Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Cloud Computing - What Do You Need To Know?


You might have thought that cloud computing would never catch on, but it's definitely here to stay. Latest market forecasts are predicting a 30% annual growth for the industry, so if you haven't paid attention before, now's the time to start.

People all over the world are flocking to use technology to store data in a virtual space, but cloud computing isn't just for data. You can also use it to run applications and software remotely, so you don't need to be chained to your office PC.

If you're a small business that needs more IT expertise than your current employees can provide then outsourcing your IT to a cloud company could be the ideal solution. It might be slightly more expensive than hiring an in-house IT expert, but the pros definitely outweigh the cons. Cloud services will increase your efficiency and mean that your small business can take a "big business approach" to any issues you face.

Are there different types of cloud service?

Put simply, yes, there are three levels of cloud service.

First level: Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS).
It provides virtual hardware such as computers, storage software platforms etc. This means that your employees can access everything they need via the internet, rather than being office based.

Second level: Platform as a Service (PaaS).
It provides all the resources a small business would need to create its own software and programmes. This will usually include an operating system, programming environment, database and web server. Useful if you're looking to reduce costs.

Third level: Software as a Service (SaaS).
This provides you with programmes and software that are ready to go. You can run them remotely, there are no lengthy installation times and no concerns about whether your hardware will cope.

What could go wrong?

Nothing is risk free and here are some of the potential pitfalls explained.

Data security
This is the most obvious concern that most people have, but in most cases, if you use a reputable supplier, your data is safe. When you combine a specialist cloud provider with an in-house expert your security will be better than most small businesses can normally manage.

Information control
Your information is stored on someone else's computer, and you'll have no idea where that is. You should be aware of all the contractual terms of your cloud supplier to make sure you comply with your legal, contractual and moral obligations.

Flexibility
At the moment it isn't possible to "pick and mix" cloud services like you would with internet providers. You could find it difficult to change cloud services and if you use more than one cloud service it could be hard to make them work together.

How do I choose a provider?

Ask yourself these three quick questions:
  1. Is the provider stable, trustworthy and have a good reputation to lose?
  2. Do the conditions of the contract work for your business?
  3. Will this provider really benefit your business?
Trust your instincts, finding the right IT support is tricky whether you're in London or Lewes. Be sure to look before you leap, but don't be afraid to take the plunge.



Author Bio:
Rob Rudd enjoys his job as a writer and regularly contributes to several IT and technology blogs. When he isn't writing he enjoys learning to play the ukulele.

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