You can’t seem to throw a virtual stone today without hitting something that talks about “The Cloud.” The idea of a virtual world where data and software lives is fast becoming a widely-accepted and widely-used tool.
The Cloud, in reality, is not a virtual world but a real server-based environment where software and data can be run and stored. The virtual aspect comes from your perspective. Rather than having to buy and maintain your own set of computers and other hardware, a Cloud-based system is run and maintained off site by a qualified third party.
The immediate advantages of this type of IT infrastructure are clear. The most obvious is that a company that migrates their entire IT infrastructure to The Cloud almost completely eliminates the costs associated with the infrastructure. Because Cloud providers spread their assets across multiple users, the individual user pays only for what they use at any time. Cloud-based solutions are also easily scalable.
Another advantage of running your IT through the Cloud is that it becomes far easier to tie in mobile and internet-based systems. Cloud IT means a total integration of all technologies and at costs that are astoundingly cheaper than building complex networks in house.
Of course, the biggest worry for most organizations is that by turning over their vital technology to an off-site third party, they’re opening themselves up to security risks and data piracy, not to mention the complete loss of control.
Interestingly, however, Cloud-based systems have not only proven far more efficient and cost-effective, they’ve also proven themselves to be far more secure. Cloud-based providers like Amazon AWS and Rackspace, for example provide daily data and system backups and a level of security that is virtually unmatched in similar in-house systems.
The truth is that when you remove your software and data from your organization’s physical location, you prevent anyone from pirating the data directly or tampering with hardware or software.
The Cloud is not necessarily the end all be all. There are certainly circumstances where an in-house IT infrastructure is required. However, even in these situations, a hybrid solution can be developed. In this way, an organization can maintain its own tight control over those aspects of the infrastructure they want kept in-house, and can also take advantage of The Cloud’s many money saving and flexible options.
The Cloud is the digital wave of the future and can offer any company a single, partial or total IT solution to give itself a competitive and cost-effective edge.