What Is the Cloud?
Raise your hand if you don’t really get “the cloud.”
The more engaged we become with technology, either as businesspeople or consumers, the more tech terminology creeps into our everyday language without, necessarily, explanation.
For consumers, adoption of cloud storage or services is easier than it is for businesses. You can easily sign up for cloud storage and park your photos online then view them from any device. All for a low monthly cost.
For businesses, however, the decision to outsource hosting and maintenance of a data silo or the entire computing infrastructure of the company is not so easy.
First, there is a model to choose in cloud-based software. Many cloud-hosted solutions follow the Software-as-a-Services model in which a business pays a monthly fee for use of the host’s server, operating system and software, all delivered over a secured network—the Internet, or a virtual private network or VPN). Takers have no need for software downloaded to user devices. Their employees need only a Web browser.
Drilling a level deeper, the SaaS model is divided between single-tenant and multi-tenant implementations. The single-tenant option keeps your applications and data separate, each accessed from the cloud through a thin-client interface.
The multi-tenant option enables access to a single copy of the software in the cloud. Each of the provider’s customers using the software has its own separate and secured database that includes customizations of the software created for that client’s particular needs.
As the service provider typically has the solution in place, implementation of a cloud-based solution is swift. Software upgrades, server maintenance and load balancing, data backup and recovery, and security usually are treated as priorities and included in the monthly cost of the cloud solution.
The planned upkeep of cloud-hosted enterprise software and related systems sync with the provider’s preparation to scale any single client’s use of the solution up or down as needed. The infrastructure is there as is the experience in adjusting monthly fees accordingly.