Cloud computing is IT provided as a third party service, like a utility, rather than as a product.
‘Cloud’ is actually a metaphor for the Internet and your company’s information is held on an external server, accessible remotely, via the Internet. Software packages can be accessed online rather than licensed for each user and a company’s IT infrastructure can be entirely virtual, and based on the cloud.
There are a number of clouds companies can choose from i.e. Microsoft, Amazon, IBM, and Google. Clouds can be public, community, hybrid or private.
A concern using cloud computing is how secure you need the system to be. Integrating with existing IT systems and infrastructure can be complex and there can be privacy issues.
It’s cheap: you pay only for what you actually use
It’s fast: you can skip hardware procurement and capital expenditure – particularly ideal for start-ups
It’s current: software is consistently updated
It’s flexible: the cloud can cope with sharp increases in workload
It’s mobile: you can access your systems wherever you are
It’s green: less IT means less electricity
Hard to customise: cloud-computing tasks are standardised. If you require a different approach, it will cost you more
Needs a fresh approach: some people are reluctant to make the switch
Security worries: you can’t be 100% certain your data will be safe unless you move to a private cloud
Poor application performance: network latency is an issue when using a ‘public’ cloud
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