By Waypoint co-founder, Tony Shannon
(Article originally published in July 2012 issue of Greater Charlotte Biz magazine)
Everybody’s talking about Cloud Computing these days, and most of the conversation is so high in the sky that it’s hard to understand and harder to believe. It’s true that the Cloud is transforming business—in fact, it’s quickly becoming the new business utility, in the same way that email and Internet went from cutting edge innovation to a basic necessity for keeping up. But talking about the “Cloud” doesn’t have to feel like a flight into the unknown. In reality, the Cloud is a pretty down to earth concept.
In short, Cloud Computing refers to an off-site data center that you access through the Internet, paying as you go for as much as you use. Applications in the Cloud include those as simple as data back-up, and as complex as customer relationship management.
Examples of commonly used Cloud applications include SalesForce, Dropbox, and Google Apps. You know you’re using a Cloud solution if you pay for it monthly, get your updates automatically, and can access your data from any device, anywhere you have an Internet connection.
But don’t let Cloud’s simplicity fool you. Failing to understand its power can leave your company struggling to keep up with Cloud-savvy competitors. Here’s why:
Whatever your size or industry, chances are there’s a Cloud solution that can revolutionize your business. Most companies don’t realize how much capability they’re missing out on, and for how little money they can significantly enhance their business.
Consider the recent case of a commercial fire prevention and security products company. An established business, they had long faced the challenge of coordinating people inside and outside the office, developing quotes and proposals, and dealing with security and sales issues throughout multiple territories. Their traditional hardware and software systems were messy, complicated and increasingly unmanageable.
A Cloud-based solution simplified everything for them. A Cloud file storage system gives their employees instantaneous, on-the-go access to exactly the information they need. The system shows up on each employee’s device as a simple drive, so it’s intuitive to access. Company leadership can control each employee’s level and type of access, ensuring the security of their data and software at all times. Additionally, because the data is redundantly backed up to locations on both sides of the continent, even a major disaster won’t prevent them from continuing business as usual.
Every company is different, but no company can afford to ignore the potential of Cloud-based solutions.
Posted on: 02.20.13