The Purpose of Cloud Computing Service Providers
Cloud computing service providers are a fairly new breed in the IT industry. The potential advantages they can unleash for your business are huge: the potential for confusion, when you are trying to work out just what it is they actually do, and why (and hence who to go to for the provision of the kinds of services you actually want) is huge. So here are a few bits of information to help you find your way around.
Cloud computing is a concept, more than a technology – which is to say it is a new way of approaching the use of existing technology. Rather than owning the software involved in that technology yourself (which, as a business user, can often require large expenditures in terms of annual licenses and the upfront costs of the packages themselves), you lease it from cloud computing service providers. That is, the service providers that run cloud computing stations for your industry own all the latest software and tools, and you pay them a monthly or as you go fee for their use.
The advantages of this kind of scheme are immediately obvious. You might not be able to afford the latest and best versions of all the commonly used software in your industry. You probably can’t justify the expense of a piece of software that is only used very occasionally in your industry. But when your cloud computing service providers own it all already and you just have to pay to hire it – well, then you can afford to use the best of everything whenever you need it.
The issue of replacement and maintenance vanishes at this point too. It is the cloud computing service provider who bears the cost of replacing an obsolete piece of software with a newer one; or of having bugs in software attended to. You don’t have to worry about anything at all – you just hook up to your cloud computing service providers’ network and start using what you need, when you need it.
This is a lot more like the model of the Internet that we were always encouraged to believe in when the information superhighway first came out. Cloud computing is the ultimate file sharing ideal – a way of using the speed and power of internet networking to give everyone access to the best possible software for their needs.
There are security advantages here too. You don’t host the software you use on a computer of your own any more. It all stays on a server owned by your cloud computing service providers. That means you have a smaller window of opportunity for security threats to your own hardware – and your service providers, of course, as major businesses, will have invested in extremely robust security of their own.
Not all “cloud computing service providers” are the real deal, yet – the term is too new and hasn’t yet been clearly defined by its users. Suffice to say an Internet cafe is not a cloud computing service provider – but a company that leases the use of high quality software, is.