Cloud computing has become a key part of our everyday lives. From our email servers to our banking, almost every area of it has some technology that connects with the cloud. Business, of course, is no exception. From its humble beginnings, cloud technology has grown, becoming indispensable in helping businesses stay connected to each other and to their customers, no matter where in the world they may be.
In this post, we’ll briefly re-introduce what exactly cloud software is. We’ll then go into more detail about how it’s changed over the years, and how these changes have helped businesses make the most of it to aid their operations and enhance their security.
What is cloud computing?
Cloud computing is the delivery of different services through the internet – also known as “the cloud” as it doesn’t have a physical location, like standard hard drives. These can be as diverse as data storage, servers, software, and more.
A brief history of cloud computing
Cloud computing has its roots in the 1960s but started to become a reality in the late 1990s and early 2000s. In 2006, Amazon introduced its Web Services (AWS). This gave companies access to computing resources over the internet and was the first glimpse of what cloud computing could look like in practice.
Other companies, like Google and Microsoft, entered later in the decade, with cloud-based office applications that challenged the traditional software model. This was also when hybrid clouds started becoming more popular, giving businesses the ability to transfer workloads back and forth between private and public cloud software.
Though cloud computing was limited to basic storage and resources when it began, it has since expanded in both its scope and its security. Currently, cloud computing can help you with pretty much any aspect of your business, from your supply chain management to marketing analytics. Its security is also much more sophisticated, calming previous concerns about a lack of protection for data in the public cloud.
Different types of cloud computing
With all this variety in the kind of help cloud computing can provide, it makes sense that there are different service models. These are:
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) – lets organisations manage their resources (aka their infrastructure) on the cloud, including data storage, and their network. Example: Amazon Web Services (AWS)
- Platform as a Service (PaaS) – lets organisations host, build, and deploy consumer-facing apps. Example: Google App Engine
- Software as a Service (SaaS) – the most common use of cloud computing, providing tools for businesses and consumers to use day-to-day. Example: Dropbox
Cloud computing in business operations
Across all of these different models, the benefits for businesses are largely similar.
Whatever you’re using cloud computing for, it can streamline business operations in ways that are especially useful for CFOs:
- Cost Efficiency – there’s no need for expensive IT infrastructures, and CFOs can also better control costs through the use of subscription-based models.
- Scalability – cloud services can be scaled up on-demand, meaning it’s easier for CFOs to manage budget allocations.
- Analysis – moderncloud computing lets CFOs harness analytics tools, making it easier to plan and forecast finances.
- Automation – in the cloud, repetitive tasks can be automated. This means time can be saved on tasks like invoice processing and payroll and redeployed to other areas.
Cloud computing and security
As we mentioned earlier in this article, one of the major stumbling blocks for early cloud computing was the lack of security. Rightly, businesses didn’t want to upload all of their important data to a place that could be easily accessed by bad actors, especially when that information is financially sensitive or personal to customers. Even now, CFOs have a whole new host of security threats to be aware of. What’s a business’ process if a ransomware attack happens? How do you adapt to new cybersecurity regulations? And is there a way to do all these things and stay on budget?
Luckily, security has become much more central to cloud computing as the years have gone on. Now, cloud providers invest heavily in security, offering advanced encryption algorithms, customized access controls, and compliance certifications. This ensures financial data remains secure.
As the nature of doing business has continued to evolve, so too has the role of cloud computing within it. Though it’s not perfect for everyone by any means, its use case has shifted. In the modern day, people expect their cloud computing to be multi-pronged. It’s no longer purely a practical solution to storage, but a dynamic system that can make work easier for everyone, finance professionals included.
Looking to move your business to the cloud? Contact PKF Smith Cooper Systems today to see how Sage software can help. Fill in an enquiry form or call us on 01332 959 008.
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