What is Cloud Computing? Is it for me?

March 8, 2013

Cloud computing continues to be widely talked about in the press and commercials.  Most people have realized that cloud computing is the “in thing” and that it’s the latest computing development.  Even so, many small businesses are still wondering what it is and if it has any benefits for them.

Simply put, cloud computing uses computer resources that are not physically available to you, rather they reside remotely and are accessed over the Internet.  The computer resources are in the Internet cloud of unknown connections.  You don’t see what goes on there; you just see the results.  A common example is QuickBooks, the most widely used financial software for small businesses.  The traditional version of this program has you install the program on one or more computers and the program keeps all your

 

data in a file on your computer’s hard drive, or on the hard drive of one of your servers.  There is a newer host based version of this program with no software to install and no data resides on your hard drive.  Instead you go to a web site, login with your credentials and you have access to your data, all done through your web browser.

There are many advantages to using cloud computing resources.  System maintenance & stability is completely the responsibility of the company offering the service – you don’t have to worry about upgrades, updates, or patches.  You don’t have to worry about the environment of the hosting computer such as power, severe weather, and the like.  You also don’t have to worry about backups of your data; it all resides in the cloud (on the computers of the provider).  The disadvantage is that in most cases when your Internet connection is down, then you can’t get to your material.

Cloud resources are available for almost anything-folders of files in the cloud instead of on your server, email, databases and many specialized applications.  Cloud computing resources are often used for backups.  Instead of backup to a traditional tape, your material gets backed up over the Internet, securely, to an online resource.

Are cloud computing resources right for your situation in your company?  Contact Emerson Technologies and we’ll be happy to sit down and discuss how you can benefit from cloud computing.

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