“The cloud.” It seems like some mysterious location that either floats above us or hangs over our heads, depending on how you look at it. What is the cloud? What are the advantages and disadvantages of migrating to cloud-based solutions?
People refer to the cloud as if you should be able to find it via Google Maps. The cloud is not a place. You can’t find it on a map or drive to it. Strictly speaking, the cloud is system of data centers that are cost-efficient, automated, managed and secure.
Cloud-based technology has evolved by leaps and bounds in recent years. Security is better than ever before, processes have been improved and hardware has reached new levels of reliability.
Data and applications being housed offsite and accessed remotely is almost as old as computers. Before it was called the cloud, it was called Software as a Service (or SaaS). Data has been aggregated, optimized and housed in central locations since data was first transmitted via phone lines. Cloud computing is just the maturation and expansion of concepts that have been used in computing for decades (which in computing time could be millennia).
One of the main benefits of cloud-based solutions are that onsite server rooms aren’t needed to run mission critical programs. Onsite servers take up space, break down, suck power and need constant upgrading and maintenance. With a cloud-based solution, costs of upkeep and upgrades are spread across many clients, significantly lowering the costs for everyone.
Another benefit is that cloud-based solutions are always current. Agencies and end-users don’t have to suffer the long march to obsolescence that comes when you purchase a hardcopy version of a software solution. Agencies don’t have to calculate how long they can get away with using an outdated version of mission critical software before they will need to spend money to buy licenses for a newer version.
Do your homework before selecting a cloud-based solution. It’s always important to look for cloud vendors who can meet your needs and follow guidelines that are specific to your organization. Evaluate security and functionality before deciding to go with any solution, whether it be cloud-based or hardcopy based.
So where does “cloud” come into all of this? Why not just say “data-center based” rather than cloud-based? Good question. Somewhere, someone made up the term which sounds great but confuses everyone. When you stop making it a mysterious destination and instead realize that it’s the culmination of what we’ve all been doing with computers for a long time, the cloud stops being something intimidating and becomes nothing more than a great way to access critical systems.
This and other informative blog posts can be found on the BidSync Blog – http://www.bidsync.com/category/blog/