Carter Tech Blog

  • Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Categories
    Categories Displays a list of categories from this blog.
  • Tags
    Tags Displays a list of tags that have been used in the blog.
  • Bloggers
    Bloggers Search for your favorite blogger from this site.
  • Team Blogs
    Team Blogs Find your favorite team blogs here.
  • Login
    Login Login form

Is the cloud for everyone?

Posted by on in Commentary
  • Font size: Larger Smaller
  • Hits: 4716
  • Subscribe to this entry
  • Print
One of the biggest buzzwords in technology at the moment is "cloud computing". Cloud computing promises to save costs, provide upgrades faster and be easier to manage than a traditional computer system (where files are stored on a file server or your desktop and software is used to access those files).

What is cloud computing?

Despite the hype, cloud computing isn't exactly new. Many of us have been using cloud-based applications for some time without even realising it. If you have ever used webmail like Hotmail, Gmail or Yahoo you have used software in the cloud - your emails are stored on your webmail provider's server and accessible from any internet connected device. Instead of having to have your own IT hardware and software, you can utilise the capacity of others and purchase services to suit your own needs.
In the past, if you wanted to have your own company email (like you would have your own email server and desktop applications (like Outlook) to retrieve that email. With a cloud service such as Gmail, you can still sent email from your own address but can forget about having a mail server on-site as this is taken care of by somebody else. You could put your mail server to use for something else or decommission it altogether. This is the promise of cloud computing - reducing the infrastructure needed to perform common tasks, relying instead on someone else to provide it for you.

Of course cloud computing encompasses far more than just webmail - there are full office suites, CRM applications and even accounting software that runs in the cloud.

Why use the cloud?

The key advantage provided by the cloud is that it allows you to cut expenses by not having to purchase, licence and maintain on-site servers and software. You run and share applications from a central location over the Internet. With cloud computing you can avoid many of the overhead costs of providing IT facilities, instead simply paying for the services you use.

An organisation using Google Docs can theoretically avoid having to have desktop applications like Microsoft Office or LibreOffice with the advantage that it is accessible anywhere you have an Internet connection. To achieve the same "freedom" with Office you would need to use a cloud storage service like Skydrive or Dropbox to save your documents and have the software installed on each computer you want to access your documents.

Cloud computing doesn't just replace desktop applications and provide remote storage but also provides services such as CRM and ERP, online training and web conferencing.

Cloud computing also includes virtualised servers that can be accessed on demand by businesses. These virtual servers are accessible via the cloud and integrate into your own network providing the services of a typical server.

Why isn't everyone in the cloud?

The hype surrounding cloud computing would suggest that they can provide key advantages to every business and that they simplify IT, this isn't always the case.

Simply providing a service via the cloud doesn't make IT simpler. Cloud services use similar technology to that you would have used on site, with the outside service provider being responsible for its maintenance. How quickly issues can be resolved depends on the service provider, not your own IT support.

The integration of cloud services into IT systems also has the potential to complicate your IT platform.

Another disadvantage with cloud computing is its reliance on the Internet. If your files are stored on the cloud and your Internet connection goes down you lose access to those files. The speed and reliability of your cloud service will depend on your Internet connection - something that can be quite poor out here in regional Australia.

Is Cloud Computing Right For You?

Every business is different and so are their needs. Some businesses may benefit from cloud-based firewalls or virtual servers while others may only require hosted email or online invoicing. Your business needs will determine whether or not cloud computing is viable for your business.
Trackback URL for this blog entry.

Nathan is Carter Tech's Managing Director and has been involved in the Information Technology industry for over ten years and has been self-employed for the last five. Nathan has a wealth of experience in IT, holding a Bachelor of Information Technology degree and having experience in developing systems and applications for the non-profit, local government, agricultural, technology and education sectors.


  • No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment

Leave your comment

Guest Friday, 12 July 2024