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Posts Tagged ‘cloud computing’

Hurricane Sandy, Japan’s Tsunami, Black Saturday and Cyclone Yasi were all powerful forces of nature that left a trail of destruction in their paths.  The clean-up lasts for months afterwards.  Like me, you’ve probably watched footage of the poor people as they sort through the wreckage of their worlds trying to find something recognisable to cling to.

The physical clean-up is only one part of the recovery process and as people start to get back to “normal” they also get back to their old jobs.

What happens to a business after a disaster of such magnitude?  It isn’t just the property and stock that is lost.  What about all the client records and financial details?  What about their tax records?  Just think of all that paperwork that will be very difficult to recover.

How would your business survive?

In the past we have posted about cloud computing and why it is good for business.  We have shown you some ideas for going paperless and for online task management systems.  Using these kinds of systems means that your information will still be available to you even if your workplace burns to the ground.

Disasters like Hurricane Sandy remind us of the importance of backing up all your essential business records and that includes the files on your computer.

Carbonite, Mozy and BackBlaze are all systems which will allow you to store your files and photos on the cloud.  If you have ever struggled to retrieve items from a crashed computer you will know how valuable a good backup service can be.

You might be lucky enough never to need any of these forms of backup but why take the risk?  How long would it take your business to recover if you lost all your data?

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Often the traditional business model for the computing and networking aspect of a business can be quite complicated and expensive.  Setting up business networks can be very pricey due to the cost of equipment purchases, maintenance of the network, purchase and upgrades of programs and software as well as the need to have an IT department.  Even a computer at home has similar issues as you need to purchase the software and programs, incur additional costs due to larger hard drives to store files and data as well as the need to back up this information.  Most cloud computing organisations may charge per transaction, per user or a fee per month but this avoids what can be a large upfront cost to purchase the software and programs.

In addition, and depending on your requirements, maintaining the traditional in-house computing model also requires security issues to be managed properly.  In some cases this can be relatively simple but in other cases where you are maintaining confidential and personal information, the level of complexity increases as does the time and cost to manage the information.  With cloud computing the hosting organisation manages this responsibility.

Flexibility with being able to access the cloud is a major benefit of cloud computing as this can be done from anywhere there is access to the internet and devices such as mobile phones, iPads and laptops can be used.  This also means greater flexibility with staff as they can access information remotely and at any time of the day, even while conducting sales meetings at the customer’s office.

Another benefit is that the software and programs are managed by the hosting organisation in the cloud so they are responsible for managing the upgrades.  If this was done in-house then quite often there is a significant upfront cost to purchase the software and then each computer needs to be configured to access the software.

If you are revisiting your computing setup it might be a good time to look at cloud computing as an alternative.

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To help get an understanding of cloud computing let’s have a look at a traditional computer set up.  Currently you are most likely to have a hard drive on your desktop computer or connected via a network at the organisation you may work at.  These internal networks will have the entire technical infrastructure such as cabling, routers, network hard drives as well the programs, software, data and files that you need to access and use.  For example, when you use an accounting system the software is installed on the hard drive of the network that you can log into and process your transactions.

In effect, cloud computing is replacing most of the internal IT infrastructure and hard drives with the internet so all the programs, software, data and files are stored and accessed via the internet.  Importantly, cloud computing also allows you to control who will have access to your files.  For example, Google is an example of a public cloud.  Google has huge banks of hard drives and servers that store the information that people can access when they do a search.  Alternatively, you can set up a private cloud whereby you can control and limit who can access your information.

One important benefit of cloud computing is that you can easily access information from anywhere a computer can connect to the internet.  This is done via simply logging in to the program or service you want to access.

In a lot of cases it can be easy and relatively inexpensive to move to the cloud.  Even now most people are already utilising cloud computing through the use of email accounts such as Gmail where your emails are stored in the cloud.  Furthermore, a lot of organisations are offering low cost applications such as customer relationship management, project management and accounting systems that are easy to use.

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