“The cloud” is a tech phrase that is now used ubiquitously in the business world. However, while it is often said, it is rarely explained. What does this nebulous term refer to exactly? We’ve provided the following guide to the cloud, cloud-based services and leveraging those services in business. If you have a vague idea of what the cloud is but want to learn more, or if you have a client who would like to better understand cloud-based services, this blog post could be a helpful resource for you.

The Cloud

So what is it? Obviously, data is not floating around in stretches of fluffy cirrocumulus. Simply put, the cloud refers to software, services and storage on the Internet rather than on a local computer. It is a network of servers connected to the Internet. It is because these servers operate on the nonphysical Internet, rather than on a physical machine that “the cloud” was adopted as a metaphorical appellation.

Why Does It Matter?

Today, it is almost impossible not to encounter the cloud on a daily basis. Servers like Google Drive, Apple iCloud, Netflix, Dropbox and countless others are cloud computing. These and others servers use the cloud to deliver services, run applications and/or store data. For example, if you would like to utilize Adobe’s Creative Suite (Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, etc.) you no longer purchase a physical box set. Instead, you pay a monthly subscription fee to access these cloud-based services on the Internet. The cloud is now part of daily life and daily business.

The cloud is not just pervasive, it is also a useful business tool. With the cloud, professionals can access information on any device with an Internet connection, allowing for increased flexibility. The cloud enables an employee to edit a Google Doc on a home device and then pick up from the same place at the office the next day. Additionally, the cloud offers a space where colleagues can easily collaborate on and manage projects together. The cloud encourages increased mobility and cooperation in business.

Furthermore, because remote servers handle cloud computing and storage, businesses no longer have to invest in expensive hardware. Instead, owners purchase only the services that their business uses. This reduces capital expense and allows for scalability.

So What Now?

It benefits your business to leverage cloud-based services. However, it is important to be aware of the pitfalls of the cloud. Because so much of your productivity relies on Internet access, a highly accessible and reliable IT-infrastructure environment is crucial. In addition, because your sensitive data is stored online, you need to implement an efficient network security system.

While the cloud is a useful tool, it requires expert management. Invest in IT cloud-management services. IT management companies can help you administer and organize heterogeneous cloud resource allocations; supervise end-user access; monitor security and more. If you are interested in leveraging cloud-based technology to grow your business, consider partnering with AIS. We can help you navigate the cloud. Start the conversation today.

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