Cloud computing is the delivery of computing services such as servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics and more over the Internet. In its essence, cloud computing is the idea of taking all the heavy lifting involved in crunching and processing data away from the device you carry around, or sit and work at, and moving that work to huge computer clusters far away in cyberspace. The internet becomes the cloud, and your data, work and applications are available from any device with which you can connect to the internet, anywhere in the world.
The rise of cloud-based software has offered companies from all sectors a number of benefits, including the ability to use software from any device, either via a native app or a browser. As a result, users are able to carry over their files and settings to other devices in a completely seamless manner. Cloud computing is about far more than just accessing files on multiple devices, however. Thanks to cloud-computing services, users can check their email on any computer and even store files using services such as Dropbox and Google Drive. Cloud-computing services also make it possible for users to back up their music, files and photos, ensuring that those files are immediately available in the event of a hard drive crash.
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Cloud computing offers big businesses some serious cost-saving potential. Before the cloud became a viable alternative, companies were required to purchase, construct and maintain costly information management technology and infrastructure. Now, instead of investing millions in huge server centers and intricate, global IT departments that require constant upgrades, a firm can use “lite” versions of workstations with lightning fast internet connections, and the workers will interact with the cloud online to create presentations, spreadsheets and interact with company software.
The biggest cloud computing services run on a worldwide network of secure datacenters, which are regularly upgraded to the latest generation of fast and efficient computing hardware. This offers several benefits over a single corporate datacenter, including reduced network latency for applications and greater economies of scale. Cloud computing makes data backup, disaster recovery and business continuity easier and less expensive, because data can be mirrored at multiple redundant sites on the cloud provider’s network.
Businesses can employ cloud computing in different ways. Some users maintain all apps and data on the cloud, while others use a hybrid model, keeping certain apps and data on private servers and others on the cloud.