A Beginner’s Guide To The Cloud
A commonly adopted but sometimes poorly understood technology, this month, Jamie Durham — founder of IT support provider, Systemwork — gives us the lowdown on the cloud.
While it’s been around for many years now, the pandemic saw an increased interest in migration to the cloud as people throughout the country — from a vast number of different job roles — needed a way to stay connected with their workplaces amid the mass move to working from home.
Those who’d previously shown little interest in its benefits, began to rely upon the technology to access the resources they depended upon daily. Whether that meant retrieving client records as part of a customer service focused role, logging on to in-house invoicing systems as part of the credit control function, or even accessing emails quickly and securely — cloud-native solutions suddenly became a vital part of working life.
But despite being able to access tools with the simple click of a few buttons, many people still have a limited understanding of what the cloud is and how, exactly, it benefits them. If you’d like to learn a little more, here’s an overview of the basics to help make sense of just a few of the things that cloud can (and probably already is) doing for you…
So, what is it?
Put simply, the cloud replaces much of the ‘clunky’ equipment that businesses have historically housed — such as on-premise servers and storage. Instead, it allows us to get rid of these unnecessarily large and costly appliances and, instead, take advantage of improved, slicker and smarter versions of these technologies which are conveniently hosted over the internet.
Access anytime, anywhere
The main benefit for most people, is the ability to access cloud-based information from whenever and wherever they please, via an internet-connected device. Now vital for many workplaces, the cloud goes a long way to making the flexible and hybrid working patterns that many have begun to enjoy, a reality.
Work or personal
And often without people even realising it, the cloud also features in many of their personal lives — with social media applications including Facebook and Instagram, as well as email platforms such as Gmail, and much of the storage on their mobile devices, also hosted in the cloud.
This allows workers to easily store and retrieve real-time digital records such as invoices, payslips, and even tap into data to compile up-to-the-minute business reports. Personally too, individuals can use the cloud to check their live social media feeds or access emails, without needing to log in from a particular location or device.
Consistency and collaboration
With everyone able to access systems remotely, consistency can be maintained when it comes to the saving of paperless documentation. This ensures that everyone can see and work from the most recent version of a piece of work, meaning no version control issues.
In addition, colleagues are able to collaborate effectively — whether via shared documents or virtual meeting spaces. In modern hybrid working environments, this proves especially valuable.
Rather than being stored in individual company premises as was commonly the case for many organisations, cloud services are located in highly secure data centres all over the world – which means that protecting sensitive data is easier than ever. Better still, the people looking after that information are employed with this entire purpose in mind — meaning that data security should never be an after-thought.
With cloud computing, many software updates are automatically applied which means that programmes are kept up to date, without the need to spend hours manually installing update after update — leaving more time to spend tackling priority tasks.
As many people take steps to try and live more sustainably, cloud adoption is on the rise. Reducing the need for physical hardware in every building, it also minimises the carbon footprint from such technologies – as well as the difficulties in correctly disposing of these devices when they reach end of life.
The natural next step for companies who haven’t yet discovered its benefits, the cloud isn’t as daunting as it might sound – with many of us already using the technology daily.
If you enjoyed hearing about cloud technologies, why not take a look at some previous IT-related hints and tips listed in the articles below.