What is the Cloud?
Cloud – What’s all this craziness I keep hearing about? OK, here we go, are you ready people? The cloud is just another name for the internet, cyberspace. Yep, it’s just another marketing scheme for information technology. I’m not sure who coined the name cloud, or when for that matter, but it’s just an alias for the internet.
I remember when I was in school for Computer Network Systems nearly 15 years ago, when we would use the “cloud” shape to represent the internet on network design drawings, and still do the same today.
Cloud services are simply servers that provide hosted services that you access using the internet. Network security plays a big role in cloud services. Whether those servers are in a high security data center that have “Security Personnel” with automatic weapons and bullet proof glass, vault type doors and enough backup power to run a small city, or shoved in the corner of Billy Bob’s basement where he boasts “Discount Web Hosting”, bottom line, if you are using the internet to access information, technically, you are using the cloud-based services.
“So what kind of services can I use in the cloud that would benefit my business?” you ask. “The sky is the limit “, I respond… haha, ok, corny joke out of the way. No, seriously, just about any service you host on a LAN (Local Area Network), can be put in the cloud.
E-Mail and Office 365 subscriptions have been big ones to hit the cloud-based market lately. Hosted E-Mail solutions drastically reduce deployment costs. You don’t have to procure servers, maintain hardware, buy licenses, hire an Exchange Administrator, develop a disaster and continuity plan, worry if your internet is going to drop out and so on. You basically “rent” corporate (or non-corporate) E-Mail Solutions for a nominal fee per month per user, with additional options depending on your business requirements.
You can lease entire racks of servers in secure data centers to run your network applications if that is what you choose to do. My entire point of this rant being, you can utilize the cloud to help run your business without huge upfront costs with deploying those same services in your local network.