There 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 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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