Whether you have heard of cloud computing or not you are almost certainly a user of it and probably have been for years:
- If you use online email services such as Gmail or Hotmail you are a cloud computing user.
- If you use photo-sharing sites like Flickr or Picasa then you are a cloud computing user.
- If you backup documents to Dropbox or SkyDrive then you are a cloud computing user.
Cloud computing is simply a system whereby data storage, and often applications, are freed from local infrastructure constraints and stored on internet-connected servers.
A survey by The Economist Intelligence Unit and IBM in 2012 found that almost three quarters of business leaders have used cloud services already and almost all will implement cloud solutions in the next three years.
So if cloud is the past, present and future, how can you use it to deliver benefits to your organisation?
Applications in the Cloud
The most powerful cloud applications not only store information online, they also provide applications that run in web browsers negating the need for local software. The applications are commonly referred to as Software as a Service (SaaS).
Microsoft already have a version of Office available to use online through your web browser and Google Docs has been providing a similar service for years. Salesforce is another great example of SaaS with contacts and sales information merged with cloud-based email and wrapped up in a single application to allow users to manage sales and marketing operations from any location. Google have even created an operating system, Chrome OS, that runs entirely using cloud applications. This must surely be the ultimate example of thin-client.
The benefits are clear and simple to understand:
Remote working – Not just the ability to work from home or any other location with an internet connection it also allows remote sites to see that same information as a head office without the need for complicated and expensive Wide Area Networks (WAN). It also removes the need for secure desktop virtualizations systems such as Citrix which connect to organisation’s own servers.
Collaboration – Organisations that work together and share data no longer need their own separate systems and it guarantees that everyone is using the same application and looking at the same data in real-time.
Reduced infrastructure costs – There is no need to hold datasets on expensive internal network servers and no need to install client software on all computers. Furthermore, because cloud applications work on any computer it enables employees to use any suitable device – even their home computer.
Energy and the environment – Studies by Microsoft show that by moving business applications to the cloud, organisations can save up to 90% on CO2 emissions per user. Reducing local power consumption is also a clear benefit as well as freeing up network resources for other applications.
MAAPcloud and your organisation
Now you are aware of the benefits of cloud computing and SaaS, please take a tour to find out more about what MAAPcloud offers.