What is Cloud Computing?

Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is simply the act of accessing a computer or computing resources (think processing power or hard drive space) over the internet. In the Cloud, the computing resources you are accessing are located somewhere else in the world, rather than being held on a physical server onsite.

Let start with some practical examples.

If you are accessing a website such as a social network or online banking, you are accessing the servers of the social network or bank. You are using your phone or computer to access it but the computing as actually at their end and not on your device.

Another example is something like One Drive or DropBox. These cloud storage services allow you to store data such as your documents, photos and videos onto a server (in the cloud) that can be accessed from anywhere on any device and at any time. They are not on your device but the server in the ‘cloud’ which basically means internet connected.

Is Cloud Computing New Technology?

We’ve been accessing remote computing resources for years before the term ‘cloud computing’ came along, so why now is it such a big deal?

The answer is very simple, advances in technology have made using and sharing computing resources much more accessible and affordable for businesses. Previously, you would’ve had to buy the computing resource (expensive servers) and then house it somewhere secure with a constant and reliable internet connection (datacentre) to then access it remotely.

Today you can get access to the same quality of computing resources and pay as you go without owning any computing hardware.
This technology is called virtualisation allowing you to share the computing resources of one server amongst many people, safely and securely.

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How does Cloud Computing benefit my business?

Cloud Computing has become a revolutionary technology due to its capabilities to support Remote Working and boost communication &  productivity within your team.

Operating in the cloud allows your business to be flexible around your employees, allowing you to offer work-from-home and hybrid working with ease. In addition, sharing documents both internally and externally is transformed with the cloud,  allowing for editing of documents in real-time, quick sharing with the click of a button and auto-saving so you’ll never lose work again.

How much does Cloud Computing Cost?

Microsoft Azure, which is the world’s largest cloud computing provider has championed a new pricing model, allowing businesses to only pay for what they use for, and build a set-up that is unique to your organisation. You’re able to pay monthly and only for the resources you are using, meaning no upfront costs and lower CAPEX.

You can use this pricing calculator provided by Microsoft to get an idea of how much Cloud Computing will cost you here.

This pricing model is now very popular, and being adopted by other cloud services for its flexibility and easy budgeting.

Potential Concerns

As with anything new, when cloud computing first became adopted,  many were understandably concerned with where their data was being stored, who had access to the data and how secure their data would be in the cloud. To those who worry about these factors, our advice would be to use a reputable and trustworthy cloud provider (such as Microsoft Azure) that takes a layered security approach when handling your cloud data. In addition, we suggest onboarding your cloud servers with an IT partner who will be on hand should you experience any downtime or IT issues.

Additionally, some business owners prefer being able to physically see the server and know that they are in control of it. Luckily, providers such as Microsoft Azure has many resources to put your mind at ease, and tells you exactly where your data is being stored across one of its 200+ data centres worldwide.