Though the term Cloud Computing has been all the hype the past year or so, many small business owners still aren't quite sure what it is and how it can help their business.
Advancements in technology and the greater availability of broad band Internet connections are driving down the costs of computing power. With cloud computing, businesses can pay for “computing power” like a utility without having the exorbitant costs of installing, hosting and supporting it. So the easiest way to define cloud computing is: using the Internet to access applications for either personal or business use.
In fact, you are probably already experiencing the benefits of cloud computing in some way, but may not realize it. Below are a number of clouds computing applications, also called SaaS or “software as a service,” you might be using:
- Gmail™, Hotmail™ or other free e-mail accounts
- Facebook™ , Twitter™, LinkedIn™ or other social media sites
- NetSuite™, Salesforce™, ZohoCRM™, Infusionsoft™ or other CRM tools
- Constant Contact™, Exact Target™, MailChimp™ or other e-mail broadcasting services
- Zoomerang™, SurveyMonkey™ and other survey tools
- All things Google™ (search, AdWords, maps, etc.)
If you think about it, almost every single application you use today can be (or already is) “in the cloud” where you can access it and pay for it via your browser for a monthly fee or utility pricing. You don’t purchase and install software but instead access it via an Internet browser.
Keep in mind there is no “perfect” solution. All options – whether they are an in-house network or a cloud solution – has its pros and cons. And which option is best has to be determined on a case-by-case basis depending on your business, how it uses technology, its growth, number of employees, etc. (Warning: Do not let a cloud expert tell you there is only “one way” of doing something.)
Most of our clients end up with a hybrid solution where some of their applications are in the cloud and some are still hosted and maintained from an in-house server.
If you're a business owner and you woulkd like to get more information on cloud computing, you can download a free report at http://www.ciolanding.com/resources/free-cloud-report/ or you can sign up for an Executive Cloud Computing webinar at 11 a.m. June 27. To sign up, go to www.CIOLanding.com/CloudWebinarSignup