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Cloud computing is a relatively new data storage and processing concept that has all the top tech companies competing for cloud domination. Imagine the ability to access your files from any computer at any place on earth, coupled with the fastest processing speed available regardless of your operating system. This is the promise of cloud computing: an internet-based solution to the traditional problems of variable storage, accessibility, and speed of computers. But the implications are more far-reaching than just personal computer use: this development may be the solution that allows start-ups to overcome the traditional hurdle of business investment.
The core idea of cloud computing is that information is stored in the ‘cloud,’ which is a metaphor for the internet based on its depiction as a cloud in flow diagrams. People can access applications like Word or Excel online, then create files and store them ‘in the cloud’ as well, so that they can be accessed from any computer with Internet access. The software and data are stored on centralized servers, all located in a facility owned by the cloud provider – say, Google or Yahoo! – which provide extraordinary computing power due to an economy of scale.
Many different networks already use this model of data storage. Facebook or LinkedIn, for instance, maintain all their user data on centralized servers, accessible from the internet anywhere. This is how peer-to-peer networks, social networks, and e-mail providers traditionally operate. Expanding this paradigm to all types of data – from business documents to music storage – would potentially free all personal computers of the cumbersome task of archiving every bit of a user’s information. Not only would this increase the ease of personally navigating, opening, and uploading files, but it would also imply dramatically lower capital costs for firms. Instead of having to purchase servers and software capable of being used by multiple employees simultaneously, a firm can subscribe to a cloud provider for a low cost, specify the computing capacity it requires, and capitalize on the provider’s economy of scale.
more of the Cloud Slam post from Nikola Milanovic