In the world of information technology, there’s one word that often gets thrown about related to the internet and new kinds of services being offered; that word is “cloud.” But some might ask, what is this “cloud” people talk about? Is it something I can use? In the IT realm, the term “cloud,” has its origins with telephone networks and later the internet itself when represented in diagrams in the abstract form of a cloud. Today, cloud computing is any service or system that subscribed users can access by way of the internet from a remote location, and utilize that resource as they would if it was a dedicated system.
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When starting a business, startup costs can be exceptionally high, especially if your new business has anything to do with technology. You’re computer system will most likely need to be state of the art, in order to handle different kinds of programs and system requirements of the work it’ll be used for. You’ll also need to buy the software and eventually you’ll likely need to update some of those programs, which can is an additional cost.
As your business grows, so does your expenses for systems and maintenance. As you add employees to your business, you’ll need more computers, all of them needing to be the most efficient computers, suitable for your day to day business. In time you will most likely want to network these computers to facilitate a greater ease of use within the business, which means additional hardware, that also needs to be maintained. Eventually the maintenance of the systems becomes a full time job in and of itself; and as a result you’ll then need to hire at least one IT technician, or more, in order to keep your systems running smoothly; and fix any problems should they arise. As your business expands, the organization becomes more complex and your operational need for resources increases exponentially, and with it, the expense.
When users logon to a cloud service, they’re accessing a remote system that offers them something their dedicated system doesn’t; this can be any number of technological resources, including hardware, such as processing power or storage space, or different kinds of software; it can even bridge the gap between individuals working over vast distances, giving all parties involved instant access and participation and use of whatever resource is being shared through the cloud service. When utilizing cloud computing services, business owners don’t need to have the most advanced computer systems, or even house a company network in-house. Instead all of this is taken care of through the rented use a remote system, that can be accessed through the internet by most off the shelf computers. The remote cloud system does all of the major work and then relays it to your location, by way of you dedicated system, which effectively functions as a terminal, granting access to the cloud service, without a need to perform the work its ill-suited to handle.
Instances of cloud computing are everywhere; it’s essentially anything that could be done on your own computer, but is instead down via remote systems, out of the convenience of not needing to utilize the resources on your dedicated system. A prime example of this is email. You could have your email delivered directly to and saved on your computer, utilizing a email service and program, like Microsoft Outlook. But in order to get your mail, you need to set aside resources on your dedicated system, in this case the hard drive space to save your emails, and physically save each email you receive to your computer; and once saved to one computer, you can’t access it from any other. Instead, the popular trend of email access are accounts through popular hosts, like Gmail, yahoo and hotmail, that are typically free; and instead of being downloaded to your computer system, are stored on a remote system, where they can be accessed by any computer that logs onto that system with your user name and password. When you log onto your apportioned space on the server via the system access point, or “front end,” you can access all saved and received emails within your account, as though they were saved to the system you’re viewing them on.
Through cloud networking services you can do much the same thing with other technical resources; such as accessing word processing or accounting software, or even utilizing the hardware of the remote system to meet certain system specifications, like necessary processor or memory speeds, to run an operation. The computer system you use on the front end to access the remote service or data, then only needs to have the most basic functionality, as it will only need to be able to support the connection to the remote systems, via the internet; and once processed by the remote systems, the outcome is relayed back to your systems and displayed on your computer monitor.
Some cloud services are free, while others charge fees, generally based on the type and amount of services used. Costs for cloud services are usually nominal, as your use of a given cloud system generally only represents a small part of the system’s full capacity, with many other customers accessing the same.server. In this way, subscribing to a cloud service is a lot like renting an apartment in larger complex. Just as the larger structures of an apartment complex is sectioned off to form individual apartment space; the remote server is partitioned and each part programmed to act like a separate lone system onto itself; so users of a cloud system reap the benefits of the overall infrastructure of the system, requiring minor expense or maintenance of the structure, while sharing the resources with other “tenants.”