Cloud computing, often referred to as simply ‘the cloud’, is the delivery of on-demand computing services – everything from applications to data centres – over the Internet on a pay-for-use basis. These services can include software, compute and storage, or computing platforms.
Cloud enables companies to consume these services as a utility – similar to electricity or a telephone service – rather than building and maintaining computing infrastructure in-house or in data centres themselves.
The accepted official definition comes from the National Institute of Standards and Technology, an agency of the US Department of Commerce; “Cloud computing is a model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction”.
Most of us already use cloud technologies today. Many well-known internet-based services like Gmail and Hotmail, Google Docs, Apple’s iCloud, Microsoft 365, Basecamp, Xero, and Salesforce are all cloud-based services. But this is only scratching the surface.
Cloud also includes computing resources companies can rent or subscribe to, in addition to or as a replacement for the IT systems they may already have running in their office or data centre. We will delve more into these in another article on the cloud stacks.
Cloud benefits – the top 10
Cloud enables businesses to treat technology as a utility service, using as much as they need when they need without capital investment or the extensive human resources and planning that are normally required. Put simply; cloud offers businesses:
- Rapid elasticity and scalability
Organisations can quickly and easily increase or decrease their technology usage without the need of costly in-house infrastructure and resources, or time-intensive planning and coordination.
- Capital expenditure becomes an operational expense
As technology becomes a pay-as-you-go model; capital expenditure on hardware, software and licensing can be diverted away from technology investments into things that can grow the business.
- Improved agility
Organisations can rapidly change direction or pursue new opportunities with far less concerns about technology investments, resources and financial commitments.
- Improved business continuity
Organisations can cost-effectively protect themselves from natural and man-made disasters by having their systems and data securely backed up in the cloud, and are able to quickly reinstate their operations to business as usual to minimise downtime and mitigate potential loss of productivity.
- Globalise workforces cost effectively
Organisations can quickly and easily expand around the country (and the world) by using the cloud to securely deliver software, services and business processes.
- Improved accessibility and collaboration
Staff can have access anytime, anywhere to cloud-based services meaning securely working remotely and collaboratively becomes a lot easier to facilitate.
- Economies of scale
Organisations can increase volume output or productivity with fewer technology and human resources enabling them to reduce cost per unit, project or product.
- Fewer technology resources
Less specialist technology personnel are required in-house, enabling organisations to divert salaries and sourcing efforts to growing their business.
- Improved software licensing alignment
Organisations no longer need to buy volume blocks of licenses – they can easily ensure their licensing is directly aligned to their business need by paying only for what they need, when they need it.
- Automatic updates
Time and resource intensive processes like software updates become a managed service that usually happens seamlessly in the background; mitigating resources, planning and loss of productivity.
For more information:
To learn more about private, hybrid and public cloud and how they can benefit your organisation, contact your account management team.
blueAPACHE are one of a handful of organisations who provide their own Australian cloud services to organisations wanting to guarantee data sovereignty in line with the Privacy Act amendments.