It’s in the cloud: What cloud computing means for you
Are you in the cloud? Are you in the cloud and don’t know it? To answer those questions, first we’d better define “the cloud.” Think of it as using the Internet to store data and programs instead of the hard drives in your office computer or network. The simplest example is Web mail. If you have access to email through a browser program, you’re already working in the cloud. But the cloud is more than email.
Small businesses typically use the cloud for subscribing to software and services. This is called Software-as-a-Service, or for the geeks out there, SaaS. A common service like Dropbox or SugarSync stores synced copies of files for you and selected coworkers to access with any computer, tablet or phone with a connection to the Internet. Without that connection, there is no cloud computing. That bears repeating: If you don’t have a fast, reliable Internet connection, forget about “the cloud.”
Software vendors have started moving their applications to a subscription service. Two of the most prominent are Microsoft Office 365 and Adobe Creative Cloud. This marketing strategy enables them to even out their sales volume, but is it beneficial to your bottom line? Let’s look at some cloud products from software industry leaders.
If you’ve been upgrading software only when replacing computers as a capital expenditure, subscribing to software will be an accounting change, which brings an increase in your monthly expenses. Before making the leap, run the numbers to see the effect it will have on your total cost of ownership. After these calculations, you won’t have your head in the clouds; you can make an informed decision about one of the fastest growing segments of business computing.
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