Two words that have begun to strike fear in the heart of office workers these days are: The Cloud. So much has been discussed and talked about concerning the Cloud – and his potential to revolutionize how offices work – that people have a hard time understanding what the Cloud actually is. Here’s a simple explanation:
The Cloud, as it relates to office work, is essentially a central storage area for documents and software applications. Rather than have your own personalized copy of a word processing program on your desktop, you and everyone else in the office will access a central copy of the software program stored in the Cloud.
The actual physical location of the Cloud could be somewhere within your own office complex (particularly if yours is a large company), but oftentimes the Cloud is physically located elsewhere. This allows for a central maintenance location that can be managed by specialists. It’s almost like moving your IT professionals to another building where they then work alongside other IT pros, all under the same corporate canopy. And all with the same goal: Efficiently managing all of your company’s electronic information and resources.
One reason that companies are moving to the Cloud is to reduce the burden on their IT people, who would have to perform software installations and updates on each and every device that employees use to access software and files. These days, that amounts to a desktop system, a laptop, a tablet and at least one smartphone for every employee.
Building on this idea, it’s not hard to see that companies would also stand to save money by switching to a Cloud-based system. Experts say that workers with a need to continually access a company’s knowledge base (software and files) from several devices have created an opportunity to offer per-user licensing fees for programs rather that per-device fees. This savings can happen by switching to a Cloud model rather than the old install-everything-on-every-device model.
While some have raised questions about the security of data when stored offsite, others have consistently said that data is more secure in the Cloud than on individual devices.
That debate will likely continue for some time. One thing is fairly certain: Many businesses will be switching to the Cloud model in the years to come. Concerns about the switch are likely to be eased as more and more companies make the transition.