The IT world is buzzing over the concept of ‘cloud computing’, with its promise to reduce the cost burden associated with procuring, installing and maintaining the IT infrastructure, that until now has always been located on-site. So, can it really live up to the all of the hype and is it a viable option for every organisation?
Understanding Cloud Computing
In its simplest terms, cloud computing can be described as ‘separating your stuff, from your devices.’ Your ‘stuff,’ in other words your documents, emails, media files etc, are stored in a central location, which could for example be a dedicated offsite virtual server, or it could be a service provided by a third party where you pay a cost per user per month. You access those files via the internet, using any device you choose – that may be your desktop when you’re in the office, your laptop when you’re at home, or your smart phone or iPad when you’re on the road.
The concept isn’t anything all that new, for example anyone that uses a Microsoft Hotmail account for accessing their emails via a web browser, has effectively been computing in the cloud for many years! What has changed however, is the scale of products and services now available via the internet, the cost of off site storage and the speed of internet connectivity.
Cloud computing has the potential to deliver compelling cost savings, which at first glance may appeal at a time when most organisations are looking to trim the fat from their operations. One of the trade-offs is that your organisation will sacrifice some control over many of your biggest assets, which would normally be located within your own four walls.