Get Your Head Out of the Clouds: How Cloud Technology Can Make or Break Your Business

May 22nd, 2018 by admin

Tut tut, it looks like rain! April showers have brought May flowers, and this time of year always gets us in a cloudy kind of mood. There are so many clouds to talk about: cloud storage, cloud computing, cloud AI, and a whole lot more. I’m even writing this on a cloud right now! The latest forecasts show that by 2020, the cloud computing industry will increase by 240%, and by 2022, the cloud storage industry will grow by 300%. Knowing what’s possible with the cloud will bolster your business’ acumen, as individuals migrate to an emerging market. Plus it’s wicked cool. Cloud services are a broad category of technology, connected by their use of online networking, to connect computers to remote data centers for various purposes. Cloud storage connects your computer to remote servers to give you storage space that you can access online. Cloud computing connects many computers to a database which manages the computation and turns thousands of normal PCs into a cohesive super-computer that can solve some incredibly complex tasks that no single i7 processor, could dream of accomplishing in a lifetime.   It’s important to note that with any cloud service, access is like a cloud and the user experience is like a cloud (you simply log on and it’s always there) but storage and computation is handled by physical devices. To put this simply, your cloud storage is still on a hard drive, it’s just on a really big one in a data center, and it has an easy online interface to help you use it. If the physical storage facility where your data is stored were struck by a meteor, you might lose your data. (At that point you also might be incinerated yourself.) It depends entirely on the cloud service, the amount of redundancy they provide, and whether those redundant files are stored in different physical locations. The key takeaway here, is that cloud storage is not in some untouchable æther. Data safety is often considered an indisputable advantage of cloud storage, but that is not always the case. If you keep your backups on 10 different hard drives in 5 different buildings, your data will be safer from hardware failure and disaster than most cloud data.   The true advantage of cloud storage is it’s accessibility, low cost, and most providers have better redundancy than a small business can easily set up for themselves (redundancy = disaster security). The drawbacks are that you have limited options for customization and there are significant privacy threats, because your information is stored in high profile data centers that are far more likely to be hacked, as opposed to what you keep in your server room. Cloud storage is the Olive Garden, and setting up your own storage is a private chef. Individuals and small companies are finding cloud services give them streamlined data access with good data protection for the cost. Larger companies may find that the greater risk of a data breach on the cloud, lack of options to streamline the process with their needs, and improve the workflow of employees, outweigh the costs of investing in local storage.   Let us know if you’ve enjoyed this breakdown of cloud services. We have only touched the surface of this topic so far, but we will certainly be seeing more about this in the coming years. If you have any questions, or topic suggestions, don’t hesitate to send us a message!     Kender Ostlund

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