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Career Column: What The IT Guy Wants You To Know About the Cloud

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There are so many trendy buzz words related to “cloud” that make it sound more like hype than anything else. As cloud computing expands across all industries and even in your personal life, you may have some questions about what it all means, its security, and whether you need to bring an umbrella.

So, whether you're brand new to the cloud, exploring cloud-computing options for your organization or in the process of moving to a cloud-based solution, your friendly IT team would like to share the following facts designed to dispel some myths, clarify a few points and help you relax.

  • The cloud isn't a puffy place in the sky that holds information. The cloud is simply comprised of software and services that run on the Internet, instead of your computer's hard drive or your office server.
  • No one knows just how big the cloud is but some estimate that is close to an exabyte (2 to the 60th power bytes … whoa!).
  • With the cloud, you pay for only what you use. You have the ability to quickly scale your needs up and down depending on what your organization requires at any given time.
  • The primary difference between true cloud and Software as a Service (SaaS) is how a solution operates within the cloud rather than if it lives in the cloud. Many SaaS solutions have moved to the cloud but were not born there and maintain separate instances of software for each client. Multi-tenant, true cloud solutions run on a single instance so that solution providers can deploy continual upgrades.
  • In theory, you can integrate cloud-based software with on-premise tools as long as they have an application programming interface (API). The defining line between the cloud and on-premise is beginning to blur.
  • The biggest benefit from the cloud to an organization is its affordability because there's no need to spend money on software, hardware or licensing fees. Cloud computing not only limits the amount of equipment required but also decreases the staffing budget that's required to run the equipment.
  • Storing personal information in the cloud may make you a little queasy. It's smart to keep encryption keys on-premise rather than with your cloud provider. Data security in the cloud requires consistency from you and your dedication to ensuring that you and your cloud provider are on the same page when it comes to security.
  • The cloud can be used as a primary place to save or back up your work. Saving your work to your computer and to the cloud will ensure you have options if one of them fails. If you save only to the cloud, a cloud provider will have a policy in place to help you recover your data.
  • You're very (very) likely already using it (hello, iTunes and Google Drive).

If you're feeling a little uncertain about moving your day-to-day professional life to the cloud, you can rest easy because there is still the same level of policy and structure in place to keep your data safe. The benefits of a cloud-based IT service desk are game changers for the organization and the adoption of these types of solutions is growing rapidly.

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