Cloud computing is quickly replacing traditional computing. Just as computers, servers and sophisticated software replaced the more traditional office equipment; the cloud is replacing and streamlining today’s offices.
Just what is Cloud Computing?
Cloud computing is the practice of using a network of remote servers hosted on the Internet to store, manage, and process data, rather than a local server or a personal computer. These remote servers aren’t floating up in the clouds though; they are located in data centers and accessed via the Internet. The data centers provide a climate-controlled, secure location with alternate power supplies and 24/7/365 system monitoring. In many cases, there are backup servers at secondary data center locations to endure that minimal to no data is lost in the case of some disaster.
Cloud computing is an excellent business technology tool. Employing the cloud can save time, money, and human resources when you consider the cost and personnel necessary to install an on-site server and duplicate the secure, monitored environment provided by a well-managed data center.
There are numerous cloud computing tools; IaaS, PaaS, BaaS, and SaaS to name a few.
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)IaaS provides access to computing resources in a cloud-based environment. IaaS allows you to work off of a virtual infrastructure that is located on the cloud and accessed through the web. You can store data, download software, and work off the virtual desktop just as you would local infrastructure. IaaS is a great tool for companies with telecommuters or “bring your own device” policies because it offers a secure platform that can be accessed on any Internet-connected device. It also a great tool for companies with lots of sensitive data. For example, medical offices and healthcare analytics companies will often use specialized Virtual Desktop software to better meet strict HIPPA guidelines.
- Platform as a Service (PaaS)PaaS is a service delivery model that allows a customer to rent virtualized servers and associated services used to run existing applications, or to design, develop, test, deploy and host applications. Most PaaS tools are geared to software development and are largely unnecessary to other small businesses. PaaS solutions provide compute and storage infrastructure, text editing, version management, compile and testing services. These tools are great because they all developer to focus on their product, without having to worry about maintaining their infrastructure.
- Software as a Service (SaaS)SaaS is a software distribution model in which a third-party provider hosts applications and makes them available to customers over the Internet. Today, most major software companies are transitioning to the SaaS. In fact, it is more than likely that you are already using a SaaS tool. All-in-one business solution products, such as Microsoft 365, or Google’s G-Suite, are the perfect SaaS tool for small businesses. For one monthly price, you are provided with every digital tool you will need to run a successful company. They include:
- Business Email Solutions
- File Sharing and Collaboration Software
- Productivity Tools (such as word processors, slideshow builders, and spreadsheets)
- Calendar Coordination
- Unified Communication Software
Cloud faxing is another nifty SaaS tool. SaaS faxing solutions, such as Classifax, allow you to send and receive faxes over the Internet. SFax is another great faxing solution, designed for businesses that need to be HIPPA compliant. Some other popular SaaS products are QuickBooks, Paylocity, and Salesforce.
- Backup as a Service (BaaS) BaaS is a way to safely store all of your companies digital data, by backing it up to remote servers. These servers are located in offsite data centers that are climate controlled, with alternate power supplies and 24/7/365 system monitoring. At this point, every business owner should be backing up their company’s data. Between natural disasters, cybercrime, and human error it is almost guaranteed that at one point or another your business’s digital infrastructure will be compromised. When that happens, every second you can’t access your data will cost you. With BaaS, you will have an efficient and secure way to restore your data. Saving you money, time and peace of mind.
In addition to the operational and administrative functions that cloud computing can streamline for business, it can be invaluable where communication is concerned.
If you are interested in learning about how technology can increase your bottom line, download OTELCO’s Business Technolgy guide. It covers everything from cloud solutions to conferencing tools.