What is the Cloud? Have you ever heard people talking about “the Cloud” and didn’t know what they meant? Well, the idea of the Cloud is relatively new but you most probably have spent a lot of time using the Cloud without knowing it.
So what is the Cloud?
The Cloud is the Internet. The term comes from “cloud computing” which refers to “the use of computing resources (hardware and software) that are delivered as a service over a network (typically the Internet)”. To put it more simply, the Cloud refers to putting more of your material on the Internet and less on your computer. The name “Cloud” comes from the use of a cloud-shaped symbol representing the complex infrastructure of this system.
So if you have ever checked your email, and surely you have, then you have used the Cloud! You are accessing the Cloud when you send or check emails from any computer in the world by using Gmail or Yahoo mail, or when you collaborate online in creating documents on Google Docs. You are also using the Cloud to store files with Dropbox and accessing those files anywhere you need. Every time you use the Cloud, your device communicates with a network of serves, some of them using their computing power to run applications or others that are specialized for storage.
Here is a very informative video explaining you what is the Cloud and how to use it
What Does the Cloud Really Mean for Your Business?
The Cloud comes with great advantages for your business. It allows businesses to focus more on collaborative business processes that involve sharing them with others and optimizing them for a Win-Win business strategy.
Jan Baan, founder of Baan Corp, says “Business processes should be the core element in the cloud, not Word documents or e-mail. Everything in the cloud should grow out of an inherently collaborative business process. You have to think beyond the business processes in your company to linking your customers' customers to your suppliers' suppliers, and draw them all together in a common end-to-end business process. You can create those relationships much faster now, but people aren't taking advantage of it.” So you need to step up and realize the importance and the advantages that you may get if you move your business in the Cloud.
How Can the Cloud Improve Your Business?
Using the Cloud in your business can bring your lots of benefits such as increased efficiency and can strengthen your business. But there is more to cloud computing than getting your storage capacity or applications as a service within minutes. Here are some important Cloud benefits that you may need to take into consideration:
- Business agility
Being able to provide results faster, cheaper and with more quality that your competitors might actually give you a competitive advantage in the longer run. The Cloud allows you to reduce both time and costs by faster collaboration, resulting in great success for your business.
- New business models
The Cloud makes it easier to start business innovation initiatives when using or combining its services that can result in innovative business models, generating new value propositions and new revenue streams.
- Less capital expense
Having no fixed computer servers or hardware means lower costs for your business.
- Better use of resources
The Cloud allows you to utilize more efficiently your physical resources and reduce energy consumption, in comparison to the traditional IT approach.
- Less operational issues
Cloud computing reduces significantly issues and defects, which in turn increases business continuity and reduces time spent on operational issues. Thus, your employees can spend their time on things that actually matter and may offer greater potential value to your business.
Here are some other benefits that you may take into consideration when deciding to move your business in the Cloud
What are the business risks of using Cloud computing?
There are also some business risks that you need to take into consideration when moving your business to the Cloud
- Security and privacy – concerning the protection of intellectual property, employee, customer, and partner information.
- Competition – the Cloud enables start-ups to avoid most of the troubles of building a technology foundation, accelerating the rise from start-up to stalwart.
- Network dependency – you’ll need Internet connection to access the Cloud, which means this system is exposed to outages and service interruptions at any time.
So, what are you waiting for? No matter how you use your devices, such as computer, tablet or smartphone for sending messages or storing pictures and music, the Cloud has something to offer you. Regarding your business, the Cloud comes with great advantages that can make your business processes more manageable and efficient. There are also some business risks that you need to consider when moving your business in the Cloud, but its benefits can be the missing factors that will help your online business grow.