What is Cloud Software?

Oct 13, 2014

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Where Your Data Really Goes

We all know that cloud software is cool and cutting edge, but what does that really mean–cloud software? How does it work? And how secure is it to use? Well, lets find out.

What is cloud software?

A good example is a commonly used web-app called DropBox. The idea with DropBox is that you drop your files, photos or videos in this “invisible box” that can then be accessed by anyone with internet access. This type of cloud computing is gaining popularity among small businesses and large corporations because it is easy to use and more reliable than traditional servers. With cloud computing, you can reduce costs and increase productivity.

As for what is offered, the software that is offered in the cloud varies greatly, but every app is created in an effort to streamline a company’s infrastructure creating an easier way to access and share important data. Some distinctions in apps are SaaS or Software-as-a-Service apps like Dropbox or Microsoft OfficeLive. Others include PaaS, Platform-as-a-Service or IaaS, Infrastructure-as-a-Service. With PaaS being used to carry out specific tasks within an organization and IaaS being used to control an operating system that helps run a businesses software.

How does it work?

To get an idea of how cloud software works, let’s look at Google’s email service Gmail. The idea behind cloud computing is that you create content that is saved or stored “online”, when really is being stored on a server somewhere in the world. This is how Gmail works. You create content in an email and then send that content to an “address”. That information is sent to “the cloud” (really, one of Google’s secure servers) and then is delivered to the correct destination. This all happens in a matter of seconds. Which is why it is so convenient to use.

With this description, we can get a better sense of why businesses are choosing the cloud over their own warehouse of servers, because it’s cheaper, faster and much easier to update.

How secure is it?

This may be the most important question of all, because if it’s not secure, why would anyone even think of using it. Especially in light of the recent hacks into big retail chains like Target or Home Depot.

To test the security of the cloud lets look at what measures are taken to keep the cloud from leaking drops of important information.

First off, nothing is ever completely secure because of the human element included. Even if data is secured by passwords and firewalls, a person can ruin all of that if they are bribed or just bored.

Secondly, your data is your responsibility. Even if you hand it off to another company, you need to ensure that your data has constant security checks to limit potential hacks.

Third, “control does not mean security”. To ensure that your data is more secure, control who you give access to. Because oftentimes it’s not about where the data is stored-on your server or someone elses-but, it’s about who you give access to using it.

So overall, cloud computing is a better choice than the traditional server. It’s less expensive, more versatile and ultimately more secure.

Here’s a fun infographic explaining how the cloud can work to help grow your business.


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