What Is “The Cloud”, And How Can It Help Your Business?

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If you’re a business owner with any web presence whatsoever, you’ve probably come across messages like this in your inbox:

“DoubleHorn is a leading cloud based Managed Services Provider, founded in January 2005 and based in Austin, TX. We specialize in delivering Cloud Services, Managed Communications and Consulting to the Enterprise, Government and SME (Small and Medium Enterprise) sectors. If you are new to the cloud and not sure how to get started, contact us.”

You also probably think every time you read something like this, “Yes I AM new to cloud services, but I’m not going to contact you just so you can up-sell me a robot I don’t need!” While we understand the impulse, the cloud is the way of the future, and cloud assessment services may well be right for your company. But first, let’s demystify all that jargon:

1. What is “the cloud?”
The cloud refers to any software or internet service that uses the internet rather than your computer as its running place. If this is confusing, consider these comparisons; that Harry Potter computer game from 2003 you bought for your kid: your computer. Netflix: the cloud. The DVD burning software you made your vacation slideshows on: your computer. Dropbox: the cloud.

2.Why might cloud computing be good for your business?
The specifics of this answer depends on the kind of business you’re in, but 59% of businesses and government agencies say that computing in the cloud makes sharing important data across different platforms a snap. (For example, if you use the cloud version of Microsoft Office, you can do a group edit with your colleagues, rather than fighting with track changes and emailing it all back and forth). There also seems to be better communication between the development sector and when new projects are put out to the public if it’s all being done in the cloud, rather than at 30 different desk tops. Finally, by using the cloud you could cut your spending on tech infrastructure in the office by up to 30%!

3.What exactly are cloud service broker companies and what are they trying to sell you?
Cloud service broker companies are basically companies who know cloud computing inside and out and sell their knowledge and expertise to business owners like you, who might not be as computer literate but would still like all the benefits cloud computing has to offer. Cloud service broker companies can offer many forms of cloud assistance, including setting you up with some much-needed cloud software, a user friendly interface for cloud services, and more efficient internet storage options.

If your interest has piqued in cloud servicing, we recommend consulting with one of your IT people or a somewhat knowledgeable liaison before beginning the cloud service process. And if this process seems overwhelming, take comfort in the fact that you’re not alone. Over 50% of businesses have had just such a meeting to update their cloud presence, or plan to within the next year.