Cloud computing has become a popular trend among small businesses and large companies alike. The practice, which consists of storing data on the Internet in the "cloud," instead of on- or offsite in servers, has the potential to save entrepreneurs from spending profits on storage for email, calendars and other common necessities.
Moving these services to cloud is so popular, even large organizations are joining the trend. In fact, The Gazette reports that the state of Iowa is saving millions of dollars by making the switch.
"By moving to the cloud, the state can avoid... future costs and we expect significant gains in productivity, efficiency and a better use of state systems overall," Matt Behrens, Iowa's chief technology officer, told The Gazette.
According to The Huffington Post, "industry analysts predict the cloud computing market to exceed $190 billion by 2020." This growing industry is helping many small- and large-business owners simplify their communication needs. "In many cases, the cloud computing model is more efficient than an enterprise model due to economies of scale," The Huffington Post reported.
Additionally, users of cloud computing have options when selecting their service. Small-business owners may choose from Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS). CIO reports that, "with SaaS, the cloud service provider hosts your enterprise applications and associated data on its servers and storage systems." This option has users pay a fee per user per month. According to CIO, "with IaaS, the provider offers virtual machines, physical servers, storage, switching and connectivity resources to run your enterprise applications on a pay-as-you-go basis." One option provides subscribers with flexibility to control applications independently, while the other gives a more structured choice.
Furthermore, CIO reports that "in contrast to legacy hosting services, which often locked companies into contracts for multiple months or years, today's cloud computing services are offered by the month or based on the consumption of resources."
For those who are concerned with their privacy and that of their customers, new laws and regulations are currently being enacted to ensure security. The Hill reports, "Bipartisan legislation, introduced last month in the House and Senate, promises to reform and update the antiquated Electronic Communications Privacy Act and in the process push back against the practice by agencies of government to gain access to personal data stored on U.S. corporation servers abroad." The Law Enforcement Access to Data Stored Abroad Act is based on the principal that United States law enforcement may not use warrants to disclose customer content stored outside the U.S. unless the account holder is a U.S. person, according to The Hill.
"Although some business owners are accustomed to their traditional method of email, calendar and data storage, switching to cloud computing may be a more beneficial option."
Additionally, IT World reports that "on February 26, 2015, the FCC ruled in favor of 'net neutrality' by reclassifying broadband access as a telecommunications service and applying Title II of the Communications Act of 1934 to Internet service providers." This means that those who utilize cloud services should not experience blocking, throttling or paid priority traffic, resulting in an equal experience for all users. ZDNet asserts that providers are "banned from charging Netflix more than Amazon for Internet access or 'fast lanes.'"
One reason for the increased efficiency is that with traditional data storage, business owners are responsible for security and management. However, with cloud computing, users have the option of choosing their own plan and ownership. Additionally, as CIO reports, "A cloud computing service lets you expand and contract IT resources" as the needs of a company evolve. Furthermore, "cloud computing gives you the ability to refresh an aging infrastructure" without capital expenditure. Switching to this process can update systems at minimal cost.
Although some business owners are accustomed to the traditional method of email, calendar and data storage, switching to cloud computing may be a more beneficial option. It's not only a current popular trend, but also the potential future for all technological storage. Its benefits range from cost savings to convenience, which is why it may the future of data management for small businesses, large companies and government alike.