Cloud computing has infiltrated nearly every aspect of our daily lives, whether you realize this or not. Our office documents are shared using cloud computing, and even our smartphone apps. Even my Spectrum digital receiver uses cloud computing for all the on-demand entertainment. So there is no getting around the fact that cloud computing is here to stay. What is Cloud Computing? The simplest way to explain cloud computing is to think of it as a computer system. What do you use a computer system for? You store data on it and use it to run programs. Now imagine that you can access your computer remotely. That remote accessibility of computer storage, computing resources, and power is cloud computing. Cloud computing gives you remote access to servers where you can store data. Or use it to remotely store and use programs and applications. And this is one of the major reasons why cloud computing technology is so popular. 10 Things to Know About Cloud Computing Though the technology is fairly new, there have been tremendous advances. If you are considering shifting or incorporating the technology, then you should know this: Multiple Vendors Available Service is Personalized Public and Private Clouding Select Vendors Personally Its Value is More Than Monetary Make a Workflow Model Licensing Agreements Internal Networking Might Need an Upgrade Vendor Evaluation Keep Your Options Open #1. Multiple Vendors Available You might not realize this but cloud computing is not a vendor-specific technology. As Microsoft is a vender specific technology. Most computers run Windows software and use Windows office suites. But cloud technology is more like website development. There are a lot of vendors you can select from. They can build you a solution to your problem by integrating cloud services. #2. Service is Personalized Your Cloud Service Vendor should be able to personalize your service to suit your needs. You don’t need to migrate all your operations to the cloud. Your vendor can make one operation through the cloud, while others can stay as they are. For example, you can shift your email and backup to the cloud. But keep a local file server. #3. Public and Private Clouding You should know the difference between Public and Private Cloud services. Public cloud services are solutions that you can implement easily and are cost-effective. But it is not recommended to store your company’s sensitive information on a public cloud service. Most companies find it effective to implement a Public-Private hybrid model. That way you can use public services for applications like ERP or CRM. And a private service for client lists or financial information. #4. Select Vendors Personally Whenever possible, it is always best to visit a potential vendor. That way you can take a look at their setup. More often than not, vendors advertise cloud hosting services. But the server farm is small enough to fit in their basement office. And their security protocols are substandard as well. A tour of vendor facilities can allow you to trust the quality of service. #5. Its Value is More Than Monetary Migrating to cloud services doesn’t necessarily mean cost saving for your company. Depending on your service details, your setup cost could be high. But there is value in migrating that exceeds direct monetary savings. The benefits of the shift could be increased operational efficiency, flexibility, security and even scalability. It might be a good idea to run a detailed ROI analysis considering all the benefits. #6. Make a Workflow Model Before you commit to integrating cloud services to your business it helps to get a sense of current workflow. Make a detailed account of how things are running right now. Then make a detailed account of how things would be running under perfect circumstances. And another account of how they can be improved. Discuss it extensively with the developers and ask them to share their improved workflow forecasts. It is important to make a calculated decision. Otherwise, you might end up making a considerable investment in a service you don’t need. #7. Licensing Agreements It is crucial to read and understand the licensing agreements. Since you need to incorporate vendor services like Microsoft, a misuse of the license may result in fines. And not just small fines but truly hefty ones. So it might be a better idea to hire professionals to go over the licensing agreements instead. #8. Internal Networking Might Need an Upgrade Implementing cloud services for even one part of your operations might need you to upgrade your networking. Because what you are effectively doing is integrating your closed network with an outside network. So you might need to optimize your security protocols, along with your routing and switching protocols. Additionally, you might also have to upgrade your internet connections for more bandwidth. #9. Vendor Evaluation Selecting the right vendor can have a tremendous impact on your cloud service implementation. So your vendor screening process should be extensive. Ask them as many questions as you can. And judge their solutions to possible problems. If your vendor is being secretive, that’s a big red flag. #10. Keep Your Options Open You should always know your exit strategy. say a few years down the line you want to change your cloud service provider. You should know how long it will take to retrieve all your stored data. You should also know the costs and downtime. Conclusion Today most services that we use daily are connected to the cloud. Right from our smartphones to entertainment technology like the Spectrum App on Roku. The reason is that the benefits of cloud technology far outweigh the setup costs. But you should analyze your particular business model. Find out exactly how much your company can benefit from the technology.