Understanding Cloud Computing and the Benefits

What is Cloud Computing?

Cloud computing is a term that is used often, but many of us do not know what it really means. Definitions that describe the cloud as scalable and elastic sound interesting, but how does that relate to you and your business?

What is the cloud?

The 5 Attributes of Cloud Computing for Business

  • Service-based
    Hosted by a vendor or service provider and available over the Internet
  • Scalable and elastic
    Scale up or down by adding or removing resources as needed
  • Shared
    Reach economies of scale by pooling resources
  • Metered by use
    Multiple payment models allow you to pay just for what you use
  • Internet technologies
    Services are delivered through familiar Internet platforms

Cloud Computing and Your Business

Cloud computing uses hosted resources to house your applications or infrastructure, freeing you from worries about hardware, cooling, power, and other IT infrastructure concerns, as well as the costs that go with them.

What does the Cloud Offer?

Many services are available as a cloud solution, including:

  • Perimeter spam and virus filtering
  • Hosted email
    With web access, smartphone integration, Outlook connectivity, highly available infrastructure, and archiving options
  • Offsite Data Storage
  • Virtual Servers
  • Virtual Desktop (VDI) Services
  • Remote Application delivery services
  • Cloud-based Availability and Disaster Recovery (DR) solutions
  • Remote backup

The Benefits for Your Team

Your employees are already using the cloud to access social media, personal email, and other services outside of work. Leveraging cloud technology to bring that high level accessibility to your organization’s email, documents, and applications will help satisfy employee expectations.

Email in the Cloud:
One way the cloud simplifies your IT needs

To set up email for your organization in the traditional manner, you’d need to acquire server and storage hardware, make arrangements for the appropriate power and cooling, and hire staff to design, implement, and support the email infrastructure. If an archiving solution is desired, or the needs of your organization change and more employees are added, you would have to upgrade or acquire more hardware. Your staff would have to redesign and re-implement the solution, creating potential outages for your users in the process.

To set up email in a cloud environment, simply contact the cloud provider and define your requirements. The provider then remotely sets up the email to your specifications and it’s ready to use.

There are no servers to worry about—no cables, and no problems. If your requirements change, the cloud provider just leverages their infrastructure to accommodate the changes without capital expense or downtime.

Is Moving to the Cloud Right for You?

  • Identify and Impliment
    Identify your goals for moving to the cloud and any barriers that might stand in your way.
  • Cost Barriers
    Does it make sense for your infrastructure? Custom-built or very complex systems may be better off on the ground—hosted, managed, and supported internally. With a cost analysis you can determine if your hardware should be outsourced. Also, consider which costs are fixed versus variable. If your user counts fluctuate, you may opt to use and just pay for what you need—that’s possible with the cloud.
  • Availability and Performance
    Do you have enough Internet bandwidth to connect to cloud servers and applications? Can you purchase more? Also think about uptime. Will your systems be available when you need them to be? You’ll need a qualified vendor to provide support and maintenance if you move to the cloud.
  • Data Security and Protection:
    Always ensure that you control access to your data and protect the physical systems that store it. It’s essential to also have a backup and disaster recovery plan in the event of a crash or lost cloud access.
  • Standards and regulations
    Make sure that you’re upholding compliance requirements and that your cloud provider has a suitable confidentiality clause. Update organizational policies and procedures like staff permissions and individual access rights.

Give us a call at 410-720-3300 contact us today and we can get you started with the cloud.