What Is the Cloud and What Are Its Advantages For Business?

by | Nov 6, 2019

By using the cloud to run essential programs and applications through the internet, businesses can save time, resources, and money. Cloud-based storage, document management, and other business processes provide a very real competitive advantage for organizations willing to embrace the modern age of business computing.

Understanding How the Cloud Works

While we’re used to seeing clouds in the sky, the cloud referred to in the business world exists in remote data centers, accessed via the Internet. The cloud is a collection of networked computer hardware that works together to provide computing in the form of online services. Although the hardware is not accessible to the public, the applications are.

Virtual machines are created with software that subdivides the computing power, memory, and storage into multiple smaller units that run on their own operating systems. Virtualization helps with document management by allowing multiple users to gain access through the cloud.

Cloud computing is a general term, but it can be divided into three categories:

  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) – big companies rent out immense computing infrastructure to smaller companies
  • Platform as a Service (PaaS) –developers create online applications for specific uses
  • Software as a Service (SaaS) – clients use software over the Internet.

Social media sites, such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, are all examples of SaaS cloud applications. One of the reasons why SaaS is so powerful is that thousands, even millions, of people can interact with the same pieces of information simultaneously.

What Advantages Does Cloud Storage Offer?

For modern businesses, cloud storage and cloud computing involve using the power of the internet to outsource tasks that might have been traditionally performed on a personal computer. By using handy tools that users are comfortable with, simple data entry, information processing, and complex business development processes can be completed by employees remotely, efficiently, and securely.

With cloud storage, users send files to a data server maintained by a cloud provider rather than storing it on their own hard drives. Examples of cloud storage services include Dropbox, Google Drive, and Xdrive. Cloud storage systems are also useful for users that need document management services or require access to group files and folders that are too large to share via email.

Other advantages of using cloud storage services include:

  • Economies of scale – saving costs on hardware, electricity and equipment management
  • Data redundancy and replication – protecting files by keeping multiple secure copies of the same data
  • Backup schedules – moving electronic documents between tiers to backup systems as frequently as needed
  • Malware protection – helps protect shared files from ransomware and malware
  • Environmentally friendly – eliminating paper documents, and reducing power consumption for local data storage

Cloud computing also involves users connecting to a remote computing infrastructure via the internet, but this time that infrastructure includes more than just storage—it includes shared resources, software, and processing power. By taking advantage of cloud computing, businesses free themselves from constantly having to update and maintain their software and IT infrastructure, while still having the processing power of a vast network.

Is Cloud Storage Secure?

Cloud providers typically store hardware in multiple locations, with security features to protect their equipment. Systems that detect smoke, suppress fires, and provide emergency power are standard features of data centers, which are usually secret locations that are heavily reinforced, guarded, and internally protected to prevent any physical harm to the data storage hardware.

To ensure that document management remains secure, cloud systems use authentication processes like usernames and passwords to limit access. While passwords are susceptible to being hacked, service providers also employ a variety of encryption key technology to add an additional layer of security for sensitive business data.

Since online storage companies live and die by their reputation, they spare no expense in employing the most advanced security techniques available, in order to stay ahead of constantly emerging cyber security threats.

Everything we do at Imaging Office Systems is focused on improving document management. We believe that the smarter you are with your information, the more successful you’ll be. Let us help you save time, improve efficiency, and change the way you do business for the better!