The cloud. Despite steadily becoming less of a mystery, the cloud continues to retain much of its enigma with many business owners still unsure of its true value. Yet, if you believe the hype, cloud-based technology is the future of computing. So what is the cloud? Is it secure? And is it really all it’s cracked up to be?
The cloud: what is it?
Cloud computing, also known as ‘on-demand computing,’ is the use of remote, internet-accessed servers for on-demand services, such as data storage and apps. This means that rather than relying on local software, hardware and infrastructure, an online service provides your IT resources – you just need access to a web browser.
Although there remain cynics as to the security and worth of on-demand computing, the chances are that those same individuals are already regularly accessing and benefitting from cloud computing.
Any time you use an app such as ExpenseIn for your online expense management, read a new Facebook message, use your Gmail email, or check your bank balance online, you are accessing remote servers, relying on a cloud-based platform to interact with the data held there. It is estimated that 90% of UK businesses employ at least one cloud-based service.
Is the cloud secure?
Concerns over the security of having sensitive or valuable information stored in the cloud is for many businesses one of the main barriers to switching over to on-demand computing, and it is true that the security level of cloud-based services will vary from provider to provider. Yet well over 90% of organisations experience improved security from moving over to a cloud-based service.
This boost to security is the result of a number of factors, such as the greater computing expertise and complex infrastructure offered by cloud specialists, the most advanced encryption methods, ongoing review and upgrades of software and services and, in short, a more extensive suite of security systems and risk mitigations that most locally based systems could ever hope to provide.
Is it really the future?
The advantages of cloud computing over alternative methods of storing and accessing information are so rich and varied that it is very difficult to deny them. For businesses, cloud technology is a godsend that moves them away from a reliance on paper methods of record-keeping, improves security and allows for a much more efficient set of practices, from expense management to project collaboration. For individuals, cloud computing represents a quick and reliable way to manage their accounts, files and contacts.