Simplifying the cloud

Talk about the cloud is everywhere. You hear about it on the news and through a constant barrage of advertising talking about cloud solutions. But, just what is the cloud?

Firstly, it’s got nothing to do with Queen’s Wharf.

Simply put, the cloud is the internet. So, when people talk about storing files “in the cloud”, they’re talking about storing them on computers – called servers – all around the world with access to those files provided via the web.

Don’t worry, not everyone can see your files. If you think of the internet as a storage warehouse, the cloud is your own fenced-off, boarded-up and padlocked storage locker to keep all your information safe. The companies protecting your information have supercomputers guarding it, keeping thieves – hackers – at bay. That’s not to say it’s totally impenetrable, but you’re probably more likely to have your computer stolen from the office than have your data stolen from the cloud.

There are lots of benefits to using the cloud. Obviously, it means you can access your files anywhere – at home, the office, the bach and even on your smartphone. You don’t need to be sitting at the computer you always use for doing the accounts anymore – you can do them from any computer.

Another upside is you should never lose your data. It’s stored on multitudes of computers, probably all over the world. They’re all backed up, the backups are backed up and those backups are likely to be backed up too. There’s no chance a power surge or earthquake will mean you lose all your customer data.

If you use the cloud it also means you don’t need a massive server in your office to handle everything yourself. Server costs can mount up and every so often you’ll need a brand new one, so the more you can use the cloud the cheaper it’ll be.

The cloud also makes it easier for systems to talk to each other, reducing the time you’ll need to spend on admin. For example, if you do your bookkeeping in the cloud, chances are the system you use will integrate with the bank and Inland Revenue directly, saving you to have to double-handle reporting with different systems.

How do you get on the cloud? Chances are you already are. If you have a Gmail email address, those emails are stored on the cloud. Your photos on social media are technically in the cloud. But when it comes to business use, Google Docs for file storage is a form of cloud computing, while accounting software providers like MYOB and Xero also use the cloud.

If you use the cloud for business, you’re in good company. Research firm IDC estimated nearly one-third of the business software market was cloud-based in 2018.

What's next for you?

Spark offers cloud-based advice and solutions for businesses regardless of size. From providing the infrastructure you need to run your cloud solution, to curating cloud-based applications so you don’t have to spend time hunting down the ones you need, Spark can help put your business in the cloud. See our cloud options

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