Understanding the Cloud

Where to start?

If you know the cloud, or even think you know the cloud, save yourself five minutes by not reading any further. Come back to our next blog where we will be getting more in depth and should start to challenge your thinking and also answer a few questions.

If you have decided that you want to carry on, then we will start at the beginning.

‘The cloud’ has been THE number one buzz word within the technology industry for at least five years, maybe even a decade. Manufacturers, Distributors, Resellers, Marketers and the press (pretty much everyone related to the industry in fact) have been talking, promoting and pushing companies towards it relentlessly; yet take up has not matched the hype.

Why?

Let’s start by rewinding somewhat. The cloud as it is well known, is just another name for a group of advancing technologies that have been around since the 1970’s. Whether you have previously discussed ‘distributed computing’, ‘virtual private networks (VPN’s)’ or simply ‘virtualisation of technology services’, you have probably been using it since the early twenty first century. Probably the most common use of a cloud service originally came from having a Hotmail, Yahoo or Gmail account: Email that was stored somewhere other than on your own computer.

Of course today there is an endless array of cloud services aimed at both consumers and businesses.

As consumers, we seem to be making the switch to the cloud fairly quickly and without a lot of fuss. Media streaming services such as Netflix and Spotify complement our social media addiction with Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat. We store all our important documents in Dropbox or on Amazon Cloud Servers knowing that terabyte hard-drives are no longer really needed; and whatever happened to USB sticks? 5 years ago you could be guaranteed to collect at least a couple from a conference or trade show. Now our smartphones automatically upload data when connected to Wi-Fi.

So if we as consumers are so happy with pressing on with the cloud, increasingly putting our lives into it, why have business not been moving at the same pace? Why has there not been exponential cloud growth?

There is a fundamental goal within the vast swathe of opportunities that cloud offers to business,:

The cloud should allow users to benefit from the technology, without the need for extensive knowledge or expertise about that specific area. It should help the user to focus on their core business instead of being distracted by IT challenges.

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What we can take from the supposed achievements of the cloud is, that by outsourcing technological parts of the business, the company can focus and remain more streamlined to the key areas where there is revenue.

A great way of imagining this process is that a company is divided into two rooms. In the first room are the products and services that the company makes and sells. The part that brings in the income. In the second room is the engine that drives the company and allows the sales to take place. In most companies both rooms have to be looked after, invested in and must constantly work well together to produce the overall company goal.

In a pure outsourced version, the company only has the single room, so all focus on expertise, training, R&D and investment can be placed into this one room, whilst the engine that drives the sales receives all the investment etc. from the out sourced companies. The cloud allows companies to outsource many if not all of their second room activities to companies that can carry out the desired task on the company’s behalf.

Again this is all very straightforward in writing, but when it actually comes to handing over business critical parts of companies….. Well, at this point serious questions are considered and issues of trust come in to play.

This leads in to a number of different topics that become more specific.

What are the benefits of the cloud for all to see? What SLA’s should be put in place as guarantees? What options are there with cloud deployment? How does video conferencing work in the cloud?

Video conferencing is just one of the many areas that companies consider out sourcing and/or placing in the cloud. There are a number of various options in both the out sourcing model and the cloud, which we will begin to discuss in the next blog, that you can read here

If however, you feel that you want to find out more about the benefits of either video conferencing in the cloud or video as a service (VaaS) now, then feel free to leave a comment or use the contact form to get in touch.

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