Next to “innovation” and “social,” “cloud” was perhaps one of the most overused buzzwords of 2012. You hear it on TV commercials, see it on pop-up ads, and read about it in the newspaper–but what exactly is it? As the heart of our business is cloud computing, we at Eustace Consulting thought an explanation is in order.
In its most basic form, “the cloud” simply refers to the internet. That is a bit over-simplified, but when you store something in the cloud it means you are storing it on some platform on the internet–such as Facebook, Dropbox, or Flickr. To take it a step further, technically “the cloud” refers to an application that is run on internet servers, such as Gmail’s server host Google.
One helpful analogy is to think of the cloud as you would electricity–as a utility. When you plug an appliance into an outlet, you expect electricity to immediately flow; you may not know where it comes from, or exactly why it works, but your appliance is up and running quickly. Similarly, the cloud works on the principle that when you plug into an outlet (or in this case, when you connect to the internet) you should have all of your files, applications, and data with you–wherever you are, and whatever kind of device you’re using (desktop, mobile device, etc). Whereas many physical hardware/software systems require in-depth knowledge, cloud computing gives you the same kind of instant gratification that an electrical outlet does.
This system has a ton of benefits for your business:
- It’s mobile: The cloud can be accessed anywhere, anytime, and with anything–not only can you use it on your desktop or work laptop, but also on iPads, tablets, smart phones, and more.
- It’s cheap: If cloud computing systems are like an outlet, then traditional systems are like a generator: they require in-house maintenance, constant updates, and can become obsolete when a new technology comes on the scene. Cloud computing eliminates the need for an internal IT infrastructure, and each cloud program (for example: Hubspot) comes with an accessible and free support system. Many cloud computing programs, like Google Docs, are free to begin with.
- It’s easy: Unlike hard drives that crash and lose data, even if your own devices fail, the cloud carries on. Additionally, it’s much easier to access much more information–For example, instead of using valuable hard drive space to store a few movies, you can have access to thousands of movies on the cloud, using Netflix or Amazon.
Several online platforms that we at Eustace advocate utilize cloud computing–including Hubspot and Salesforce. All of the above benefits are thus available to your business, with a little help from the all-powerful cloud, that is.
Want to talk to someone at Eustace about putting your company in “the cloud”? Have questions about what that entails? Give us a ring! We’re always ready to listen.