What is cloud computing? Is it for you?

To address all of the pros and cons of jumping on the rapidly accelerating and increasingly populated cloud train within the confines of this article would be fruitless.

What we can do is provide an introduction to the idea of cloud computing and whether it is something you as an individual or small business should be looking at seriously.

Cloud computing defined

Cloud computing involves using a network of remote servers that are hosted online to store and manage your data as opposed to, or as a backup to your local server or PC.

Shaun Wilders the MD of Cultrix, who are a reputable cloud services provider says “Wherever you are, you can always access your business because you can always access the cloud.”

How to integrate cloud computing

It is important to remember that cloud computing is really a backup solution rather than a standalone storage solution. You will still need to be scrupulous about using external hard drives of some type or another. It is, however a great and easy solution for another off-site backup.

Time saving

It requires much less time and effort than the alternative, which is running a remote server. This is also vastly more challenging on a technical level and using the cloud can free up some of your staff for other projects.

Remote access is a huge plus

Perhaps the greatest single benefit of cloud computing involves the ability to have easy access to your files from anywhere at high speed. Your only requirement is a decent internet connection. You can also, by the same token share your files while on the move, forging more solid and fluid links between your business and your partners and clients, increasing efficiency vastly. Portability is becoming ever more important and will continue this trend in the next generation of IT services.

Refresh tired infrastructure without capital expenditure

Everyone who’s used them knows that servers are prone to becoming clunking, laborious beasts in record time. This can be mitigated against by having the insurance that cloud backup provides. Your data storage backup services can, inarguably be upgraded at a relatively small cost, without grand capex costs by integrating cloud computing in your backup solutions.

Different to cloud syncing

Cloud syncing services like Dropbox, for instance are best if you are a personal user just looking to back up some photos on your phone, for instance. Cloud backup requires much more storage capacity, although some cheaper services will have a 500GB or 1TB limit. These should be avoided if you are looking to utilise the cloud to any great extent as a backup option.

Always encrypt with a password

If you do choose to go down the cloud backup route, although there is always some data encryption of your files on route to the online server (in fact security has massively improved and could be seen as a benefit of using the cloud), you would be wise to further encrypt your valuable data with password protection. You should save your password in a password manager to ensure that you don’t lose it.

It is hard to think of any main reasons why cloud computing is a bad idea for individuals or small businesses. It should, however, always be kept in mind that the cloud is never a one-stop storage solution, but rather a great backup solution.