Cloud Computing

Cloud computing diagrams, applications, information and services.

  1. With Cloud Computing, employee’s computers will cost less, because essentially all the work is done in the cloud, leaving very little for your local computer (or device) to do. Therefore, with cloud computing, you no longer need an expensive computer. This alone can save you hundreds of dollars per employee.
  2. With Cloud Computing the employee’s computers or devices used to access the Internet and their Cloud environment is now open to a large variety of options from iPads, netbooks, and a variety of industry-specific devices. As just an example how these options can mean greater efficiencies and improve service to customers or clients, one can look at just about any service or delivery company. Managers can track real-time where servicers are, documents can be signed and immediately filed in the clients account, request for part orders can be place while the servicer is on-premise, and the list goes on and on.
  3. Cloud Computing has lower software costs. With Cloud Computing a lot of software is paid on a monthly basis which when compared to buying the software in the beginning, software through Cloud Computing is often a fraction of the cost.
  4. Cloud Computing allows companies to quickly remove associated computer costs when the number of employees decreases, which could be used to address costs associated with seasonal or project-based employees, or changes in the business cycle, or an economic downturn.
  5. Cloud Computers can be preconfigured for how your company wants computers to be setup. This allows you to have new employees ready right away and avoid the higher cost of adding a computer through the traditional route which could take hours to setup, install, and configure the applications your company uses.
  6. Along with the cost-savings for the employee’s computers, recall the server or servers when purchased in the traditional method are actually over-designed to allow the company to continue to use the resource for about three to four years before being replaced.
    1. Cloud Computing gets rid of this large upfront cost for a company’s servers.
    2. Cloud Computing further eliminates the additional costs of the associated over-designed portion that is required when buying a traditional server. Cloud Computing is able to do this because with cloud computing you can add memory, hard drive space, and processors all in just a few minutes, and without a disruption in service.
    3. The ability to add hardware resources as you need them saves businesses using Cloud Computing additional money since as time progresses the cost for RAM, CPU (processing power), and hard drive space will all decrease.
    4. Recall with your traditional server you will want to replace your hardware every three to four years to help ensure your traditional server doesn’t have a hardware failure that affects your business operations. With Cloud Computing this cost to replace server hardware every 3 to 4 years is gone.
    5. Eventually, your company may want to migrate to a new operating system. The associated costs to migrate to a new operating system is often less than in a traditional server environment.
    6. Software costs and upgrading – With Cloud Computing much of the software your business will need can be provided by your Cloud Computing Company on a monthly basis as previously mentioned. That said, another advantage is the ability to quickly and easily test a newer version or upgrade, with the ability to quickly roll back to the previous version of the application. No need to run around from one PC to another (or more aptly paying someone to go from PC to PC installing and uninstalling). With Cloud computing and software upgrades you r company can save time and money.
    7. Centralized data– Another key benefit of Cloud Computing is having all the data (which could be for multiple branch offices or project sites) in a single location “the Cloud.”
    8. With Cloud Computing data on an employee’s cloud computer, that virtual desktop and associated data is automatically backed-up (some providers may charge additional for this, but it is a core feature to Cloud Computing and something your company should expect). A typical desktop or notebook computer however is not set to automatically save important data on a server or elsewhere. Therefore, a hard drive crash could either mean thousands of dollars to recover data (if the data warrants the expense), or all that data may simply be lost.
    9. With Cloud Computing a lost or stolen company’s notebook or laptop has less negative financial impact as well as reducing the risk of someone accessing the company’s proprietary and sensitive data. Since with Cloud Computing the data all resides in the cloud, the person who stole the computer would not have access to the employee’s cloud account. Recalling from a previous mentioned Cloud Computing benefit, the employee would likely have a lower cost netbook (or similar device) to mitigate the loss should the employee drop, break or damaged the device.
    10. Access from anywhere. Never leave another important document back at the office. With Cloud computing and an Internet connection, your data are always nearby, even if you are on the other side of the world.
    11. Easy Online document sharing and collaboration. How many times have you emailed a document you or someone else has edited and eventually multiple people have various different revisions and copies of the document and no one is really sure which the final is? Or how much additional hard drive space all those redundant emails with attachments are taking up? With Cloud Computing and a hosted SharePoint site (or similar product to reach the same business outcome), documents are not only easily accessible, but both time to locate and hard drive space are saved. With security and auditing in place vendors, subcontractors, and/or clients can access associated project files. Worth mentioning here again is the software (and software licensing) savings with Cloud Computing. This is important for a SharePoint or Project implementation and addressing the need to provide limited access to others outside your organization, while also ensuring the ideal performance.
  7. Cloud Computing is great for short-term projects. Have a short-term project that requires specific software such as Microsoft Project? With Cloud Computing, you can use the software for the duration of the project and never have to buy it.
  8. Cloud Computing gives you the internal and external ability to quickly test a new feature, upgrade, or product or demonstrate a scenario to a client. If a client is not sure if or how something would work, the answer is as easy as loading the scenario up in the cloud for a proof-of-concept.
  9. Cloud Computing can allow branch offices to share data much faster as well as allow the parent company to more easily start new branch locations and at a lower cost point as well.
  10. Cellular Internet connections can be used (operational flexibility) with Cloud Computing – Understand it may not be ideal, but it is possible and can be extremely effective in many cases. There are a lot of variables when using a cellular connection, so if you think you may need to use one, the best suggestion is to have a test done with the company you choose to be your Cloud Computing Company. Some popular scenarios are when you have your service representatives or delivery personnel going onsite and they need to connect into the main system to track their status, etc. In the construction industry, we commonly see this used for various project sites, since getting another type of Internet connection in some areas and under some timelines would not be possible or practical.
  11. Cloud Computing can free up office space that may be currently used by existing servers and related network equipment.
  12. Cloud Computing can reduce your electric bill. The cost to keep servers and related equipment powered on at your office (especially if you are keeping them air-conditioned) can be substantial.
  13. Time to Market when using Cloud Computing is much faster than a traditional route of purchasing your own servers, software, and associated equipment.
  14. Cloud Computing Security. Cloud computing is more secure than most offices when properly implemented. With the ability to select what data centers hold your data, (which is important for compliance in some industries), you can use a Cloud Computing Company that selects only the most secure data centers for your data. These data centers must meet specific security requirements to have their level of certification. In addition, various levels of auditing, permissions, and encryption may be utilized when dealing with sensitive data in the cloud.
  15. Choose what goes to the Cloud– One of the benefits of Cloud Computing is that it is not all or nothing. One of the best things your company can do is to look at Cloud Computing strategically and consider how your business can use Cloud Computing to improve your business operations. If you want help from a team of experts, contact us today to have a consultation scheduled.

There are more advantages and benefits of Cloud computing, but hopefully from these mentioned so far, you can understand how significant cloud computing is, and you can start to see how it will affect your industry (before your competitors do). That said; let’s take a look at the disadvantages of Cloud Computing.

Now you may be wondering what are the disadvantages of Cloud Computing?

Cloud Computing Works by separating the hardware from the operating environment (operating system & applications) allowing them to run virtually independent from one another. With Cloud Computing, the hardware can be a single server, or server hundreds of servers spread thousands of miles from one another.

What this means:
In Cloud Computing, the components that are used to make a server run are typically distributed across many systems to help performance and to prevent a single point of failure- so your business keeps running.

In fact, Cloud Computing users typically wouldn’t even notice if one or even several of the underlying hard drives went down (“crashed” or “died”). This is because the Cloud Computing virtual environment is distributed among all these actual underlying resources usually in such a manner to provide redundancy or continued operability in the event of hardware failure.

Note that we said usually. Because of the latitude in creating a virtual environment, or cloud infrastructure, a Cloud Computing Company may not offer the underlying hardware requirements that your company needs or expects.

Therefore, it is critical as a business owner you understand what a Cloud Computing provider is offering you and that you keep in mind that there can be large differences in what is offered. We give an analogy in the next section to help make cloud computing a bit more understandable. But if you’re eager to get started, we want to suggest that you carefully review a Cloud Computing company’s agreement before you sign it to ensure it enforces what was told to you, and that you fully understand the pros and cons of cloud computing before you commit to using cloud computing.

Alternatively, you can simply contact us. We are happy to assist you in learning about Cloud Computing and determining what aspects of Cloud Computing is right for your company.

How Cloud Computing Works

Visualize a large office building. Most companies never buy a building instead they pay a monthly lease for their office space. As a business owner you have the option to choose office spaces that are already laid out and even furnished, or you can have your office space built to your specification. By designing your own office layout, you can have it designed for efficiency and as secure as needed.

You can think of Cloud computing in the same way. There are pre-configured applications that your organization can use, such as a CRM solution from Salesforce.com, Microsoft Office 365, and many more. But should your company use these cloud computing offerings

What about the build-to-suit cloud offerings (Virtual Private Cloud Computing) where a business can have a Cloud Computing network that is specifically designed to improve the business operations while reducing costs and freeing up capital?

For some companies there are huge advantages of cloud computing as their primary technology, but for others, only some aspects of cloud computing will be beneficial.  The best thing a business owner can do is to contact a Cloud Computing consulting company that specializes in assisting businesses in determining what, (if any) aspects of Cloud Computing they should use.

What is critical about Cloud computing?

What is most critical about Cloud computing is actually identifying what is most important for your business operations. Since you can have a Cloud Computing environment tailored to your businesses’ operational needs through Virtual Private Cloud Computing.

With real estate, the build-to-suit option can be very expensive; with Cloud Computing it can not only be more cost effective than what your company is already using, it can also open new opportunities for your company as well.

Cloud Computing works by allowing companies to use the hardware & software that others have invested in. This frees your company to no longer invest in spending so much money in buying, maintaining & upgrading so much computer hardware & software.

With Cloud Computing businesses have their data running on more robust equipment, massive Internet bandwidth, redundant Internet connections, and automated backups (in an average virtual private cloud computing configuration).

Want to know how Cloud Computing can best help your company? Then simply contact us. No commitment, no obligation, no pressured sales. Simply contact us and we can discuss where Cloud Computing can best help your company.

Not sure if you’re ready to contact someone yet?  That’s ok.  You may be interested in learning more about how cloud computing can help your business. If so, see the Pros and Cons of Cloud computing for a detailed list of the reasons for and against Cloud Computing.  

To learn more about Virtual Private Cloud Computing and Hybrid Cloud Computing you can watch the Virtual Private Cloud Computing overview which also discusses the uses of hybrid cloud computing.

Others interested in learning how cloud computing works, found our Cloud Computing Diagrams page helpful.

To speak with a Cloud Computing consultant about how cloud computing works, and if it is beneficial for your company to use cloud computing, please contact us.

Cloud Computing Diagram1: Traditional Network Combined with a Single Cloud Computing Application

In the above Cloud Computing Diagram, the company has decided to no longer own, maintain, & backup an email server anymore due to the frustration & cost. Instead they use a “hosted email server” which is located “in the cloud”. 

Some benefits to using cloud computing in this manner is that companies can reduce their IT costs while increasing the overall functionality. Email in the cloud allows the data (email) to be spread across various data centers to ensure you can quickly access your data, have automatic backups done, and help ensure compliance for various industry requirements.

That said certain industries have regulations that dictate the security of data and where data can be stored. Therefore it is important to know where your data will be stored and what security measures are in place. Your Cloud computing specialist should help you with this.

 If you are considering Cloud Computing for your company, and want to discuss Cloud computing on a non-technical level so you can better evaluate if Cloud computing is right for your business, contact us.

Cloud Computing Diagram2: Traditional Network Combined with Multiple Cloud Computing Software Applications

In the Cloud Computing Diagram above, the company that got rid of their internal email server for a cloud-based email server has realized the benefits and has now decided to start adding other Cloud Computing applications; in this case a cloud-based CRM solution (such as from Salesforce.com) to improve the efficiency of the company’s marketing & sales staff.

Want to learn how Cloud Computing can help your company cut costs & improve operational efficiency that results in bottom line results? If yes, contact us today.

Cloud Computing Diagram 3: Virtual Private Cloud Computing

The Cloud Computing diagram of the Virtual Private Cloud Computing environment above shows the company decided to have a virtual private cloud created to mimic their previous traditional environment. In this cloud computing scenario, the employees use a device, such as an iPad, netbook, notebook, desktop computer, (and so on) to remotely connect and control their respective cloud-based desktops.

A Virtual Private Cloud Computing environment can be highly customized and truly allows companies to leverage technology around business goals, performance & compliance with industry regulations. When designing a virtual private cloud, components such as cloud computers, cloud servers & firewalls are selected based off the functionality needed to best address business goals and operations. To help grasp the virtual aspect, think of virtual private cloud computing as a build-to-suit real estate arrangement, where the land owner (cloud computing specialist) builds your company an office space (virtual private cloud) according to your specifications.

The next Cloud Computing Diagram shows that with virtual private cloud computing there are unlimited possibilities to what can be added or how virtual private cloud computing can be configured.

To realize what Virtual Private Cloud Computing can do for your business operations, contact us today.

Cloud Computing Diagram 4: Cloud Computing for Disaster Recovery

Three Main Cloud Computing Disaster Recovery Diagrams when using Cloud Computing for Disaster Recovery.

Disaster Recovery Cloud Computing Diagram (1) Basic Configuration

With the basic Disaster Recovery Cloud Computing Diagram above, the company is using a software program to encrypt and compress the company data (from specific documents or folders to full back up images). Should a disaster such as a theft, fire, or flood occur, the business could download its data from the cloud, or have a drive with the data sent to them depending on how much data & how soon it is needed.

To help determine if this is the best option for your company, contact us.

Disaster Recovery Cloud Computing Diagram (2) Typical Business Configuration

The disaster recovery cloud computing diagram above shows a method of recovery that fits the functionality and budget of most businesses.  Since hardware failure is one of the most frequent causes of a disaster and can cause a company to lose a tremendous amount of money while the server(s) are down, the company can utilize the service of having an onsite disaster recovery system in place.  In this scenario, snapshots of the operational environment are taken periodically, such as every 15 minutes.  When a server or servers fail, the disaster recovery system can be activated to start running from the last image. This allows the company to keep running while the replacement parts are ordered and installed. With this configuration, secure backups can also be automatically sent offsite as well, just like in the basic example.

To learn more about this hybrid Cloud Computing service and how much it costs, contact us today.

Disaster Recovery Cloud Computing Diagram (3) Critical Business Configuration

With this Cloud Computing Diagram, business critical operations have been identified and tested for fail-over not only to the local disaster recovery system, but also to the Cloud. This will allow the business to keep running should a disaster such as theft, fire, or flood occur in the local office. With the Virtual Private Cloud scenario, the company can rely on continued operations with minimal interruption to business should a disaster take out the local office’s server(s) and local recovery system.

Because there is no need to take down or hinder the business operations to test the virtual private cloud fail-over, extensive tests can be done to ensure a reliable solution is in place.

Cloud Computing for Research or Short Term Projects

The Cloud Computing diagram regarding short-term projects is very similar to that of the single or multiple application cloud computing diagram we have already mentioned. We discuss this here so that business owners can be aware of the cost-benefit this type of scenario can provide a company. Because the cost to purchase software (such as Microsoft Project) is very high, as well as the associated server hardware to be robust, often expensive, as well as the cost to maintain it, businesses can benefit by using Cloud Computing “hosted” Microsoft Project. 

This allows companies to use Microsoft Project (for example) for the duration of their project, and then end the cost when it is no longer needed.

Contact us to learn more.

 Others interested in Cloud Computing Diagrams were also interested in:

How Does Cloud Computing Work?

The Pros and Cons of Cloud Computing

National Institute of Standards & Technology– Guidelines on Security and Privacy in Cloud Computing

Cloud Security AllianceSecurity Guidance

Cloud Security Alliance– Cloud Computing Top Threats

Cloud Security Alliance– Cloud Security –Cloud Controls matrix, a guide for potential cloud customers to use to review security risk of a cloud provider.

Transactions on Information and System Security (TISSEC)- Research papers in all areas of information and system security

Comparative Approach to Cloud Security Models –Abstract & download site

Cloud Computing – Data Confidentiality and Interoperability ChallengesView

Deployment models for eliminating user concerns on cloud security view

Analysis of security issues of cloud-based web applications View

Customer-oriented ranking of cyber threat intelligence service providers View

Encryption algorithm in cloud computing view

Related Cloud Computing Security & Computer Security links:

NIST Cloud Forensic Analysis challenges pdf

Is Cloud Security improving? article

Have a specific security of Cloud Computing question?

Contact us today!

Cloud computing security is paramount for businesses to even consider using cloud computing. As it happens, cloud computing and cloud computing security are moving forward in a very fast-pace, due to the significant advantages cloud computing can offer companies. See our pros and cons of cloud computing to learn more of the advantages and drawbacks of cloud computing.

With a virtual private cloud, companies may carve out a virtual network that is isolated and acts just like their traditional network, but with the benefits of Cloud Computing. But there has been concerns regarding the security of the data in the cloud, especially in respect to meeting compliance and various industry regulations (CMMC, HIPPA, GLBA, etc). However these concerns have been addressed as well. Beyond the typical domain security groups, we have been utilizing encryption on all client data. With AES 256 bit encryption on information in the cloud, cloud computing security issues are addressed & mitigated.

To better understand how your company can leverage cloud computing while incorporating encryption & security specific to your industry and company specifications, contact us today.

Cloud Computing Explained

Cloud Computing can give huge strategic advantages to some companies. Like selecting the correct tool for a job, business owners and managers need to make sure the technology they have in place will allow the company to operate efficiently. This means we must carefully examine how our company operates to determine if using Cloud Computing will help us reach or exceed our revenue and profitability goals.

As a business owner, I am always looking at how I can get a greater return on my money. If I invest in technology, whether that’s servers, desktops, notebooks, software, backup devices, and so on, that’s money I could have kept for myself, or invested elsewhere to potentially make a larger return. In the past, I didn’t really have much of a choice, to stay competitive we needed all the servers, computers, software, and technical support to install and keep all computers, servers and technology running.

Choosing a Cloud Computing Company

Cloud Computing however, introduces a dramatic shift in this typical structure, one so significant that companies employing this change can have substantial cost savings, increase operational flexibility and profitability from increases in efficiency. Furthermore, the capital expenditure typically spent on hardware or software could be redirected in other areas.

What is Cloud Computing

Will my company benefit from Cloud Computing? There are specific attributes common among companies in industries, but as to not over generalize we explore the Pros and Cons of Cloud Computing. Here we look at what parts of our operations are ideal for running “in the Cloud”, and what that means to us as business owners or managers. You may have noticed I did say parts of our operations. It may make since to use Cloud Computing for some of what we do, and not all of the company’s operations. For example, part of a business continuity plan or disaster recovery plan may include secure and automated offsite backup. This backup strategy could leverage cloud computing to further ensure that the secure data is available across multiple locations. Should a company need to recover and one location (data center) is down, the backup can be recovered from another location. See Cloud Computing for Disaster Recovery to learn more about what is available and what the best strategy for your company would be.

A big concern regarding Cloud Computing is securityCloud Computing Security – Cloud Computing Security Issues looks at Cloud Computing security in detail since we have many clients in the healthcare and financial industries that must operating accordingly to specific regulations, this has been a hot topic.

After reviewing the Benefits of Cloud Computing and the Disadvantages of Cloud Computing, you may want to look at How does Cloud Computing Work – Diagram cloud computing which visually shows you how you can utilize cloud computing in your business.

Cloud Computing Companies – Aren’t cloud computing companies all the same? Why shouldn’t I just find the cheapest cloud computing company and go with them? Whether you are looking to invest in stocks of public Cloud Computing companies or considering shopping the various Cloud Computing companies, in our Cloud Computing Companies we delve into what cloud computing companies are out there, and give you some tips on what you need to know when you are considering signing up with a Cloud Computing company.

When you spend money on technology for your company, you need to know how it’s going to help you reach your business goals. Traditionally many business owners trying to save money end up buying the cheapest hardware and software to reduce costs. This typically results in the exact opposite of the desired outcome. The company spends thousands more in support, dramatically reduces its operational efficiencies which can translate into economic costs of hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost revenue. This is further compounded with an all too often increased expense, relative to output.  of paying employees to try to figure out how to resolve the issues themselves (or wait until tech support can help) all the while they are not producing effectively for the company.
Often cash-strapped small business owners don’t feel they have a choice. They don’t have the thousands, or tens of thousands of dollars to buy the equipment to help their company run as it should. So they try to make do. With cloud computing, this no longer needs to be the case.

Why Your Company should consider using Cloud Computing

Cloud Computing can be a very effective way for companies to free up capital (by not investing in physical hardware such as the servers & large cash outlay for buying all the software as well). Additionally, desktop computers or notebooks that employees use do not need to be as powerful (read expensive). Though this definitely helps a company’s profitability, there are some other areas that Cloud Computing can have a greater advantage.

Alaska Cloud Computing Benefits

No Large Cash Outlay/ Capital Expense

  • No servers to buy.
  • Reduced the need to buy & own software.
  • Able to spend less on employee’s desktop/notebook computers.
  • Reduce monthly costs when the number of employees drops, and quickly add more when the need arises.
  • Reduce the cost of server setups and migrations.
  • Reduced expense on technology support.
  • Reduced productivity loss due to faulty hardware and downtime to replace on-premise servers.
  • No more costly server upgrades that can impact operations such as adding hard drive space (and various other hardware upgrades) to existing servers.
  • End the cycle of having to buy a server every 3-5 years and having to pay to set up the new server(s) and migrate your company data.
  • For companies with multiple offices, data can easily be centralized in the Cloud environment eliminating the need for multiple servers in various locations, and the hassles associated with trying to keep each synchronized so all employees are working with the same information.

Flexibility Impacts Operations For Alaska Businesses Using Cloud Servers

  • Employees are more mobile & able to operate efficiently wherever they are, at home, project site, and so on. The fast Internet connections at the Cloud servers allow employees anywhere to connect to current company files, data, software, & in some cases, each other.
  • Redundancies in operations can be reduced & in many cases eliminated. Often companies pay employees to write information in the field, and then later input the information when they are back in the office.
  • Greater efficiencies allow employees to do more projects & existing projects with better results, both contribute to the company’s bottom line profitability.
  • Customers & clients often see the improvement as faster responses and more effective management by companies using Cloud Computing.

Minimize Software Upgrade Impacts to Operations

When software gets updated or new software gets installed, (which can seem all too often) there is an increased probability that incompatibility or data corruption may occur. When this happens it could result in hours of downtime (possibly days). In the cloud, this is mitigated. New software or updates can quickly be tested and in the event of a conflict or corruption, the company can roll back to the previous state within seconds, or instead could simply install the software in a test environment first (to test) so no loss in productivity occurs.

We hope we have given you ample reasons to understand why it is important for your company to consider using our Alaska Cloud Computing Services. Frustration Free IT is a Cloud Computing Provider located in Anchorage Alaska.
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