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Cloud 101 (What is Cloud?)

The cloud is increasingly popular with organizations of all types and sizes. In fact, the 2014 Dell Global Tech Adoption Index - which included 2,000 companies surveyed across 19 industries and 11 countries - found that 97 percent of the organizations surveyed either already used or planned to use the cloud. Converged Communication Systems can bring the flexibility of cloud computing to your business with solutions such as private cloud hosting and cloud phone systems. Before you decide to make the move to the cloud, however, it's important to understand how the infrastructure works and what it would bring to your business.

Cloud computing involves storing and delivering information and applications through the Internet, rather than physical servers or hard drives in your office. You probably already have some experience using the cloud. If you upload photos to Instagram, share and access documents using Dropbox, or post photos to Flickr, you're using cloud technology to store and deliver data. Using the cloud is similar to renting an apartment, in that you pay for your own space but rely on a service provider to maintain the larger infrastructure.

Cutting costs is a major driver for businesses looking to get into cloud computing. Companies stand to save thousands by paying as they go for server resources, rather than investing in on-premise equipment. The cloud also offers significant infrastructure benefits: Turning to cloud solutions can give businesses access to an infrastructure with much more redundancy in power, cooling and internet circuits than many organizations could achieve in-house.

Additionally, cloud computing improves productivity because you can scale your resources to match your needs and implement new strategies in no time. You no longer need to wait for the delivery of larger servers and firewalls. Implementing cloud solutions also gives companies access to certain productivity boosting applications - such as customer relationship management solutions from Salesforce - that are only available through the cloud.

Businesses that use the cloud also give their employees the ability to access and deliver information at any time, from any location and using any device. With cloud computing, people working remotely can connect and collaborate with their colleagues in the office, since data in the cloud stays up-to-date and available no matter where you're located. This presents a significant advantage for businesses whose employees work from home or on the go.

If you're thinking about using cloud computing for your business, you'll need to come up with a strategy that fits your needs and your network. Be sure to keep the key factors of security, flexibility and scalability in mind. Depending on the cloud also means that bandwith and redundant internet connections will become critical to achieving maximum uptime. Implementing a cloud computing strategy for your business will also require a significant amount of time and project management effort upfront to successfully implement the new service and complete end-user training.

There are three main types of cloud service models available for businesses. First, infrastructure as a service (IaaS) involves the service provider delivering the servers, storage, network and operating systems necessary for cloud computing as an outsourced, on-demand service for businesses.

The second delivery model is software as a service (SaaS), which involves providing software to customers/companies over the internet. SaaS providers might offer their applications through subscriptions, as services on demand or under a pay as you go model. Alternately, SaaS providers might offer software for free and sell ads or user lists for revenue.

The final and third cloud service delivery model, platform as a service (PaaS), basically allows customers to create applications without having to worry about maintaining the supporting software and infrastructure. While SaaS offers software via the internet, PaaS offers platforms for software creation through the internet.

Because of the variety of cloud computing solutions that have entered the marketplace in recent years, picking the one that's best for you can be a challenge. CCS can assist you in reviewing your needs in order to create a cloud solution that's the best fit for your business. For further information and guidance, contact Converged Cloud Services at 877-598-3999.

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