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Head in the clouds, the world in your pocket – Part 2


In part one of our cloud computing blog series we explained what cloud computing is. To refresh your memory take a quick read here. This week let’s look at the opportunities the cloud brings with it.

Cloud computing benefits

The benefits for individual and business consumers are numerous. Simplicity, lower costs and mobility are three of the biggest reasons people are joining the cloud movement.

Simplicity

For consumers, the cloud offers a sense of simplicity and a unique chance to be unfamiliar with an underlying technology yet still be able to take advantage of the benefits of it.

Irene Hazilias, Marketing Manager for HRMWEB’s cloud solution easyEMPLOYER points out why this is so attractive to the everyday person “you don’t have to worry about how or why the technology works, you just sit back and enjoy it. It’s like when you pick up a phone and dial a number to call someone, you don’t want to know all the ins and outs about how the signal travels to the other person’s handset.”

Low Cost

Using cloud applications does not require IT savvy, nor does it require large amounts of cash. Possibly the biggest benefit of the cloud is to the consumer’s wallet and a businesses’ bottom line. Previously, IT solutions were available to the consumer as a software package bought straight off the shelf or for businesses through even more expensive custom made solutions built upon a base of expensive IT infrastructure. Now consumers can get pretty much any software solution they need without spending a dollar. More advanced solutions, especially those for business, will require an investment that is only a fraction of the price of non-cloud alternatives.

Also, the devices end users require to access cloud applications can be relatively cheap given they don’t need loads of processing power or the latest in hardware technology. “Essentially, all of the grunt work is done in the cloud which means consumers and businesses need only a minimal investment in hardware to get involved”. Michael Hazilias.

Mobility

The most exciting benefit is that the cloud offers ultimate mobility – both for consumers and businesses. The cloud opens up a whole new world of anywhere, anytime, any device access to all the services you need to live your life, do your job or conduct business. Cloud computing allows a user to move all of their information from their desktop to applications housed in the cloud. You then have wireless, mobile access to all of that information and media from anywhere with an Internet connection and with any device that is capable of running a web browser.

“The cloud untethers you from your desk, your computer or any other such physical ties. With the mobile phone having morphed into a tiny super computer connected to high speed data, the sky’s the limit. Communication, collaboration and interaction between people and entities is now independent of location. You can essentially carry all of your information, your whole life and indeed the world around in your back pocket.” Irene Hazilias

Collaboration

Additional cloud benefits include the unprecedented ease of communicating and collaborating with others, as nothing needs to reside solely on your desktop where only you can see it. Documents, photos, music, videos can all be stored in the cloud where it is shareable and visible to everyone or to a subset of people you select

There’s also the peace of mind factor from having all of your information residing in the cloud, which is unaffected by such things as a consumer’s hard drive corrupting, CDs degrading, the loss of a phone or laptop or disasters such as flood or fire at a place of business. There’s also an environmental benefit to using the cloud. Less energy is used by individual computers as they are not required to be so powerful and devices won’t need to be upgraded as often so there’s less hardware waste ending up in landfills.

Cloud Concerns

As obvious as these benefits may seem there is still reluctance for some to engage with the cloud. Concerns lie mainly within the business sector and are focused on a fear of giving away control over data and the security of the cloud and cloud providers. Businesses doubt that applications and data could be as well guarded as they could be sitting in their own in-house systems.

“Hesitation regarding the cloud is understandable and is very normal for any concept that is ground breaking and innovative – concerns will subside with education. Remember that these are the same issues that people had with internet banking. But look around today and most people and businesses are using e-banking for highly sensitive financial transactions.” Michael Hazilias, CEO, HRMWEB

So what does it all mean?

Back to the hype surrounding cloud computing, it’s not all good news for the cloud. The activity surrounding it is also to its detriment.

“Hype gets a technology noticed, but it is not what gets it accepted. The attention actually scares people away from utilising it. There have been many technologies that have disappeared after the hype has subsided. People are wary of anything that comes with its own marketing hype”. Irene Hazilias.

All hype aside cloud computing holds tremendous potential, and the benefits to consumers and businesses are many and obvious. Even so, the cloud won’t really come into its own until it reaches the end of the hype cycle. When it’s no longer being discussed as a ‘new’ or ‘special’ concept the cloud will have achieved the type of understanding and acceptance that will enable it to become so ingrained in our day to day life that it will barely even warrant a mention.

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Want to learn more about cloud applications that make your business better? See how we give our clients an easy way to manage their workforce (you know all of those annoying, frustrating and time consuming tasks like rostering, time collection, award interpretation, payroll etc) using cloud based software to do your staff admin!