- What is the cloud?
- Where is the cloud?
- Are we in the cloud now?
- Should we be in the cloud?
These are all questions you’ve probably heard or even asked yourself. The term “cloud computing” is everywhere.
In the simplest terms, cloud computing means storing and accessing data and programs over the Internet instead of on your computer’s hard drive. The cloud is just a metaphor for the Internet. It goes back to the days of flowcharts and presentations that would represent the gigantic server-farm infrastructure of the Internet as nothing but a puffy, white cumulus cloud, accepting connections and doling out information as it floats.
What cloud computing is not about is your hard drive. When you store data on or run programs from the hard drive, that’s called local storage and computing.
For it to be considered “cloud computing,” you need to access your data or your programs over the Internet, or at the very least, have that data synced with other information over the Web. In a big business, you may know all there is to know about what’s on the other side of the connection; as an individual user, you may never have any idea what kind of massive data processing is happening on the other end. The end result is the same: with an online connection, cloud computing can be done anywhere, anytime.
We’re talking about cloud computing as it impacts individual consumers—those of us who sit back at home or in small-to-medium offices and use the Internet on a regular basis.
The four most common packages are:
- IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service)
- PaaS (Platform as a Service)
- SaaS (Software as a Service)
This is when all of your hardware is physical and within your building using a LAN (Local Area Network).
For some businesses they want to “dip-a-toe” into cloud computing but want to keep control of the business application and software. So the behind the scenes infrastructure (servers) are in the cloud but the end-user installs their own software on top and run the business as they would if On-Premises. The advantage of being Infrastructure as a Service is that if there was a business disruption (power-cut, fire, building evacuation) the user can continue to work remotely.
Very similar to Infrastructure as a Service, but taking it one step further where the end-user puts more emphasis on cloud computing by using hosted infrastructures for servers as well as using some hosted applications. So basically everything you need apart from any desktop applications.
Example: Office 365 Exchange Online Plan 1 – Your emails are hosted in the cloud and you can access through a browser but you don’t have the desktop software (Outlook or similar) to complete the cycle.
This is EVERYHTING in the cloud and you simply use any device and access your applications and data through a browser.
If there’s a disaster, you need to be prepared. Cloud computing offers that peace of mind when it comes to your data. As the servers are off-site and protected, all the data stored by you on the cloud is kept safe and can be recovered after the disaster.
If you’re thinking the cloud is great and want to know if you can fit in the fluffy white cloud, contact us and we’ll help take you through the journey. We’re not saying that the cloud is the right fit for every business, but we can give you an honest assessment of whether your business is cloud ready or more suited to on-premises services.