When people used to speak of "the cloud," others assumed they were talking about the weather forecast. Now it carries an entirely different meaning.
The Cloud now refers to any system of on-demand computing services that are only delivered through the internet rather than an on-site hardware system.
This has to do with the virtualization of more traditional environments that include databases and servers, as well as cloud-based storage and virtual applications.
The Rise of Cloud Solutions
Other factors that are needed that real-world applications did not address are:
Accessibility and Scalability
It is critical to be able to access data easily, especially if local hardware is experiencing "downtime."
An emergency backup system or disaster plan is not valid if it doesn't allow accessibility.
It should also be scalable so that you can grow as you need to according to the market and public demand.
Cloud-based systems should be cost-efficient when compared to external hardware solutions. This is one of the main reasons business owners are investing in them. It increases their ROI.
Time to Market
The time to take a product or idea to market is greatly reduced when using cloud solutions because of the ability to access and collaborate with others easily.
Security is more of a challenge with cloud solutions, but it can be done if the server has the right tools and encryption options.
Look for servers that do not house all of their data in one place in case some data is compromised.
Increasing productivity is essential to the operation and expansion of your business.
Cloud-based solutions increase productivity, providing they work as they are supposed to, and all employees are aware of how they operate who need access.
The move toward more automation and AI will continue to increase shortly.
Cloud-based servers offer a 24/7 automation solution that can significantly increase revenue and smooth out the normal operations of a struggling business.
The Amazonization of the World
Along with the above factors that have carried with them "the need for speed" and increased cost efficiency, Jeff Bezos's wildly successful company, Amazon has become more than an online retail store.
Via Amazon's rapid push to digitally transform the world, they have become the standard for how other businesses should do in terms of customer speed and the user experience.
Amazon gets the packages to people faster than almost every other retailer in general, offering a guaranteed "2-day delivery" for Prime Members.
Amazon has also stated that they believe the future will include even more uses of the cloud to control, manage, and handle orders and customer service through the use of online chat, shopping advisors, smart AI, and one-day delivery with drones and robots walking or flying packages to their destinations!
This may seem to be a bit like something out of the Spielberg film, "Minority Report," but it may not be too far in the future.
Increased Investment in Cloud-based Computing
Another impetus that has pushed the cloud-based systems to a higher level is the number of investors who are investing capital in the idea.
The IDC stated recently that public IT cloud services revenue reached $100 billion in the year 2016 alone, and it is prognosticated to grow to over $200 billion by 2020.
This is a gain of almost seven times the rate of all IT market increases put together. This data shows a concerted and visible shift from on-site hardware systems to databases in the cloud that run from either a public, private, or hybrid server.
The Cloud is more convenient, accessible and increases collaboration between artistic teams and contractors who are involved in the same project.
As the world increased the level of global trade for procurement and the supply of the general market, this will increase even more.
Lower Ownership and Operating Costs
Another critical factor in the increased transformation to digital, virtual, and cloud-based servers is the fact that the cost of ownership and operation for cloud systems is substantially lower than traditional hardware-based networks.
Company owners no longer have to invest in expensive equipment that may cost thousands of dollars. Instead, they can keep their data on the virtual server for easy access anytime, thereby increasing their ROI.
Three Types of Cloud-based Services
There are three major types of cloud-based services that business owners can consider. Below are brief descriptions of each, followed by the "pros" and "cons" of each one to review.
Public cloud solutions are available from many servers, including Google, Microsoft, and Amazon, for example.
With a public system, access is the easiest, and public cloud services provide the infrastructure and services to you and your customers by charging a utility cost.
Public cloud solutions have such a powerful server that they are capable of servicing thousands and even millions at a time, reducing operating costs.
A private cloud solution is dedicated to only one business or organization.
They are more secure than a public system in the cloud and may be more appropriate for companies housing extra-sensitive data such as medical facilities or banks.
For some organizations are required to follow federal or state laws for data privacy, such as the HIPAA agreement - a private server may be the solution.
Companies may also opt for a private cloud when they have trade secrets or classified information that must not be compromised.
Consider the level of risk if information or data is breached when making this choice.
When you choose a hybrid cloud solution, you are getting a combination of public and private platforms and data storage solutions.
It tends to have a solution for keeping data secured while making it more accessible for customer-based content.
Which Solution is Best?
Depending on your industry and the security requirements, you will want to do your own research to decide which cloud-based system is ideal for your organization.
Ask the important questions about data security, costs of operation, collaboration and access, and any other questions you are wondering about before signing a contract.
The Question of Security and Data Ownership
Increasing dependence on "the cloud" has increased the need for additional securityregarding data as well as who is responsible for the management of such data.
Consumers demand transparency of their important data and it is a company's duty to do due diligence to make sure this information is protected by all third parties.
Social media breaches and malfeasance on the part of some have opened the door to litigation on a federal level when companies do not do their job to protect consumer data.
This becomes one of the most important factors when choosing a cloud-based system since it is so important to keep it secure. It is an inherent truth that cloud-based data is less reliable than data that is located on a hardware unit that is isolated from the Internet.
But it is just not practical to keep data on local servers only. The danger of doing this is that, once that piece of hardware goes down, all data is lost. Cloud-based servers offered a viable solution to have an "emergency backup plan" and securing data on remote servers in case local hardware becomes dysfunctional.
However, because of the vulnerability of the cloud to hackers and other threats, it is more important than ever to choose a solution that puts security first.
The Power of Scale and Collaboration
As alluded to previously, one of the most critical factors in today's online business world is the ability to scale and to collaborate with others.
Freelancers, independent contractors, builders, and government investors all need to have access when they are working on the same project.
Cloud-based systems also allow companies to grow at a higher rate by increasing globalization of trade practices for the supply chain and procurement processes.
Being able to grow your business and to collaborate with the important people along the supply chain are the biggest "selling factors" in cloud-based systems.
Conclusions: The Future of the Cloud
There is no doubt the cloud has several advantages for the business owners including increased worker productivity, easier access to essential files and data, and lower operating costs.
You still get to operate the way you always did but you are just turning over the responsibility of the equipment to someone else.
Whether you choose a public, private, or hybrid server should depend primarily on the level of security, you need to ensure your customers their data is secure.
As time passes, AI and automation will become more critical to companies so that they can continue to scale in the digital world.
Globalization and the use of distributed suppliers from across the globe will also demand that cloud services become the norm.
Do your homework and choose the best solution for your needs, always remembering the responsibility you have to customers that their privacy and data are secure.
Don't Get Left Behind
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