These days, if a business is not utilizing the Cloud in some way, there is a good chance they are missing out on opportunities – in the worst case scenarios, it can cause a business to fall behind their competitors.
In the last few years, the Cloud has become one of the most game-changing technology solutions in the IT world, and in business altogether. It has made its way into many different aspects of our lives. For example, most mobile smart phones have options for Cloud storage for apps, photos and other media the user may wish to store. Web-based email services is also Cloud-based, and is the reason you can check your emails on your phone. Additionally, social networking – e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. – all utilize Cloud technology.
TechQuarters, a London IT support company based in the UK, has been working with and using the Cloud for the better part of a decade. They told us that the reason Cloud technology is so popular and so successful is because it can deliver all kinds of services to end users without the need for powerful computers or servers at the endpoint. These days, even applications can be hosted in the Cloud and streamed to computers as if they were installed on them.
What is the Cloud?
The Cloud refers to any virtual pool that is hosted across a network; multiple servers or even multiple datacenters work together to create logical pools known as Clouds – these logical pools are centralized, meaning that it occupies one location on a network, even though the hardware that supports it might be spread across multiple physical locations.
The way it works is that all the hardware needed to build a Cloud is assembled – this includes servers, storage arrays, wi-fi routers, firewalls, etc. When the hardware is setup, software called a hypervisor is installed – the hypervisor then virtualizes the software, which is the process that makes it accessible by users in different locations.
There are 2 main types of Cloud: Public and Private.
With a Private Cloud, all the hardware and infrastructure described above would be located on the site of the organization that was using it. The benefits of a Private Cloud include low-latency, better performance (as it is private, so you’re not sharing power or storage), and better physical IT security, as the organization can supervise the infrastructure constantly.
With a Public Cloud, the infrastructure is may be spread across the world, in datacenters owned and managed by the Cloud service provider. Examples of Public Cloud services would be Microsoft Azure or Google Cloud – Azure is the Cloud service that TechQuarters recommends, as they use it and regularly onboard their customers to it as part of their managed IT support services. The benefit of Public Clouds is that they are much cheaper (no need to build your own infrastructure), and as such they are much more scalable – the infrastructure is already there, so if you want to increase usage, you simply pay a bit more for your subscription.
How can the Cloud help your business?
There are a range of benefits for a business using the Cloud, some of which can be seen almost immediately, and other benefits that will reveal themselves over time. To start with, using the Cloud in a business context can increase productivity greatly – but how?
When a business is using a Cloud infrastructure, it means that all their data and perhaps even the essential apps that their workers use are stored in the Cloud – this of course means that those users can access the data and apps from anywhere in the world, so long as they are connected to the internet. Removing this barrier to work means even if they’re stuck at home, or sat in a train that is delayed, they can still access their work resources with a range of different internet-connected devices.
Another great benefit of the Cloud is easier communication and collaboration. As we have discussed, the Cloud enables people to access data through any device that is connected to the internet, and from any location with internet; this means colleagues can collaborate even when they’re on different sides of the world. The Cloud also supports a range of different forms of communication – for example, video calls and video conferences use Cloud computing; Cloud Telephony (officially known as Voice over Internet Protocol) is a new alternative technology to PSTN that is growing in popularity due to the ease of implementation.
Another great benefit of the Cloud is that it makes IT support much easier to implement. If a business’ IT infrastructure is based in the Cloud, it means that an IT professional does not need to visit the business’ site to be able to provide support to that infrastructure – the business simply needs to give them access to the infrastructure, and they can provide support from anywhere in the world.