Cloud computing isn’t a place, it’s really about a way of doing IT. Essentially cloud computing allows companies or individuals to rent on-demand processing power, storage and software over the internet. The technology is currently being used by 70% of organisations in the US and expected to grow further.
So why is cloud technology so appealing, well, we’ll start with data loss. Traditionally IT departments create backup schedules that generally run once or twice a day. A hardware crash in this scenario can still cause data loss and depending on how critical the data stored on the hardware was will determine the level of disruption and cost to a business. Cloud computing on the other hand saves changes instantly so is constantly backing up your work in real time. Providers of cloud technology such as Microsoft, Google and Amazon store data more than once so should they encounter a hardware crash they have a number of cloud backup systems already in place for this eventuality. Microsoft recently submerged one of their data centres into the north sea reducing significantly the energy needed to provide the cooling of this type of hardware.
Secondly, as long as you have an internet connection and access privileges, you can work from anywhere. In the scenario of a hardware failure, a computer can be replaced immediately and access to documents and files restored from the cloud almost immediately.
Security is improved, using the cloud often removes the need to email document attachments or copy to USB drives. Managing staff access to company data can be as immediately enabled for new starters as disabled for leaving members of staff.
The advantage of scalability in terms of adding more users to cloud software or increasing storage needs is easier. Future proofing a business in this way saves costs, time and lost productivity.
Chitale Dairy in India launched a ‘cow to cloud’ initiative where every one of their cows was fitted with RFID tags (Radio Frequency Identification Device) used to capture data. The data from each cow is sent to the cloud and analysed. The analysis results are then sent to farmers via SMS or web and alerts them if a cow needs to have its diet changed, arrange vaccination etc. This system increases the yield generated from a cow and keeps the animal in better health.