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the cloudHome > FileMaker In The Cloud > What Is The Cloud?

The Cloud Explained

The Cloud is another name for the Internet or the web, it's how we use it that properly defines it.

If you use a web browser to access and store your email then you are effectively a cloud user. The Cloud has become a short name for cloud computing, where you 'do things' over the Internet rather than on your computer's hard disk or your office network.

The Cloud is evolving and technologies are moving towards making this the default way of working. Google Docs is probably the best known example of being able to work on your documents, spreadsheets and presentations, from pretty much anywhere and on most computer and mobile devices. Companies such as Microsoft have reacted with their Office 365 offering and Adobe with their Creative Cloud.

It is mobility that is driving cloud adoption. The rise of iOS (iPhone and iPad) and Android, with the re-emergence of Apple's Macintoshes, has further increased the requirement for non hardware specific software, which can be worked on from home or whilst travelling without penalising their office based peers.

Cloud technologies vary from entirely web based systems to those being offered by ourselves that provide the full capabilities of a desktop application.

The main benefit mentioned above is mobility; giving people the choice of how and where they work. However, there are many other benefits worth mentioning, such as:

Reduction of capital investment: No longer do organisations need to invest in hardware that will be obsolete in 3 to 5 years, or software that needs an annual upgrade or maintenance payments. We, like many others, have moved to a monthly rental module that covers all aspects of using software based solutions.

Less office space: It is no longer necessary to have space reserved for unnecessary servers and backup systems.

Lower running costs: It is often said that the cost of running and supporting computers far exceeds the initial purchase price. Essential tasks such as software support, hardware maintenance, back-up, disaster recovery and often training. have been moved to the cloud suppliers. Hidden costs such as electricity are reduced as servers no longer need to run 24/7 at office premises.

Premise moves: We've all been through the logistical nightmare of moving. With a cloud based system there is no longer any need for downtime while your servers are moved from the old office to the new. As soon as the Internet is working you can move to your new desk with your computer and continue to work. A nice alternative is to work from home or a coffee shop while the relocation work is happening!

Yes, there can be disadvantages, the most often cited being "what happens if your Internet connection goes down?". In our experience, regardless as to whether people have cloud based systems or not, wait for the complaints as email and web access fails! Most new telephone installations are now voice over IP (VOIP) and we firmly believe this counter argument no longer stands.

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