Asmaa Methqal

Is your Head in the Cloud or your Data?

Cloud computing and portabilityThere is a lot of buzz about cloud computing but the reality is that we are all using a form of cloud computing without even realizing it. Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo Mail, Google Drive, Dropbox, SoundCloud, picmonkey, Salesforce even Google Search are many “software as a service” (SaaS) accessible from the Internet.

As a consumer, I consider the “cloud” as spa retreat for my local computer and my wallet. My laptop doesn’t need to do any heavy lifting when it comes to running applications. With one login into a web-based service that hosts the programs I need, remote machines owned by a company would run everything for me from e-mails to word processing to image editing. The software and storage for my account doesn’t exist on my laptop, but I still have the flexibility through Internet to access all my files, images or playlists available on-the-go wherever I am.

The other benefit with cloud computing is that I don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars upfront for a suite of software nor waste countless hours installing the program and configuring it in my machine. I am more flexible with the subscription pricing which minimizes my cost of ownership. Plus, cloud offers effective technical changes such as upgrades, product updates, additional functionality and more.

I personally like using Dropbox because of its portability feature. As a user, I enjoy the freedom of moving in to the cloud or moving out of the cloud and storing all the files back on my laptop since Dropbox doesn’t convert my data files into a proprietary Dropbox format. Unfortunately, with Gmail, Yahoo or Outlook who use proprietary databases, I am locked in with their system and I am not able to export my data in a readily usable format and move it out of the cloud.

Either I am using cloud applications for personal activities or for business purposes; I expect to see similar features and advantages. Even more, data is more complex and sensitive to manage when it comes to enterprise software solutions deployed by companies. This makes it even more important to choose a cloud solution that offer the portability and business agility to deploy the application without being locked-in. Move in to the cloud, move out of the cloud or move to a different cloud should be a criterion when investigating an ERP system or financial software.

From a personal use to a business use, cloud computing offers undeniable benefits. The goal is to investigate and ask the right questions when selecting the correct technology. Better security, better portability, upgrades flexibility, database independence, data back up and restoration are few critical elements to explore.

Which criteria are you using when selecting your cloud application?

Technology analyst Eval-Source has examined UNIT4′s unique portability advantages. Download the paper from the right side form to learn more about UNIT4 solutions via the cloud.

Asmaa Methqal AuthorABOUT THE AUTHOR, Asmaa Methqal

Asmaa Methqal is the Marketing Communications Manager at UNIT4 Business Software interested in technology, social media, and branding. Add Asmaa to your Google+ Circles.

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Asmaa Methqal

Asmaa Methqal

Asmaa Methqal is the Marketing Communications Manager at UNIT4 Business Software interested in technology, digital marketing, social media, and art.

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UNIT4 ERP Solutions via the Cloud

6 thoughts on “Is your Head in the Cloud or your Data?

  1. Jenni M.

    I love the accessibility of SaaS applications. I do all of my accounting using cloud-based software so that both my accountant and myself can go over an issues that I have. We’re looking at the same data, at the same time rather than wasting time passing records back and forth. I also love the peace of mind in know that my data is completely backed up at all times.

    Reply
    1. Asmaa MethqalAsmaa Methqal Post author

      Good point! Cloud computing definitely boost remote working as well. Using online tools – accessible to clients/customers or even other staff members – is a great way to increase efficiency with low margin of errors (the example with your accountant is a proof of that).
      Thanks for your input Jenni.

      Reply
  2. Joe

    I just saw a few models of Chrome notebook for the first time today, it really stuck me that this is the current state of data storage; files go in the cloud. This is a major shift in paradigm, one that will soon remove words from our vocabulary. We will be hearing less about “backup”, “USB drive”, and “size limit on emails”.

    Reply
    1. Asmaa MethqalAsmaa Methqal Post author

      That is interesting. I just looked into Chromebooks and one of the main feature they promote is the cloud storage built-in.. I will be curious to see when your prediction happens.. it isn’t a matter of “if” anymore.
      Thanks for sharing Joe!

      Reply
  3. PhillipA

    I think the cloud is getting there for some things like email, document sharing, even streaming movies but other areas it’s still really in beta. An example is my music collection. It’s too big for my phone so it would make sense to put the music in the cloud and download the tracks when you want to hear them but 4G performance is flakey, 3G is slow and flakey, it’s probably acceptable with wifi but you don’t have that all the time. And then what happens when you go on holiday and don’t have wifi and faced with extortionate roaming charges. Plus all this downloading chews through the battery which is poor enough on smart phones these days.

    It’s got promise for sure but we need the dependability we have for fixed lines when we’re out and about before it’s “production ready” in my opinion.

    Reply
  4. JUHLi SELBy

    I love using cloud based apps for my business. With all the video editing I do – the HD video files take up much space on my computer. When given the choice for a web based app vs. software I have to add to my computer, I will go with the web-based app every time. All the apps/tools I use have been convenient, affordable and reliable (FreshBooks, DropBox, Hotmail, PicMonkey, Hootsuite, etc.).

    I like your point about portability of your information – I agree that’s an important factor. Another factor I look for with cloud service – is privacy/content ownership policy. I would rather pay to use Dropbox – than have my files on Google Drive for free – because of their privacy policy. The Dropbox policy is clear that you own and they have no rights to use the information you store there.

    Reply

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