There’s no doubt that the world of information technology is changing rapidly. The majority of these changes can be utilized in daily business. The businesses that don’t utilize this technology will be left behind and see their market share tumble. Unfortunately, this rapid development and the way many big businesses have set up their infrastructures make it very challenging for businesses to keep up with these changes.
An IBM survey compiled in 2010 revealed that most CEOs are aware of the issue but less than half of them believed their companies were able to deal with these changes. The complex computer infrastructures set up in many of these businesses actually make it harder for them to react or predict market changes.
There’s now a new tool on the market which has been growing rapidly over the last couple of years and may assist with this problem. Most people will have heard of cloud computing but may not know exactly what it is or does. The most important aspects that people and CEOs in particular should be aware of are:
The cloud is an online system rather than a physical in-house system. Documents and files are stored on the cloud and can be accessed from anywhere in the world – as long as you have the access rights. A particularly good benefit is that these files can be accessed on any device, using any operation system. Information can be shared in an instant with any company member or if necessary outside organisation.
Online storage and access also increases productivity. Time is not wasted going through IT departments when new users need accounts set up or access to certain files. Sharing of essential documents on any job can be done in a second by the employee involved in the job.
This may not have been an intended part of the cloud but it has been applied very successfully in various big businesses. Employees across multiple sites and even countries can all connect via the cloud and ask each other for help with anything. Not only does this reduce interruptions in managements time it allows the staff to build a rapport. Additionally, they can influence and create the company systems of the future.
A huge amount of data passes through the cloud and there are many analytical programs which assist with understanding and predicting customer behavior. The cloud has also been found to be useful in studying the operational data of a company. The many small, low level transactions can be automatically monitored and programmed to flag up a warning if something out of the ordinary happens. This allows the relevant staff to investigate the issue.
Developing and hosting applications
Traditional companies need to buy and configure their own servers. This is an additional challenge to any firm whose employee’s time is already limited. It can also be a considerable expense to ensure the system is capable of handling the need. By placing the application on the cloud the capital expenditure and set up time were drastically reduced and the application was open to more employees than would otherwise have been possible.
As with any new development there are a number of concerns. All these concerns are being dealt with and will be resolved – time is the deciding factor in most of these. The main concerns are:
Many people have suggested the cloud is more costly than traditional servers. However, all research compiled so far suggests the opposite. The cloud is a cost saving and will be increasingly so as computing costs decrease.
There are concerns that you will be able to do little to resolve an issue with your cloud provider where previously your IT employees would resolve an in-house problem. The answer to this lies in cloud providers improving their systems to have back up plans should part of a system shut down. Users of the cloud should develop similar back-ups. This would provide two viable alternatives in the event of a system failure.
As with any data sent via the web, there are questions over how secure the information is. The right password will allow you to access all the information on a particular cloud. In essence this is no different to a traditional in-house server. Cloud providers are working hard to protect and monitor potential security threats. They are also working on one area of weakness in the cloud – the ability to limit which documents can be seen by employees.
By Daniel Lewis and Conosco.com!