What is ‘The Cloud’ ?

By • October 21st 2015

Cloud

‘The Cloud’ has become a very popular term/phrase in IT in recent months/years – but what does it really mean? As with lots of IT phrases, it is not always clear to the layperson.

Originally (a few years ago) ‘The Cloud’ was used to describe companies who relocated some of their servers to data centres – this was done to improve access from various branch offices, and also to improve security, and to reduce costs. These organisations would then connect to their servers over their own direct network connections. These became known as ‘Private Cloud’ environments.

Then, as internet connectivity has improved over recent years, many other organisations also started housing servers into data centres. Around the same time, many software companies began to realise the benefits of having their software product available over the internet. It would mean companies would not need to buy and maintain expensive servers themselves – they could simply ‘rent’ the use of these software applications and access them across the web… (software companies also loved this idea, as it gave them significant recurring revenue opportunities – so it was a win-win situation for all concerned)

Some examples of companies (and solutions) who have really got this model right are Microsoft with their Office 365; a brilliant way for organisations to have world-class email solutions at a fraction of the cost to implement themselves. Another is Dropbox with their Dropbox for Business – superbly executed file and folder sharing for individuals and companies alike.

Another great use of ‘The Cloud’ is online (off site) data backups. Whilst it is great for organisations to back their data up locally (ie onsite) – it is also highly recommended they also back up offsite – and the simplest and easiest way to do this is to have a ‘Cloud Backup’ solution in place. Automatic. Cheap. Secure. And reassuring.

These solutions (and many more) can really improve the IT for all sorts of organisations – as well as reducing costs – and removing the many headaches of IT.

So, What is The Cloud? It has come to represent services and software which are accessible over network connections (both private – and internet based) and it is something which all organisations should consider very seriously.

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