Cloud Computing in its simplest terms is “remotely running applications in a web browser instead of locally on your computer”. You’ve probably used it before but don’t realise it. If you’ve ever used Google Mail, Hotmail, Linked-In, Facebook or Salesforce for example, they are all Cloud based applications.
Cloud computing has actually been around for a long time but has really gathered momentum over the past few years as Internet Reliability, Speed and Cloud Technologies have improved, in many situation its usually much more efficient than running the application locally. It’s now considered the standard approach for many types of application and has now advanced enough to start branching out into traditional app’s such as graphic manipulation that wasn’t possible before.
Example Cloud Apps
- Business eMail (Google Apps, Office 365, etc)
- Accounts (Xero, Sage One, Freshbooks, etc)
- Web Conferencing (WebEx, Google Hangouts, etc)
- CRM Systems (Capsule, Salesforce, Zoho, MS Dynamics, etc)
- HelpDesk’s (Freshdesk, Desk, ZenDesk, etc)
- Internal Intranets (Google Sites, Microsoft Sharepoint, etc)
To name but a few… Almost any application can run in a Cloud.
Reduced Costs and Productivity Improvements
The main reason cloud computing has really taken off its cost effectiveness and increasing reliability and efficiency: –
- You don’t have to buy, upgrade or maintain hardware (Reduced Capital & Revenue, Tax Efficient)
- You don’t have to employ specialists to maintain the above (Reduced Revenue)
- You don’t have to buy, upgrade or maintain software (Reduced Capital & Revenue, Tax Efficient)
- You don’t have to buy, upgrade or maintain backup equipment (Reduce Capital & Revenue, Increased Efficiency)
- You don’t have to worry about hardware or software availability (Increased Productivity)
- You don’t have to worry about IT disaster recovery (Reduced Revenue, Increased Efficiency)
- You don’t have to worry about data security (Increased Efficiency & Security)
- You can access your application from a browser on any internet connected computer (Increased Productivity and Efficiency)
- You can access your application from Windows, Mac, Linux & Mobile platforms (Increased Portability and Productivity)
The fact is, moving to cloud based applications makes them more efficient, reliable and portable and therefore increases your staff’s productivity whilst keeping costs low and being tax efficient.
Private and Public Clouds
Cloud computing comes in two varieties, Public and Private. Public Clouds are Internet based, Private Clouds are Intranet based. Neither of these really have an impact on security (Banks allow access to your account on the Internet for example!), the decision whether to run your application on a private or public cloud really depends on several factors: –
- Where the majority of your users are based?
- Do you want to employ the expertise internally?
- What other systems does the application have to link to?
From these basic questions the best approach for your business can be assessed. Neither of these approaches is wrong, but one will be more efficient than the other.