Posted by : Amanda Stein Monday, April 15, 2013

Cloud computing has exploded in recent times as a highly efficient and secure way of sharing information online. The multiplicity of platforms and servers supported by this computing system promises to revolutionise the business world forever, as well as reshape the way we interact with each other and with our mobile devices.

Here we present a few important facts about cloud computing. To kick things off, a bonus fact: when it comes to the cloud, believe the hype.

Fact #1: The cloud is only going to grow

While the idea of the internet as a “cloud” isn’t exactly a new one, the concept of cloud computing remains a relatively new and developing one. Whether viewed narrowly as a mere upgrade of traditional utility computing, or more broadly as an all-encompassing system of online consumption, cloud computing offers what IT is always in need of. This includes the efficient increasing or adding of capabilities without extra investment in infrastructure, having to train new personnel, or licence new software.

Cloud computing remains in its relatively early stages of development, however the support it offers through providers utilising software as a service (SaaS), network as a service (NaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS) suggests its significance as a way of the future in online communications. The cloud will only grow.

Fact #2: The cloud is there to be accessed anytime, anywhere

It is arguable that the rapidly gathering momentum of cloud computing is being driven by the increasing popularity of mobile devices in the workplace. The physical office is no longer the sole workers’ hub, as laptops, tablets and smart-devices allow colleagues to interact and pursue common goals in real time, regardless of where they are. The importance of building and delivering apps within the cloud which can facilitate this kind of work then becomes of great importance for those professionals specialising in cloud computing.

Data integration is also central to the development of cloud computing, allowing for huge amounts of actionable information to be stored and processed online, and then accessed whenever needed. Knowledge is power, and it seems that all the knowledge in the world will one day be accessible via cloud computing (whether you’re at home, on a plane, or on the other side of the world to the rest of your co-workers). Similarly, maintenance becomes far easier, as cloud computing applications do not need to be installed on each user’s computer.

Fact #3: The cloud is both robust and secure

Cloud computing offers users the ability to develop their own virtual private network for storing important, often confidential, information. There’s no doubting that “cloud computing” easily conjures images of a flimsy and highly fallible system, made untrustworthy by its sheer intangibility. Such reservations are, in fact, dubious. Stemming from its high level of flexibility, cloud computing allows providers to employ sophisticated security measures for their clients and customers, including firewalls, multifactor identification, Identity and Access Management, and many others. These defences are invariably upgraded the moment such upgrades become available.

Cloud systems also allow you to store your files redundantly and on multiple servers, guarding against a power outage isolating you from your work, or a malicious hacker invading the disk-drive on your on-site server. It is the intangibility of the cloud that makes cloud computing so broad and so secure, whether you work for a data centre in Sydney or a real estate agency in London. Its development continues, but these features look set to consolidate.

Fact #4: The cloud is flexible

A key feature of cloud platforms is their scalability: networks are easily enlarged to accommodate growth, without exceeding their means when a smaller amount of work is required. This malleability underlines the essential flexibility of cloud computing. If you need to increase your capacity you can, or if you don’t need much you scale it right back (and you only pay for what you get, of course).

Cloud computing exists to fit your needs, and to change with them, rather than remaining the same regardless of your changing circumstances (like an in-house server does). Basically, cloud servers are designed to be responsive to your specific needs, saving you time, space and money while hopefully curtailing the aggravation that unreliable technology so often inspires.

Fact #5: The cloud isn’t going anywhere

Cloud computing is, ostensibly, here to stay. IT is changing, and so with it the entire world of online communications and business. Well over a third of IT budgets worldwide are now spent on cloud computing; businesses are re-evaluating their models, with cloud computing becoming an actual business priority rather than a mere IT solution. The vast and highly secure online entertainment platforms made possible by this computing also demonstrates the pervasiveness of what it can offer both businesses and their customers in their everyday lives. Cloud computing is only going to continue its acceleration. If you haven’t joined the revolution, there’s no time like the present.

Author byline: Katie Teng is a media graduate and freelance writer who has jumped right into the cloud. She certainly believes the hype, and hopes every data centre in Sydney (and, for that matter, the world) does too.

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