It may still be seen as a new platform, but cloud computing is certainly causing a stir as everyone battles to unlock its potential. Although there has been a big rise in both providers and users there is still much confusion surrounding just how best to utilize it. In basic terms cloud computing provides virtual services, such as storage and spam filters through to full blown IT applications via a third party provider, essentially helping to increase a business’s capabilities without the need to invest in the more traditional and expensive solutions.
It is this lack of investment that has got many excited about integrating cloud computing into their everyday IT needs. The ability to literally ‘plug-in’ to services, applications and software without the need to develop or even understand them is very attractive and many see it as offering the potential to expand their virtual presence in a way that was never before possible.
Traditionally a small business looking to expand would need to invest in the necessary infrastructure required, they would then probably need to employ or hire IT professionals to implement and maintain it as well as paying out for subscription charges or other payments for the services they need. Cloud computing offers businesses the chance to change this, allowing them the opportunity to expand by implementing the virtual services they need without increasing their physical presence.
More than this however, cloud computing can provide businesses with the opportunity to expand their virtual presence on both mobile and desktop devices, helping them to access more customers than ever before whilst allowing them to implement solutions to help them work more effectively and to expand their operations quickly, efficiently and with minimal investment. With what looks like a win win situation then, why, according to some sources, is the uptake so slow?
One reason could be confusion about the provision of cloud computing services and finding a reliable and secure provider. Cloud computing services are traditionally delivered through a shared data center which can be accessed via the internet by any number of users. All data and software is stored on secure servers which does make it as secure if not more so than traditional in-house IT solutions because providers can invest considerably more resources in data security then many small businesses can.
The major players are queuing up to provide cloud computing services and some of the world’s biggest names are already turning to it for some of their IT needs. As the world becomes ever more reliant on the internet for its everyday needs cloud computing has the potential to revolutionize small business in a way which is both practical and efficient.
Written by Georgina Clatworthy, a freelance author who writes extensively on tech and business issues.
Image: Silicon Angle