Cloud computing and your internet connection
Just about everyone – and every business – leverages the cloud in some form now. In fact, we’re getting very close to the cloud dominating everything that we do.
By 2020, 83 per cent of all business operations will be done in the cloud. Meanwhile, at home, who still buys physical CDs, DVDs, and even games? Not many of us. We increasingly rely on the likes of Netflix, Spotify, and so on for our entertainment. These are all cloud services.
What is cloud computing?
Put simply, the cloud (and cloud computing) is a service that you access online – all the data and processing that is required for the application is held on online servers. In order to access them you log into an online account and do all your work within that application.
Having a good internet connection is very important to this way of working. If the internet connection is too slow, for example, the pace at which work gets done will also slow down. We’ve all had experiences where you’ve dropped out of reception and the internet stops working on your phone. Or you’ve been trying to read through an online document, only for the loading to freeze because it’s peak hour and your ISP’s (Internet Service Providers) speeds are not meeting demand.
This is one of the greatest risks with using cloud computing.
The other well-known risk has to do with security. Data that you hold on your systems offline is pretty secure – to take the data someone would need to hack the computer itself, or physically get to the machine to copy files to a disk. On the other hand, when your data is held in the cloud, all a hacker needs to do is get access to your account.
So why do businesses take to the cloud?
Despite the risk, it’s impossible to deny the benefits of working in the cloud. The most obvious benefit is the most simple one: you’re able to work from anywhere, anytime. Research shows that being able to work remotely, away from the office, results in a massive boost to productivity. The more systems that the office has online, the less time a person needs to spend in front of one particular computer.
Another benefit is the cost of cloud services. Generally you purchase them on a month-to-month basis, which is significantly cheaper than buying upfront. For an easy example, compare what it would cost to buy one million pieces of music, to what it costs to subscribe to Spotify for one month. For small businesses and individual freelancers, the cloud gives them access to technology and advanced tools that they simply would not be able to afford if they had to purchase them upfront.
Finally, with cloud computing, you can get things done so much faster. Do you need to get access to a visual design program for a particular project that has just come up? A cloud-based image application is available as soon as you have signed up. Historically, new software needed to be bought, and then installed, configured, and licensing sorted out before it could be used. That could be a very time consuming process. Now, it is much quicker to get things done.
What can you do to use the cloud safely?
There are a couple of tricks that you can use to ensure that your cloud services are going to suffer minimal disruption:
1)Make sure you use a reputable ISP for business nbn™ services. You ideally want an ISP that is well regarded for providing consistent speeds. Some ISPs cut corners by not purchasing enough bandwidth to serve their nbn™ customers. It saves them money, but during peak time there are traffic bottlenecks and the quality of the service drops. It is best to find an ISP that makes sure they have provisioned enough bandwidth so your business doesn’t experience those slow downs that will affect productivity.
2)Have a secondary internet source available. Many organisations (even households) are investing in what is called redundancy – they’ll have their main internet connection, but if that fails, a second one (usually a mobile internet connection, or even mobile phone hotspot with a large data plan) cuts in. That way, you can stay connected while the issue is dealt with on the main internet account.
3)Learn how to use the internet securely. Make sure you take advantage of two factor authentication for passwords where possible, and don’t assume that an anti-virus is all that you need. It’s also important that whenever you sign up for a cloud service, you are sure that it’s a reputable one that puts security first, because with the cloud, security is as much the responsibility of the provider as it is the user. Strong passwords are also key to keeping your business safe online.
Finally, make sure that you’re confident your ISP takes security and internet traffic seriously. A company like Aussie Broadband is respected among its customers because it ensures there is enough bandwidth that their customers will barely experience a slow-down during peak times.
To ensure a fast and reliable internet connection that will support your use of cloud computing, sign up for a business nbn™ service with Aussie Broadband today.