There certainly seems to be considerable momentum driving the ongoing development of cloud computing platforms. With the big names like IBM, HP, Dell, Microsoft, Amazon, and Google very much in the mix, there must be something to it. If you are like most of us, you are already using cloud computing, if only to host your personal email accounts. Does it make sense to consider some of the other cloud alternatives for your business computing as well?
With all the competition, prices are becoming very competitive, making it a good time to explore your options. There are all sorts of cloud based software solutions that may be a good fit for your needs. Many of these offer some basic entry level version for free, allowing you to test it out before you subscribe. You could start with Microsoft Office 365, or Google Apps for your word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation software.
For basic file backup, sharing and collaboration with teammates or customers, you could take advantage of Microsoft’s One Drive, Google Drive, Box or Dropbox. These options may also integrate with the word processing and email solutions to further simplify file handling.
One of the most common cloud based software conversions is Customer Relationship Management. There are a significant number of companies hosting their CRM systems with cloud based providers already. Making this information available to the entire team, anytime, anywhere, on any device offers obvious advantages, in addition to offloading the IT costs related to maintaining the system.
To take advantage of the same benefits, you may also want to consider hosting some of your other software applications like your accounting system. Creating a private cloud for your more sensitive computing needs can provide the flexibility and convenience of the cloud, while keeping your data safe and secure.
Following are some additional resources:
Is there a cloud in your forecast?
The cheap, convenient cloud (The Economist)
IT's cloud security concerns do not correlate to actual failures (InfoWorld)