I thought I would take a closer look at what cloud computing really is. Have you given it any thought? Cloud based systems are relatively new, and the services they offer sometimes scare a person, and not show them how much these systems can actually be helpful.
Ok, So what is cloud computing?
Simply put, it is a network online that you can use . Virtual offices were quite popular at some point, and are most likely still used a lot today. Virtual offices, with word processors, spreadsheets, online file storage, and the ability to have people read what you have written and offer advice or critique, is all cloud based. Let’s get a little closer to home.. email. We all use it, right? Here’s the thing though, if you use MSN, Yahoo, or Google, you’re using a cloud based system. What everyone thinks is a new system, has practically been around for years, and we’ve all used it from time to time. Another example, if you use online banking? There is a chance its run on a cloud based system.
Surprised? I would be. Cloud computing has been around for a long time, it was just not used a lot because of the lack of resources and the costs it would take to set it all up. Think about it this way. Cloud based systems are a lot like a LAN (Local Area Network) set up in a large company using data-centers etc. The only difference is that you use your local internet connection to use the cloud based system, and the data-center is remotely controlled by administrators.
You can now start to see where the advantages come in to using a cloud based system right? You don’t have to have your own administrative workforce making sure that servers are running 24/7, you don’t have to give out hundreds, if not thousands a year to keep an I.T team handy for any problems that may happen, you don’t need to install software, which means your home or office computer is a lot less cluttered, and you don’t have to download or install any big update files, which saves you on bandwidth used, which can be an issue for many new companies in some countries. It’s an honest to goodness no mess – no fuss system to work with.
With Cloud based document management systems (DMS), The same rules apply as would any found in a cloud based system. All you have to do is log in, work as you usually would, and log out. No mess – No fuss. Everything is taken care of for you, giving you less to worry about. It’s one of the best advantages cloud based systems can give you.
Of course, as with any software, hardware or practically anything in life really, it has disadvantages, but amazingly, some have gone the extra mile to make sure that these disadvantages are taken care of.
For example: Security.
You’re pretty much putting yourself online using any cloud based system, but a few actually protect you. Yes, you do get a secure login and password, but its generated by the system itself and is only available to you. Even the system generated password is changed the minute you login for the first time. So you have complete control.
The only people that actually see anything you work on, are your own employees / or colleagues. How does that work? Simply put, you share a slice of server space, as you would when you create any website and upload it to a host. This server slice belongs to your company only, and can only be accessed by admin and users you add to the system.
Another example: Data loss.
I’ve heard that one so many times before, you wouldn’t believe me if I told you. Data loss due to crashing servers, computers finally wheezing their last breath as you hit the upload button, its always going to be there. Once again, also taken care of. Automatic backups are created for you, keeping your data safe. These are stored on not one, but a few other servers, so when something goes wrong, you will not lose anything.
Another one I have heard too often. Some systems do cost an arm, a leg and maybe a kidney or two, but some that are just as effective cost a fraction of the price. They work in the same way, with maybe one or two added features you never thought you would get.
What are your thoughts? Do you share my opinion or do you have experience that proves otherwise? I would love to hear from you.
- Challenges of cloud computing in healthcare integration (zdnet.com)
- Cloud security fears exaggerated, says federal CIO (infoworld.com)