Cloud computing is defined in the simplest terms as using distributed computing on a network, usually the internet, for data storage, management and processing. SkyPrep for example, is a true cloud service, as an online training software that is 100% web based in terms of accessibility and hosting. Testing and training employees is done entirely online. A true cloud is not like a physical server because it relies on distributed computer functions across a number of machines. It allows processes to be scaled up or down based on the expansion of the network, rather than the hardware capacities of an individual server. Clouds come in many shapes and sizes from full public service to mixed and hybrid systems that use elements of traditional servers for managing some of the information. Cloud computing is getting a lot of attention these days, and with good reason. Both supporter and opponents have weighed in on the potential opportunities and risks associated with working in the cloud.
Proponents of cloud computing have highlighted a number of advantages. It allows network administrators to effectively allocate resources based on demand and usage, making it particularly effective for organizations with employees working in diffuse geographic locations. It also changes the cost structure of operating a server. A fixed server means buying the expensive hardware up front and depreciating it over time. Cloud computing means paying for service as you use it, decreasing the start-up cost for small and medium firms and allowing rapid resource scaling as the organization grows. From an employee standpoint, it allows staff to work collaboratively in real time on the same project. This can improve efficiency, foster communication between co-workers and allow staff to quickly adapt products to changing needs.
Organizations considering the shift to cloud computing should carefully consider the advantages and disadvantages for their particular organization before making the move. Small organizations just starting out with little in the way of proprietary or sensitive information may find the cloud advantageous. Established firms with sensitive data may sometimes find the opposite dependent on the service provider. With SkyPrep, sensitive data exposure is never an issue. Cloud computing may be the way of the future, but with legal and service norms still being worked out from some cloud providers, it’s a step that should be taken only after careful consideration and analysis of the provider. Be sure to go with the right cloud computing company, as a good one can make all the difference.