As technology pushes forwards and pressure to increase productivity while reducing costs is increased, the way that services are made available and delivered to businesses has also moved with the market. One of the biggest game changers in recent years to the way we do business has been cloud computing.
What Is Cloud Computing?
Cloud computing is, essentially, any type of computing that is performed on or relies on a connection with an external server. This external server what we call “the cloud”. The connection itself might provide something as simple as viewing, editing and storing data on a database, or it might be something a bit more feature rich, providing shared file storage, document collaboration and all the latest business software applications.
Cloud computing has been around for quite a while – especially in our day to day lives. You’re using the cloud when you log into your Amazon account, post an update to Facebook, or even stream music from Spotify.
But over the last few years, cloud computing has exploded onto the business arena, opening up a huge amount of options, possibilities and benefits that simply weren’t available to us before.
Let’s take a look at some of these benefits.
1. The Price
This is, understandably, one of the primary considerations that we make when browsing the market for any solution, be it product or service. Many of the best known and widely used applications used to be very expensive for a single user licence, and those costs would really start to mount up when purchasing licenses for additional team members.
Thanks to the cloud, we now have the option of paying a much smaller monthly subscription fee for products and services such as the Microsoft Office suite, Adobe applications, file storage solutions and antivirus software.
What’s more, many subscriptions will allow for multiple installations meaning that you can install and run your applications across multiple devices and workstations, retaining all of your settings, preferences and saved files whether you’re at home, in the office or on the move.
2. It’s Scalable
As businesses grow their needs might fluctuate – staff levels will change, objectives will evolve and the demand for greater efficiency will increase. Many major cloud service providers allow us to pick up – and drop – user licences and service levels as and when we need to – quite often with no need for a contract or other form of commitment. This makes cloud computing a flexible, scaleable and manageable solution.
3. Quicker Setup Times
Remember when our application software used to come in the form of at least one installation disc, and a manual the thickness of the tree that the paper came from?
Whilst we can all agree that those were indeed “the days”, it’s so much easier now to get up and running quickly, from the point of signup through to a full-speed-workflow. Software can be installed directly from the cloud to your computer, and with today’s connectivity speeds this can be a very quick process. The best software is often also pre-configured with all of the best recommended settings and preferences, meaning that you’ll be happily tapping and clicking away before the 1998 version of you has thrown away the packaging.
4. Work Anywhere!
This is one of my favourite things about cloud computing – and it’s such a simple yet powerful feature of many cloud based applications. The ability to work anywhere.
Some application user licences will come with more than one “installation”. That means that you can install your software on multiple machines – one at home, one at work, and one on your laptop. Further to this, certain subscriptions also come bundled with a certain amount of cloud storage, meaning that you can save your files at home on your desktop PC, open them up and edit using your laptop on the train, and finish them off at the office PC.
5. The Support
Support is all part of the service with cloud computing. Companies are taking dedicated support more seriously than ever these days, thanks to the idea of providing a branded “customer experience”. You can usually get through to a support professional via telephone, email or even online chat. With Riviera Networks, of course, we can communicate with your service providers on your behalf – leaving you to focus on what really matters to you.
6. Automatic Updates
The best applications and services are always evolving, trying to create new and better ways for their customers to enjoy their products. This usually comes in the form of regular updates and patches. With cloud computing, your software will be instantly and automatically updated to the latest version as soon as it becomes available, and you even won’t have to do a thing.
Stop. Collaborate. And listen.
Or, you know, just collaborate. Cloud services provide us with the ability to share documents and projects with our colleagues and coworkers, with some applications even allowing for working on the same document at the same time. Make notes, edits, amendments and more, all updated in realtime and free of conflict or overwrites.