Cloud computing first came to my notice when I tipped thecontents of my coffee mug onto my Macbook Pro and congratulatedmyself on having the forethought of regularly backing up all of my fileson an external hard drive. Only to find that when I had purchased thereplacement laptop and plugged in the external back-up drive, it too,was faulty!
It was a wake-up call in terms of the business implications oflosing all your files. Luckily, I found a geek service, which managed tosuccessfully recover the data off the external drive. But it was a lessonI heeded well so I embarked on a journey to discover the virtual worldand what it can offer to business.
For those not yet in the know, “cloud” computing simply refersto the internet. It is about accessing your information and programsvirtually, rather than having the information/programs sitting on yourcomputer.
• The cloud offers flexibility, It means you can connect to yourbusiness from anywhere and anytime.
• Cost benefits are also a consideration. Rather than paying for costlyprograms, for example, that you may not need to use too often,you can subscribe to a platform-based program
• Collaboration Capacity – you can use cloud computing tocollaborate on documents and communicate with others workingwith your organisation• Flexibility of work practices – in the age where working from home(or anywhere) gives us more freedom, this is a definite advantage
Of course there are sometimes risks involved in terms ofsecurity, data protection and continuity, when working in the cloud environment.
Each business considering working virtually should have a Plan Bin place in the case of disaster, whether it is a natural disaster or to dowith the service provider’s reliability, it is important to consider youroptions prior to commitment.
The Australian Government has provided some valuableinformation on security considerations here at: http://www.dsd.gov.au/infosec/cloudsecurity.htm
I personally welcome the development of Cloud computing, as Ibelieve that the benefits far outweigh the risks for me personally, butthen I am not a large corporation and the risks for me are smaller.
In short, every business must consider both sides before plungingdeeply into the Clouds – after all, in a business sense, it pays to beproactive as you would much prefer to soar than to sink!
(Digital Consultant, Business Storyteller & Social Media Trainer)