Sun rays shining through Clouds

Un-clouding the issue – explaining ‘The Cloud’

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The Cloud is a term that has been bandied about a lot in recent years, and it is one of our most frequently asked questions; ‘What is the cloud?’. So if you are struggling with the concept here are a few simple explanations to help you understand.

Step back in time…

First let’s go back a few years ‘before cloud’. Did you ever work for a company with a cupboard full of thrumming Servers? These were your on-site office information storage. Everything was installed on these servers for the use of the office. But what happened when you went home? What happened if you were with a client and you needed to look up a few documents – nada – you couldn’t access this information off site – this is the exact opposite of the cloud.

On a smaller scale, if you store a lot of information on your PC – this is also ‘not cloud’ – it is putting all your data in one tiny locked box.

Access is the key

In its purest form ‘the cloud’ is just using the internet to access data – you know what the internet is, right? So we ALL use cloud, often without knowing it and it is not that scary.

Let us start with the obvious ones – Facebook / Twitter etc. These are cloud based software – here are the clues:

  • You have to use the internet
  • You log in
  • You can load / save information
  • Others can see it (instantly)
  • You can access it from other devices – anywhere (via the internet)

What does this mean for software development?

Back in the day, bespoke software was almost exclusively developed and then installed locally on to every machine in an office. This meant that changes to the software involved updating every version on every computer.

We are glad to say it is not like this anymore. Which is why we develop online (cloud based) software; this means it is hosted on a server and is accessed via the internet.

So what are all the benefits of this:

Access
We touched on this above – but essentially you can access all your information anywhere that has an internet connection via a standard browser.

No set-up
To use the software there is no need to download or install it on your local machine, just log on.

Up-to-date
Maintenance, security and new features are all applied to a single on-line version of the software so you are always using the latest version.

Real time communications
Nothing needs to sync, everything is live in and in real time, so your software can also be used to communicate with other users.

Integration
Online Software is able to talk to other online software via an API (Application Program Interface) – so if you use another tool, you can move data about

Cost effective
On-site servers are expensive, they take time to set up and maintain. By taking everything off-site means there is just the hosting to pay for.

Safe Storage
There are no manual back ups required – all data is automatically backed up, and secure.

When Cloud is King

We work predominantly with the Event planners, and they are our number-one advocates for the incredible potential of the cloud.

It wasn’t that many years ago that you may find an event planner frantically printing thousands of schedules, or buried under a pile of spreadsheets trying to find a list of dietary requirements.

Using cloud software, means that everyone is literally working from the same song sheet. The attendees, registration desk, exhibitors, speakers – they are all organized.

There are no late cancellations you don’t know about. You can’t lose the speakers flash drive. It is all there – floating in the clouds.

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