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Cloud Computing Explained

The term cloud computing is everywhere, but what is the cloud, how does it work, and why should you consider using it? Let’s explain cloud computing.

Defining the Cloud

The cloud is a physical infrastructure, with a network of servers sitting all over the world, each offering a different function, such as processing information, running applications, and storing data. Cloud computing is the practice of using the cloud hosted on the internet to store, sync, and access data and programs, rather than using a dedicated network attached storage (NAS) hardware, server, or local storage such as your computer’s hard drive. This allows you to access your data on virtually any device, as long as there’s an internet connection, rather than resorting to the external hard drives and USBs of years past.

At an enterprise level, cloud computing is popular for IT managers focused on maintaining stable systems used by hundreds or thousands of employees. In order to fully understand the extent of the cloud’s potential risks and benefits for small companies, it is best to properly explain how cloud computing works.

Explaining How it Works

Cloud computing services range from full applications and development platforms, to servers, storage, and virtual desktops. Previously, we have explained the various cloud computing service models and their database security. These service models may be accessed through a co-located cloud computer service, a web service application programming interface (API) or by applications that utilize the API, such as cloud desktop storage, a cloud storage gateway or Web-based content management systems.

Take Dropbox as a SaaS cloud storage example: when you upload your files through their web application, you’re actually making copies of those files stored in several of the company’s very physical servers, for data recovery purposes, around the world. It is also then made available to any other of your devices connected to the cloud provider. When you then access it on any of the devices, it is retrieved from the servers for use.

Benefits of Cloud Computing for Businesses

From a technical point of view, relying on the larger network of computers and servers the cloud provides makes perfect sense. Because you are distributing the load across several powerful servers, it can do the heavy lifting, meaning you don’t need to worry much about individual computers’ hardware specifications like RAM or hard drive space. Further, the IT department can rest with the knowledge that the servers are constantly updating, cloud web apps are reliable, and if one server crashes, there are others to pick up the slack.

Of course, there are a number of security issues associated with the use of cloud computing that should be kept in mind for businesses, and the IT department should constantly evaluate before and after a move to the cloud.

Cloud Computing Security Issues for Businesses

Once your company’s data is in the cloud, you lose some basic control over it. Depending on which cloud storage service used and their terms of service, that file is now owned and controlled by that corporation. If you want to delete that file, you are trusting your cloud provider to delete all the copies of the file on their data servers. If you are already on the cloud, learn the best cloud security testing techniques here.

If you aren’t already, it is time to consider getting your head in the cloud. Take our Cloud Readiness Assessment to see if your company is ready to shift to cloud networks. The Cloud Computing Reference Architecture (CCRA) helps explain cloud computing architecture for companies large enough to consider designing their own cloud. At Vita Enterprise Solutions, we understand it’s not always viable to create your own cloud system, and can work with you to ensure that you get the best cloud solution for your business. Talk to us on 1300 139 310 or enquire online

 

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