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What Is Cloud Computing

What is Cloud Computing

A little background is in order here…..

If you’re confused about the term cloud computing, you’re not alone.  The cloud as a symbol has its origin from telephone network schematics, and it was then adopted to symbolise the internet on diagrams and flow charts.  The cloud is a rebranding and metaphor for the internet.

Cloud computing as a concept dates to the 1960s when companies would rent time on a mainframe.

There are multiple claims to the invention of the phrase cloud computing online; however, evidence points to it first being in print in 1996; in both Netcentric and Compaq’s business plan.  Both Netcentric and Dell tried to trademark it but failed.

In its modern-day context, it was used by former Google CEO Eric Schmidt at an industry conference in 2006.  By 2007 Amazon, Microsoft and IBM were using it.  It’s a buzz word that’s stuck.

What is a simple explanation of cloud computing?

It’s the management and delivery of outsourced IT services over the internet, from remote servers and data centres. including:

  • Artificial intelligence,
  • Data Storage,
  • Networking resources,
  • Processing power,

Cloud computing technology gave us access to smartphones.

Cloud computing is used daily by most of us.  Gmail, Google Docs, internet banking and social media are just some examples of free cloud computing, subsidised by advertising.

An example of a dedicated cloud computing software program is Xero which is used for small business bookkeeping.

Benefits of cloud computing for small business:

  • Renting your software access, storage and hardware; which reduces capital expense.
  • Software updates are automatic and new features available immediately.
  • Multi-user access from multiple devices; anywhere, anytime using your web browser.
  • Automatic data backup and multiple off-site copies keep it safe from theft, breakdown or natural disaster.
  • Data centres and server farms utilise state of the art security systems not available to small businesses, so it is considered as better security by many IT professionals.

5 Features of cloud computing per the National Institute of Standards & Technology (NIST). 

National Institute of Standards &

  1. On-demand self-service: User pays, whenever you need it, like any utility account.
  2. Broad network access: You can access using any device with an internet connection through web browsers.
  3. Resource pooling: Space and resources can be assigned, re-assigned and distributed as needed and are shared by multiple tenants with equal access.
  4. Rapid elasticity: It can grow and shrink without affecting users or their data.
  5. Measured service: It is usually a pay-as-you-go model based on usage.

Are there any downsides to cloud computing?

  • You need an internet connection to access your software and data.
  • Cloud computing may not necessarily be cheaper long term.
  • Migrating existing apps or data may be complicated and expensive.
  • Security concerns, although security breaches are rare and in-house issues more likely.
  • There are additional costs for cloud computing security tools and services.

The different types of cloud computing:

 Software as a Service or SaaS – Is the leading cloud model and the version most are using day-to-day.  It’s software on a subscription basis, running on someone else’s system.  Free ones include Gmail and Xero is an example of a paid service.

Infrastructure as a Service or IaaS – Is referred to as utility computing.  You’re buying raw computing hardware such as storage or servers by subscription.  An example would be the fee you pay for your website to be hosted by the hosting company on their servers.

Platform as a Service or PaaS – For the development of apps using web-based tools, with hardware and systems software provided by the merchant’s server.  An example would be an eCommerce site plus shopping cart, checkout and payment mechanism on App Cloud from Salesforce.

What are the 4 Cloud models available?

Public Cloud – Are provided by companies like Google and Amazon.  Countless users share space and access it the same way.  Gmail and Google Drive are examples.

Private Cloud – Businesses retain control over services and data as it’s behind a firewall, giving extra security and protection of sensitive data.  It still shares some of the advantages of the public cloud.

Hybrid Cloud – Projects in private and data in the public cloud to benefit from both.

Community Cloud – Access to a private cloud shared amongst several co-joined organisations.

Here are some important historical dates in the world of communication and technology; to put things into perspective as to just how far we have come!

  • The first telegram was sent in 1838.
  • The phone was patented in 1876.
  • The telex machine was invented in the 1930s.
  • The first commercial modem was produced in 1962.
  • The first personal computer in 1975.
  • in 1983 work began on the ‘network of networks’ that’s become the modern internet.
  • Windows was released in 1985.
  • And the worldwide web was invented in 1990 to make sense of it all.

No one person or country can take credit for the revolution and technological advances that have exponentially changed how we do business and conduct our lives.  There is no doubt that cloud computing is the cutting edge of today’s technology; and continues to be embraced by more companies and people daily.  Where will it take us next?  It’s going to be fascinating to see and experience.

Tradeskola supply local bookkeeping services in Perth and have embraced cloud computing and cloud-only products like Xero.  If you’d like to know how Xero can transform your business, call us now on 1800 938 238.