The Advantages of Cloud Computing to Both Individual Consumers and Large Businesses

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The Advantages of Cloud Computing to Both Individual Consumers and Large Businesses

Today there is much discussion about cloud computing. Some folks are for it, some against it, and many have no idea what the discussion is all about. What is cloud computing and why should you care?

Cloud computing basically refers to the use of external networks. For years when diagrams have been drawn, cloud-like shapes have been used to designate external networks. Someone, somewhere, starting using the term cloud, and it stuck.

An external network, or cloud, is merely data that is provided and/or saved on external servers that belong to someone else. Many of us have been using cloud services for some time without really realizing it. Take your email service, for example. Do you use a major email service such as Yahoo! or Gmail? If you do, whenever you log into your email account you are really logging onto an external server upon which your emails are stored. When you save an email, it is not being saved on your computer, but on an external server, or cloud.

Another example often cited is Netflix. When you watch a film on Netflix you are actually watching a film being shown on a Netflix server or external network – you are not watching a film that has been downloaded onto your computer.

Today companies such as Apple are beginning to promote cloud services more enthusiastically. For instance, Apple has introduced the iCloud. With this service Apple stores all your content from your Mac, iPad, iPod Touch and iPhone on their external network. It then uses this data to keep all of your devices up to date — with no syncing required by you. You are provided immediate access to all of your music, photos and apps on all of your devices. Nothing is required by you because it is all managed by the iCloud service.

The biggest benefit of this service is the accessibility to your files from anywhere you happen to be. You are not restricted to working off one computer. In fact, it is this benefit that is the biggest driving force for iCloud sales.

Obviously individual consumers can benefit, but can cloud computing also benefit businesses? Many large companies believe they can realize tremendous benefits by using cloud computing services. In fact, Verizon recently announced the purchase of a cloud service company and it is believed this purchase was made in an effort to enter Verizon into the business-to-business area of cloud computing.

One of the benefits to businesses is scalability. For years companies have fought with the problem of not enough computing power versus too much. Computer networks are expensive to set up and oftentimes even more expensive to expand. With cloud services companies are able to pay strictly for the services they use.

Many companies also like the concept of safety. Cloud services back up documents as they are worked on. Also, large cloud service companies can provide superior online security and more secure storage.

There is little doubt that as this concept grows, more and more companies will specialize in cloud services for specific industries. Isn’t it easy to imagine businesses such as accounting firms, law offices, or medical practices having cloud services that provide data and storage designed just for them? Over time we will no doubt see more and more specialized cloud services added to more and more specific industries.

The Advantages of Cloud Computing to Both Individual Consumers and Large Businesses

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