Look up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a cloud (cloud computing)!

Cloud Computing

As a small business, if you haven’t thought about “cloud computing”, you could be missing some good opportunities to reduce costs, enhance computing up time, and increase productivity. Maybe you haven’t thought about it because the concept is confusing, you’re concerned about security of your data, or you just don’t know where to begin.

Let’s start by looking at the three different types of cloud services.

  1. Software as a Service (Saas):
    We have all been using SaaS for some time. Think of Facebook, Twitter, Google… social sharing sights that store your comments, photos, videos, etc.
  2. Platform as a Service (PaaS):
    PaaS allows you to create software using tools and/or libraries from the provider. Software developers normally use this.
  3. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS):
    The provider, in this case a company like TDS HMS which consists of OneNeck IT Services Corp., Vital Support Systems, VISI Inc., and MSN Communications, Inc., provides space, power, cooling and connectivity via our data centers to the customer (usually a business). We can also provide storage, networking, computing, and managed operating systems within those data centers as our full IaaS product offering. The customer uses a virtualized operating system to install their applications and run them.

    IaaS allows you to log on and access all the tools and programs your employees need to do their jobs without having to invest in lots of standalone software licenses and servers. You’d be able to access emails, calendars, word processing, data bases, invoicing, CRM, etc. from any location and any device. Plus, the software management and troubleshooting can be done by cloud resources, freeing up your IT people.

Types of clouds

  • Public Cloud – a public cloud built and managed by a third party on an external platform. Users receive their own personal cloud space within a shared third party infrastructure.
  • Hybrid Cloud – a combination of public and private clouds. It permits a company’s internal IT team to oversee a portion managed internally while housing other applications and data in the third party cloud.
  • Private Cloud – constructed and managed by the company’s IT system, using its own servers and software.

Data security and benefits of online backup
Cloud computing can provide sophisticated security to protect confidential data and online backup to ensure continuity, almost unlimited data storage, and a thorough and quick backup system of critical company data. When selecting a vendor, check for these things:

  • The system should employ data encryption and identity verification
  • The vendor you choose should employ appropriate security measures, including authenticating and identifying

Suggestions on how to choose a vendor
Some things to consider when choosing a cloud computing vendor:

  • Reputation – check history and experience, read testimonials
  • Flexibility – can you customize applications according to your needs?
  • Pricing – analyze the ROI before you sign
  • Recovery – what happens in the event of a disaster?
  • Test it – try implementing something that is not critical to your business. Does it work how you want it to work?

Some interesting facts

  • 54% of all businesses now use cloud computing
  • Of this group, nearly 75% use different types of clouds or multiple services in the same cloud

I appreciate comments and suggestions for blogs about small business. You can find me on Twitter.

For more information:
SBA (Small Business Administration):
Cloud Computing – What can it do for your small business?

Four Ways to Safeguard and Protect Your Small Business Data

How to choose a cloud computing vendor

About Guest Blogger

Guest bloggers for the TDS Business Blog.

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