If you’ve paid attention to IT trends over the last few years, you know that the cloud computing sector has been growing, but cloud computing’s sudden transition from leading-edge technology to mainstream tool has taken a lot of people by surprise.
Like most innovations in IT, you don’t need to understand the nuts and bolts of cloud computing to put it to use at your company, just like you don’t need to understand SMTP protocols to send an email, but it helps to know what benefits cloud computing can offer so that you can decide if now is the right time for your company to make the transition.
The Meaning of Efficiency
Efficiency is one of those buzzwords that gets thrown around a lot, but it does have a precise meaning. A process is efficient if resources are being devoted to the most important tasks in appropriate amounts. Whether you are considering a stock portfolio, meting out jobs to your employees, or how to schedule your day, efficiency is about allocating what you have for the greatest benefit.
When you look at it this way, PCs are incredibly inefficient machines. If I’m not using my computer, its resources go completely unused, even if someone else in the organization needs more processing power. You’d like to be able to move resources according to your company’s needs, and that’s exactly what cloud computing accomplishes. The simplest way to understand cloud computing is that it allows everyone to draw on a pool of computing resources, dramatically improving your IT efficiency.
This pool of computing resources is normally called a cloud computing platform (or just a cloud platform). Imagine a bunch of servers connected together, providing all of the processing power and working memory that your company needs. The cloud platform works between workstations and servers, dynamically allocating resources according to each user’s needs. If you aren’t doing any serious computing, one of your colleagues will have even more processing power available to them.
So far, you might think that cloud computing isn’t that different from running an in-house corporate network, but the ability to share resources doesn’t have to be confined to just one company. Cloud platforms scale really well, meaning that you can put more and more servers together and still allocate resources to users effectively.
If you are a small or medium size business thinking about migrating to the cloud, then you aren’t going to create an in-house cloud platform, you are going to use someone else’s as a customer. Your entire company will be able to connect to the cloud confident that your computing needs will be met. You’ll pay for what you use, and not a dollar more. Cloud computing turns IT into a utility like electricity or water. You could buy a couple of generators and produce your own electricity, but you’d end up spending a lot more money than if you just got on the grid.
Some people worry that switching to cloud computing means that if your internet connection goes down your out of business. The reality is that you can sync files with your local computer, and many cloud apps have offline functionality. Being offline is an issue, but it doesn’t mean you should send the team home early.
Ultimately, the benefits driving cloud computing are easy to understand. Tech companies use economies of scale to reduce the cost of computing, and then sell that computing power as a commodity to their customers. In the long run, we’ll all be using cloud computing because it’s simply more efficient than doing everything on your own.
Top Five Benefits of Cloud Computing
1. It allows you to share resources that you are not using.
2. There’s no need to constantly upgrade your desktops because you have all the computing power you need.
3. Economies of scale reduce the amount that you will spend on computing.
4. Outsourcing your corporate network reduces your IT department’s overhead.
5. Moving to the cloud gives you a competitive advantage over the rest of your industry.