Cloud Computing Basics: Getting to Know the Cloud
The allure of cloud technology grows every day. So much so, that businesses are choosing to uproot their entire systems and throw out their old hardware. All in the name of the cloud. What makes the cloud so special that businesses are willing to disrupt their operations to make the switch?
Let’s get to the bottom of what the cloud really is and why it’s so appealing to so many organizations in this cloud computing basics blog.
What is the Cloud?
In simple terms, the cloud is the use of the internet to store, maintain, and access servers offsite. You may be wondering how offsite servers are any different than onsite servers. Honestly, they aren’t. What makes the cloud so significant is the opportunity for economies of scale in even the smallest of businesses.
You see, when you purchase “the cloud” from cloud service providers, you’ll often be buying from companies such as Google, Microsoft, Amazon, IBM, and more. These companies not only purchase, store, and maintain the infrastructure required to run the cloud, but they also offer enterprise-level capabilities. These types of tools require vast resources that many businesses wouldn’t normally be able to afford or take advantage of.
Organizations can leverage these powerful tools and capabilities while saving money. They can store data without the need to maintain in-house servers or a server room. They can connect to the cloud via the internet and use secure connections to move data to and from the cloud.
Experts even believe that in-house server rooms will be obsolete in five years, so ready or not, the cloud is here to stay.
Why Go to the Cloud?
We already discussed how businesses can use the cloud to take advantage of economies of scale, gaining access to enterprise-level tools and capabilities, but what are the other benefits of moving to the cloud?
Cloud services are incredibly scalable and flexible. You can build and deploy new products and apps much quicker in the cloud, and capacity is unlimited. Any seasonality or increases in traffic are easily handled in the cloud without having to make substantial investments for new hardware such as a server. You’re able to adapt your cloud offerings as your business changes seamlessly.
Arguably the top reason to switch to the cloud is disaster recovery. With set backups and replications, organizations can consistently protect their data. Any fear of ransomware or data loss is gone. Businesses that use the cloud are safe from any type of disaster- natural, cyber, or human error. What a relief.
The cloud makes it easier than ever to share information and collaborate. Because the cloud utilizes the internet, employees can access and work on projects at the same time- even from different locations. Silos can be broken down, and teams from different cities, states, or even countries can work together.
Work from Anywhere
With cloud technology, all you need is an internet connection. That means employees can access systems and data to work from anywhere. Any device, any time- it’s there. And this is all done through secure connections that encrypt and protect your files.
By migrating to the cloud, you gain access to industry-leading data centers to house your data. These centers have cutting edge security practices and measures that are impossible for individual companies to have on their own.
Top Cloud Providers
So, sure, the cloud sounds great. But there are so many cloud service providers out there, how does a business know who to choose?
Here are three of the most reliable cloud providers that offer customers enhanced security, collaboration, and features.
Microsoft’s cloud platform, Microsoft Azure, is a powerful service that offers customers access to their public cloud. Azure provides a variety of features and offers its customers an easy hybrid cloud option. With a hybrid cloud, businesses can utilize their existing infrastructure with their cloud services. Microsoft Azure also integrates seamlessly with Microsoft systems already in use.
Google Cloud Platform is another leading cloud provider that focuses heavily on AI and data analytics. This attention to innovation has earned them many big-name clients such as Target, Twitter, and PayPal. They are also in the process of expanding their infrastructure using groundbreaking subsea cables.
Amazon is the largest cloud provider in the world with its cloud platform, AWS. AWS boasts the largest number of data centers, along with the most available features- although not by far. Their long-running history has earned them a reputation for reliable, secure service, and they continue to earn many new customers.
Misconceptions About the Cloud
Now, with all of the cloud-hype comes a few misconceptions. You probably have heard some yourself. So, are these rumors true? Let’s discuss this.
The number one concern for moving to the cloud for most businesses is security. People often fear that since their data is not onsite and they can’t physically see or protect their servers that their information is less safe. However, rest assured that this fear is unfounded.
For example, all three of the cloud providers above include robust data centers that have hundreds of people working around the clock to protect your data. There are state of the art digital and physical safeguards in place, and because they are such large companies, they can afford the best security measures money can buy.
And beyond that, cybersecurity rests more on how your systems are configured than on where your data is stored. As long as your network is built with security in mind, the cloud actually offers improved protection. Most experts agree that your information is much safer in the cloud than it would be on an in-house server.
Another common misunderstanding surrounding cloud technology is the price. Many worry that the cloud must be insanely expensive, especially after hearing the many benefits. However, this is not true. The cloud is surprisingly affordable, even for small to midsize businesses.
Maintaining a server room is far more expensive than moving to the cloud. Having in-house servers are costly to purchase and maintain, and they will need to be replaced entirely every few years. On top of that, the electricity costs required to power and cool servers and server rooms add up. With the cloud, you can count on your monthly subscription costs without the price of purchasing, maintaining, or powering any hardware.
Reasons to Not Go to the Cloud
We’ve discussed the benefits and misconceptions of the cloud, but are there reasons why a business should not migrate to the cloud? Truthfully, yes. The cloud is not always for everyone, and here are some reasons why:
Speed is a significant consideration for businesses. If you have some software or database that requires a ridiculous amount of horsepower that is above average for businesses, the cloud may not be able to meet your need for speed. Fortunately, cloud providers allow you to test their capabilities before you migrate everything to ensure that it works for you. That being said, most businesses notice no drop in speed in cloud computing.
Government contractors and some other organizations have very strong limitations and restrictions on what you can and cannot put on the cloud. Therefore, it’s best to be familiar with your organization’s legal limits before moving to the cloud. Every case is unique.
Cloud Computing Basics Explained
So there you have it, the basics of cloud computing. Now you can feel confident in knowing what the cloud is, why businesses are choosing to migrate, and what limitations it has.
To learn even more about cloud technology and moving to the cloud, you can watch our Executech cloud course here. It will dive even deeper into the different offerings of the cloud and how your organization can make a smooth transition.