…and their answers, of course!
You might still have some questions about cloud computing. Don’t worry – you’re not alone! We’re going to cover some of the most frequently asked questions about the cloud.
So…what’s the cloud anyway?
Still wondering? You’re not alone. The majority of people use cloud computing every single day and don’t even know it!
In really simple terms, cloud computing is computing capabilities delivered over a network, as a service, not a product.
In a bit more complex terms by Gartner, it’s “a style of computing in which massively scalable IT-related capabilities are provided ‘as a service’ using Internet technologies to multiple external customers.”
The cloud has been defined in countless ways, and that’s because it encompasses so many things. People use the term “cloud” when referring to Software as a Service. They use it when referring to online storage. They use it thinking it refers only to Apple’s iCloud. All of these things are forms of cloud computing because they are all computing resources made available via the Internet, but they don’t even begin to cover the true breadth of cloud services.
With traditional computing, your data and programs are stored on your device’s local hard drive. That’s not how it works in the cloud. Instead, your data is stored on physical or virtual servers that are hosted by a cloud provider. This same process applies to things other than data access – all aspects of computing can be delivered to end-users and businesses via the Internet.
Think about common services like Dropbox or Gmail. You can access those files or emails from any device, in any location, as long as you’re on the Internet. The files and emails aren’t actually located or stored on the devices you’re using. They’re in the “cloud.”
What are some common cloud services or companies?
Well, as was mentioned above, people today use cloud services all the time and have no idea. Some of the most popular include Gmail, Dropbox, Spotify, Amazon, Google, social media, and many, many more. The types of services used most often are online email, online storage, social media, and streaming services like Netflix or music sites.
While those are the most common, mainly for consumer-use, the types of cloud services and companies cover the whole spectrum. There are business-focused cloud services, and consumer-facing ones. There are social and collaboration tools, management tools, marketing tools, virtual IT resources, and so much more. And that’s why cloud is such a big deal.
Do I need to hire extra IT personnel to make the move?
No, you shouldn’t. A great provider can be there every step of the way if you want them to be. Of course, that’s something to ask about when you’re looking for your cloud provider. It’s definitely helpful to include your IT team in the process, but there’s no need to add personnel for the cloud migration.
How do I know if cloud is right for me?
Well, it takes a lot of self-evaluation. Ask yourself questions: What’s my environment like right now? How much money am I spending on traditional computing? What is my usage like? Do I want my business to be more flexible? Do I have remote workers? What is the business demand like? What are my goals?
All of these questions factor into choosing the right cloud solution for you. Businesses are able to save time, money and stress by moving to the cloud, but only if they do it the right way. This takes research though, so before moving to the cloud, do your due diligence! Scout out cloud providers that fit your needs, and compare their services to your current environment!
Will my data be safe in the cloud?
This is a very fair question. The idea of moving your data into someone else’s hands can be stressful. Data security is one of the biggest concerns when businesses consider cloud computing. Luckily, it’s improved exponentially in recent years.
Of course, the level of security provided depends solely on the provider you work with. Before making the move, you should acquire thorough information about security practices and SLAs. Check that the provider can meet your industry’s regulations, as well as your own expectations for security.
Many providers will be able to offer stronger security than you currently have in place for yourself. That’s because protecting client data is their primary focus. A cloud provider’s growth and reputation depend on the security of the services they provide, because that’s how important it is to businesses. They focus more money, time and energy into security than most businesses are able to devote themselves because they’re busy, well, running a business.
No technology solution is 100% safe at all times, but businesses are better off with cloud providers than they are with traditional methods.
What is BYOD?
Are you sick of hearing this acronym and having no idea what people are talking about? BYOD stands for Bring Your Own Device. This is a growing trend in which organizations allow their employees to use personal devices for work purposes. Maybe you’re thinking, “People just do that anyway, right?…” And that’s very true, but it’s not smart! According to Gartner, 45% of employees not required to use a personal device for work were doing so without their employer’s knowledge. Why run the risk of this unmonitored activity when you can give employees the freedom they want while maintaining data security? Organizations should implement official BYOD policies in order to go about it the correct way. This ensures that confidential data remains confidential, while still offering users flexibility and ease.
The cloud supports this trend by enabling users to use any computing device, including laptops, smartphones and tablets, to access their business data from wherever they are.
What types of apps can run in the cloud?
Well, pretty much all apps can run in the cloud. That doesn’t mean that all apps should run in the cloud though. Some make more sense than others, including business collaboration tools, storage, IT management, marketing tools and more.
How much will it cost?
It depends! Each provider is different, and it always depends on your needs. Feel free to ask your provider to list each possible expense you might face – this helps you determine a realistic cost forecast, and compare it to your current spending. Most providers should actually offer free quotes and work with you one-on-one on the pricing – that’s a sign of a good provider.
What other questions do you have about cloud computing? Let us know in the comments below!