What is Cloud Computing?
Cloud Computing is a new buzzword being used where the meaning of the term is somewhat misleading. We think of the term ‘cloud’ and the old image of a cloud on network diagrams comes to mind. This cloud was used to describe the internet. So it follows that cloud computing should be internet computing. But this isn’t completely true of what cloud computing is.
Cloud computing in the most simple terms refers to the shift of applications being delivered as a service rather than a product. Typically they are provided over the internet, but in theory can be provided via other networks such as cellular networks.
Should I be using Cloud Computing?
There are a number of pros and cons to this model, but generally it is seen that there are more advantages to a cloud solution for businesses due to the outsourcing allowing for greater scalability.
Many of the pros of cloud computing, it seems are tied to the company that is providing the cloud solution. This is where the cons lie as well. It’s critical that we get a good understanding of how the cloud service is operated, just as if we had the application being run on site.
One problem that could exist with adopting a cloud solution is if the company hosting the solution suddenly went out of business. It’s important that you would have a backup of any databases they kept, as well as a plan to quickly restore this service to your business.
More importantly than that, it is important to ensure that the company providing the service is not likely to disappear tomorrow. There are two costs to this happening:
- Potential loss of data if you haven’t got your own backups
- Loss of application framework
The second point is where the biggest problems lie. Sure, you may have a backup in the form of a data file or series of spreadsheets but you have no means of accessing this data in a sensible manner. It is important that you have a contingency plan for these event.
Be sure your Cloud Application allows you to export data. Also, if your cloud application has a functional desktop client, that caches data then you have an ideal solution. Be careful being caught up in the buzz about Cloud Computing that this prevents you from making truly sensible decisions about which computing solution is the best for you.
This analysis of Cloud computing was brought to you by HirePulse, a service linking Australian business, contractors, consultants, freelancers and professional services. Article made in conjunction with Living Online.