Though most technology users have a vague idea of “the cloud” (we industry insiders having perhaps a bit clearer of a picture) the vast majority has no real concept of just how prevalent and influential cloud computing is in both our personal and professional spheres. Many industry experts agree that cloud computing is a significant driver of innovation and growth in technology and how both businesses and consumers interact with it.
The ability to store massive amounts of data in the cloud rather than on in-house hardware creates efficiencies for businesses of all sizes. Many organizations have adopted cloud-based solutions for infrastructure and networking, removing the need to invest and maintain on-site systems. By that same token, there are instances in which the investment in the cloud solution is unnecessary for the size of certain tasks so many companies have adopted a hybrid approach, which blends the use of both cloud and on-site technology, depending on the scale. The hybrid approach minimizes wasted investment in both technologies.
So what is the real savings potential of moving into the cloud? Matt Rosen, CEO of cloud service provider Fusion Telecommunications, claims, “Median operating cost savings for our clients are in excess of 30 percent.” This opens the door for small businesses to take advantage of enterprise-level solutions, the high cost of the necessary hardware having formerly been a major barrier. Many small and mid-size businesses are shifting company email and HR functions to cloud-based solutions.
Cloud computing is also opening the door to international data markets, as shown by Google’s recent decision to open up its cloud-based app building tools to run on other companies’ servers, connected via AppScale’s technology. This move actually provides a possible answer to data residency issues and cloud balkanization laws, which dictate data use and storage policies, in some countries. Engineers can now utilize this cloud-to-cloud connection to run their apps from on-location data centers in countries that require it, opening up giant pools of potential users.
Though it has many applications, the core value of cloud computing is scalability. Scalability is an issue that plagues any new invention in some way or another, but the volume of data we deal with today and the multiple channels and devices through which we utilize it makes scalability especially crucial. It is this benefit that has also enabled a massive wave of innovation in technology that has had continuing ripple effects across many markets.
Tech users, and one might argue people in general, are constantly looking for ways to simplify and streamline their busy lives. Technology plays a huge role in “life-hacking,” as exemplified by the use of digital applications such as banking tools and doctor-patient portals, across multiple devices including mobile. Cloud computing creates the possibility of accessing every online tool in your arsenal through a single platform, on any device, and the implications of that are huge and long-lasting, and most likely just getting started.
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