So that is the cloud concept, but what is the official definition of cloud computing? According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the official definition of cloud computing is:
“Cloud computing is a model for enabling convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction. This cloud model promotes availability and is composed of five essential characteristics, three service models, and four deployment models.”
To say that cloud computing has evolved tremendously since those mainframe days is a serious understatement. The foundation for the cloud has been building for quite some time. The client-server era that launched in the 1970s introduced the local area network, which allowed users to access data and applications from a central server. Salesforce.com and Google in the 1990s brought a whole new phase. Organizations could now access enterprise applications over the Internet and the search engine opened up streams of information to the everyday user. This was the beginning of software as a service (SaaS).
Jump to the new century and you have Web 2.0, Amazon Web Services and social media. These advances truly revolutionized shared content and remote access to data, applications, storage, and servers. As a result, the groundwork was set for cloud computing and the phrase “cloud computing” emerges.
As an on-demand network, the cloud has been a game changer for organizations. The cloud provides for a new way of doing business. Testing and development is ideal in a cloud environment; cloud backup and storage frees up internal resources; shared applications and infrastructure on the cloud reduce IT expenditures.
In particular, small-to-medium businesses have been enabled to compete with their enterprise foes. The cloud makes it cheaper and easier to start and scale a business. Small businesses can access technology and capabilities previously only available to enterprise size organizations. Platforms, networks and ecosystems are no longer exclusive to cash-happy enterprises. For example, small businesses can access the same software, hardware, and infrastructure resources that big business uses, allowing them to compete on price and delivery. In addition, small businesses can now utilize cloud-based accounting and/or payroll systems to eliminate the stress and expense of that previously in-house manual process. Now that consumers can get the same result through a smaller, more customer-focused business, the playing field is equalized and costs are driven down.
The benefit of cloud for small business is evidenced by the Intuit research study released in August, 2014. This study reports that the percentage of U.S. small businesses using cloud computing is expected to more than double by 2020, from 37 percent to nearly 80 percent.
Cloud Computing Secrets to Success
What are the primary outcomes of a successful enterprise cloud model?
- Lower IT costs
- Faster time to market
Achieving those outcomes is attainable, but comes with challenges. Issues of security and cloud provider downtime are concerns that must be put to rest before a solution can be developed. This is where your cloud partner is of most value.
The secret to cloud success is the selection of a trusted cloud partner that has the expertise and experience to help you achieve your cloud objectives. Customer testimonials, vendor relationships, proven methodology and strength of staff should be identified and vetted during the selection process.
Flagship Solutions Group has developed a unique and leading edge methodology, called Infralytics, to help its customers develop the best solution for their situation. This combination of infrastructure and corresponding analytics ensures your cloud is secure, efficient and working at optimal performance from the beginning.
Flagship initiates the analysis by collecting data about your company’s physical and virtual infrastructures, including data from servers, storage, networking, and software. Then the data is analyzed and actionable insights are presented to key stakeholders through customized, easy-to-understand dashboards. The more you know about your current and proposed environments, the better your chances of avoiding costly mistakes. Flagship can also help facilitate the implementation phase of your private, public or hybrid cloud deployment utilizing industry best practices to ensure data integrity and effective connectivity.
In summary, your cloud service model should enable cost savings and ease the burden and personnel resources required from the IT organization. Choose your cloud service provider wisely. With cloud, knowledge is power.
Schedule a consultation today to learn more about how Flagship can add value to your cloud strategy.