What are cloud solutions and why consider it now? The days of downloading software are reaching their natural end. They’ve lived a long, useful life, but it’s time to say goodbye and reach for the clouds, or more specifically, “the Cloud.” The elusive, intangible place where data is stored and processes magically happen. It still feels uncomfortable to some because it seems distant and intangible, but if you think about it, technically we’ve been using “cloud services” for decades, i.e. electricity. You plug into an outlet and get whatever electrical power you require. You never worry about system upgrades, maintenance or infrastructure costs. You take what you need and pay for what you need. In recent years, it appears that the “cloud” concept has finally arrived for IT systems.
The cloud is actually just a term for a system of remote servers that allow software programs to run and store information remotely so that internal server maintenance is no longer necessary. While people still adjust to the idea of the cloud, it really is an easy yes, and for many reasons.
- Flexibility – One size fits all is a thing of the past. With cloud computing, businesses are able to obtain different levels of services based on specific needs. That means that you pay for the amount of service that you need, you aren’t saddled with software and bells and whistles that you aren’t going to use. Many cloud-based services are contract-free, subscription-based services that allow users to cancel their service if necessary and start back up again when the time is right.
- Mobility – You can access your information anywhere. This is essential for industries that require field workers, facilities manager and people, who because of the demands of their position, cannot physically be in front of a computer at times. With portal login, users can access essential data on a data-enabled mobile device (such as a tablet). Add to that the prevalence of native apps that can store data directly on devices.
- Security – Cloud solutions or “computing” is essentially a network of servers that are combined. There are multiple fail-safes and reassurances that once your information is stored in the cloud it will be retrievable until you remove it and delete it. Data is also secure, and there is version control with the ability to access a previous revision to see how files have changed over time.
- Automatic Updates – Remember the old days when you had to jump through hoops to get the latest software downloads to access new features. Not only did you have to purchase a new license of the updated version, but you had to back up your data, install the new version, reload your data, and then learn the new features. Consider that process obsolete with cloud services. Software automatically updates and you’re alerted to the new features upon release.
As a security or IT professional, now is the time to consider how cloud solutions are impacting your industry and what new opportunities there are to leverage new apps and the cloud.
Being successful at business is all about competitive advantages. If you’re working faster, giving your team more access and flexibility, and saving money, switching away from traditional software is a no-brainer. In fact, if you haven’t already, you’re behind the curve.