March 15, 2013

What’s this thing about cloud computing?

For many businesses today, breaking even, is faster with the application of technologies.

Applying technologies also demands making decisions that deliver cost savings and increased revenues. These are the pressures of almost every Nigerian business manager today and also why it becomes imperative to look the cloud computing way.

What is cloud computing?

Cloud computing is a way of aggregating software and hardware services for the purpose of accessing them on the Internet, rather than through local hard drives and servers. This method of computing makes it easier and more affordable for SMBs to use enterprise-grade technology solutions provided by third-party providers rather than invest in expensive technology, more personnel and system upgrades.

Contrary to common assumptions, its not about sitting down in the cloud with a computer on your laps. Cloud computing is like an advanced concept of converged infrastructure and shared services.

Some of the providers like Google, will always explain that they got involved in cloud services due to how consumer applications are evolving faster than business software.  Before technology grew to this level, the best technology was only accessed at work.  But now, the tools in our personal lives are even better and also occupy larger spaces – the iPad, iPhone, or the 10GB Gmail inbox, which can not be compared to the 500 MB inbox at work that requires constant deleting of emails to free up space.

Today, mobility has erased the thin line between work and play.  Employees are becoming consumers too, demanding the same flexibility of access at home, in the offices. Such freedom increases productivity but it comes with a biting cost

Benefits Mobility – Because employees can access cloud-based programmes and software from anywhere they have an Internet connection and from nearly any device, cloud computing enables SMBs to mobilize workers and provide them with all the tools they need to do their jobs, whether they’re in or out of the office. Moreover, cloud computing allows for greater collaboration between remote and on-site employees, making audio, video and Web conferences, as well as document sharing and instant messaging programmes, easily accessible.

Increased security and reliability – When you use a cloud-computing solution, your business data resides in a secure, offsite location and will be backed up frequently or automatically and sometimes even geo-redundantly in multiple locations. These data-backup features provide greater peace of mind as well as business continuity should disaster or unexpected disruptions to your business occur.

Lower costs – If you’re looking to cut costs, cloud-based services can provide many avenues to savings from server maintenance, power and cooling, IT personnel, software licensing and upgrade expenses.

Scalability – Cloud-based services operate on a subscription-based payment model, a feature that allows for greater flexibility when it comes to technology usage. You pay only for what you need, when you need it.


However, some people have reservations about the cloud. The biggest challenge to the cloud is the resistance to change -anything which represents a fundamental shift in the way things are done is going to take time to understand.

There are also some notable misconceptions out there about the risks, like system security and reliability especially as the owner  is no longer in control of where his data is kept.

But in many ways, cloud computing can be more secure than hosting data yourself.  For example, it generally takes 30-60 days for businesses to patch a vulnerability in their own computer systems.