As companies try to shrug off the effects of a slow economy, the importance of streamlining business processes and cutting down on various operational and capital costs has become more apparent in order for them to survive. Taking such steps, of course, should not be made without proper planning, as streamlining shouldn’t disrupt your company’s work flow, and cost cutting should never come at the price of productivity.
Cloud computing is a buzzword that has been passed around in various business circles for quite a few years now. Promising a more efficient and less expensive way of handling various commercial activities mainly, but not limited to, IT services, cloud computing offers companies either Infrastructure, Platform or Software services (or combinations thereof) that allows these businesses an alternative in developing their different departments without having to invest heavily for constant changes in the needs of their employees.
By providing individual users access to either software or hardware (or both) to fit their requirements, and to be able to change those levels of access without having to purchase additional software licenses or hardware, cloud computing gives managers the ability to easily adjust and adapt their departments in relation to business demands, an advantage that can mean the difference between profit and loss, and a huge reason why cloud computing is drawing so much attention.
So how does cloud computing work anyway? What are the ways that enables cloud computing to cut costs, and yet still provide an efficient IT infrastructure? Cloud computing accomplishes this by shifting the majority of the work that is usually done by local IT departments, that is, maintenance of databases, controlling access to applications, and services related to these databases and applications to a separate network of computers (referred as the cloud, thus the name) that is operated by a cloud computing provider. With this setup, local computers need only run the provider’s interface software, which can be as simple as accessing the internet through a web browser. This centralized control of information and access to that information that is given by a cloud computing provider eliminates the need to purchase additional units and applications as new employees are hired, or conversely, eliminates rendering applications and units, that would have been bought otherwise, not being utilized when employees leave. Because the hardware involved in a cloud computing system exists at the provider’s end, modifying access to applications locally involves only minor entries, speeding up any changes in relation to business requirements without affecting work flow.
The advantages that cloud computing offers has undoubtedly changed the way in which modern business works, providing an alternative way to build an IT infrastructure that turns what would have been an expensive capital investment into a more manageable operational expense. With many companies looking for ways to cut costs without affecting quality, and efficiency of operations, it is not surprising that cloud computing remains one, if not the top choice for managing IT related functions, and will probably stay that way for a long time to come.