The cloud. What do you know about the cloud and the effect it has had on the speed and efficacy of computing today?
Most people have heard about the negatives: the lack of security and reliability. If we listened to negative reports, though, would we ever leave our homes?
But we do leave our homes, because our own experiences tell us the reports are often exaggerated. The same is true with cloud computing. Today, the Internet’s backbone has never been more secure for the commerce conducted along it. Additionally, network speeds continue to improve and thereby reducing the latency users experience.
So, what is the cloud?
Cloud computing services provide business applications online, which are accessed from a web browser rather than from software loaded directly onto your computer. The shift from having the software loaded onto your computer to utilizing it in the cloud enables companies to react more quickly to environmental and market changes at lower costs than the traditional method of acquiring and using software.
The expression “the cloud” is shorthand for saying the software remains on the vendor’s computer network. For example, most income tax preparation software available now is sold and used in the cloud. We no longer go down to the office supply store and buy the latest version of our favorite tax prep software, take it home, then load it on our home computers. With our credit cards next to us, we go to the tax prep software’s webpage, click the mouse a few times, enter our credit card information, then wait a few seconds before being led through the 1040. The software and the information we enter resides on the software company’s computers before being uploaded to the IRS and our states’ revenue departments. Within 21 days, our federal and state tax returns are automatically deposited into the accounts of our choice and we’re done for another year.
Using business applications in the cloud is just as easy. The cloud allows for seamless updates to software, which gives your clients uninterrupted access to you. Cloud computing puts a team of experts at your service for a fraction of the cost, which allows your IT staff to focus on more important projects. Unlike traditional software, using software in the cloud allows you to customize the software for your unique needs and changing circumstances. Simply put, cloud computing makes your office leaner and more flexible at a much lower cost.