One well-used definition of Cloud Computing is, “a set of software services supplied over the Internet which is utilized on an on-demand basis.”
And while Cloud Computing is being touted as the next big paradigm-shift in business IT infrastructure, your small or medium sized business is, in all probability, already using a plethora of Cloud Services.
Let’s start with the core of most business communications technology today – eMail. If your firm is using MS Outlook or Outlook Express connected to a “POP” account or a Webmail interface – then you are using cloud-based email. The email hosting services are being provided to you over the internet by your hosting provider.
What about your website? Do you host it internally? Do you have a webserver connected to the Internet? Probably not. You have a hosting provider who is delivering this service for you.
Do you have employees? How do you pay them? Do you have an inhouse payroll system to calculate taxes, withholdings and benefits? Do you print your own checks? My guess is that you don’t. Most small businesses today enter their data into a secure, web interface hosted by a Payroll service provider – another cloud-based service.
Have you joined the “social media bandwagon” to tout your business? Do you have thousands of followers on Twitter or Facebook, hundreds of links on LinkedIN? Yup. You guessed it. More cloud-based services.
So, while your business’ next step may be to eliminate the servers that you do have and move more services to the cloud – perhaps your accounting system or document storage or CRM – you’ve already begun the great migration. You just didn’t realize it.