share documents, applications and data. From any location that has an internet connection, employees can collaborate securely in real time. There are some cloud based applications that even allow employees to manage contacts, host online meetings, and manage projects all from one dashboard.

As an example of cloud based computing is Google apps; this allows you to upload and share documents from all of the popular Microsoft Office packages. It goes without saying that cloud computing significantly increases the productivity of business.

5) Automatic updates

The majority of cloud service providers include automatic updates within their service fees. Depending on whom your cloud computing service provider is, your systems will be updated regularly with the newest technologies. This eliminates the worry of buying, installing and updating software – thus freeing up more time for you to concentrate on other aspects of your business. Not only will this save you a great deal of hassle but it will also prevent hackers from exploiting out of data software.

6) Efficiency

Onsite downtime has a serious impact on employee productivity levels. This can also have a negative impact on the business and place a lot of stress on employees and management. Cloud computing allows employees to work remotely and at any time. For example, if employees are unable to get into the office due to adverse weather conditions, they can work from home and access documents and software via cloud based services.

Want to adopt a cloud strategy for your organisation.

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