What is Cloud Computing, and how does “The Cloud” work?

June 2, 2020

You’d be forgiven for picturing fluffy white clouds floating in the sky when someone talks about Cloud computing. While the majority of us know enough about how the Cloud works to use it in our everyday lives, can we confidently answer the question “what is the Cloud?” And more importantly, just where has our data gone when we save it to the Cloud?

Before Cloud computing existed, we would go to work, turn on our PCs and open a document that could be found in one of two main places: in the My Documents folder, located on our actual Desktop or Laptop, or in a Shared folder that you and other people in your company could access. That shared folder could be located on a separate PC, but for the majority of SMEs, it would be located on a Server.

Server & VPN Reliability

Servers are linked to your PC by hardwiring your WiFi connection inside of your physical offices. If you want to work from home or during a business trip, then you’d either need to download your files onto your Laptop to take with you or log onto your physical server via a Virtual Private Network (VPN), which allows you to create a secure connection to your server using the Internet.

All good so far, but VPN connections are not always reliable and security is a consideration. Plus, if you download confidential data onto your Laptop and that Laptop is lost or stolen, not only have you lost important information, but your Laptop could be hacked, and then you’re potentially facing a whole host of IP and GDPR issues. Finally, Servers get old and cost a lot of money to replace, and what happens if your office is broken into? Or there’s a fire? If your server is fatally damaged or hacked and your back up isn’t excellent, you could lose one of your most valuable assets…. your data.

The advent of Cloud computing gave us something new. The ability to replace our onsite Servers with the immensely powerful and incredibly secure Servers, owned by providers such as Microsoft, Google or Amazon. These Servers are located in Data Centres built on ships or massive campuses and are spread around the world. Data Centres are very real, and not at all white and fluffy. It’s how we connect to them that explains the Cloud concept. We use the Internet.

Think of the Internet as replacing the cable in your office that connects your PC to your office server.

The Internet is ubiquitous, and providing your broadband strength is sufficient, you can access your files and data anywhere at any time. The security and encryption that is built into Cloud computing solutions such as Microsoft 365 far outstrips that of VPN. Your data is saved and replicated across different locations, which you can choose, meaning better resilience, faster access, with no bottlenecks and greater collaboration.

Considering Cloud Computing for your business? Westlake IT can help.

At Westlake, we have a proven track record in migrating businesses to the Cloud and we have the experience to advise you on the optimal Cloud-based solution to meet your unique business needs. Our solution will deliver you the maximum benefit with the tightest security. Get in touch today to see how we can help.

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