How Cloud Platforms Are Shaping The Face Of Business
December 3, 2012 Leave a comment
Cloud platforms stand poised to revolutionize the IT needs of businesses around the globe. From complex calculations and distributed processing to applications hosting and software-as-a-service capabilities, these platforms are becoming increasingly popular for businesses of all sizes. As with any new technology, there are concerns about cloud platforms. However, it is quickly becoming apparent that cloud services are here to stay. These are some of the many ways that cloud platforms are changing the face of business in the digital era.
What Are Cloud Platforms?
To understand how this new technology is influencing businesses, you must first understand how cloud platforms work. Cloud platforms are essentially a remote data center that businesses can use to store data or run applications. From basic file storage and retrieval to complex applications and websites, cloud platforms are capable of offering a number of services and benefits to businesses of all sizes.
Cloud Platform Benefits
- Efficiency: When applications and services are hosted on site, a business must first purchase all of the hardware and software necessary to provide the service. With cloud platforms, access to many of these needs is nearly instantaneous. Each attribute of the cloud platform, from processing power to storage capacity, can be optimized to suit your business needs. Though service terms differ between providers, this often means you can pay for exactly what you currently need and use. With most of the administration and IT work taking place at the data center, this also allows your business to spend less time and money worrying about infrastructure.
- Scalability: Technological needs can change quickly for your business depending on a variety of factors. When this occurs, you may find yourself forced to upgrade equipment or risk being unable to provide services for your customers or employees. With cloud platforms, this upgrade is as simple as contacting your provider and adjusting the terms of your service contract. This level of scalability allows your cloud platform service to grow with your business and allows for greater flexibility in trying new options and services.
Cloud Platform Concerns
- Security: Storing data and applications on remote servers often brings up questions of data security. In most cases, cloud platform providers utilize bank-level encryption, permanent data wiping, storage encryption and other features to ensure that your sensitive data is safe from unauthorized access. However, you should always inspect your service level contract and ask questions about any security services provided. With cyber-attacks and identity theft on the rise, all it takes is one security breach to destroy your business’ reputation.
- Vendor Lock-In: Many cloud platforms offer a number of proprietary services and APIs. When these are used, your business runs the risk of being unable to transfer data or services to another provider should the need arise. Checking available services and features before signing a contract will ensure that you can transfer your data and application between providers with minimal interruption and expense.
Popular Cloud Platform Providers
- Amazon AWS: This platform features SAP certification, pay-as-you-go usage and a global network of data centers using the same hardware used to power the Amazon network.
- Microsoft Azure: From shared remote servers to dedicated virtual machines, Azure offers flexibility with pay-as-you-go pricing and a large set of features.
- Google Cloud: Proprietary data analysis and the Google Compute Engine are just a few of specialized services offered through Google Cloud.
Jordan Carron is an expert in business development. In his free time he reviews Time Warner Cable’s internet services for businesses.