With all the media coverage around cloud applications it is easy to get confused around what exactly cloud is and the advantages to your business. We cover off the essential concepts, especially as it applies to cloud based communications systems.
At its most simplest level, we are talking about a computer room that is housed elsewhere and accessed via the internet. These computer rooms are called data centers and have been engineered to be highly reliable, available and secure. They will have redundant power systems, including standby generators, redundant cooling and data networking. They will even have two separate network feeds into the building, in case something happens to one of the feeds. They are secure buildings, requiring several levels of security to access the interior.
With the constant reduction in the cost of computer power and storage and the introduction of something called ‘virtualization’ it was feasible to build large data centers and offer vendors a place to house their applications much more cost effectively than those vendors could build themselves.
This spawned a whole generation of applications that we never buy outright, only pay for on a monthly basis, and are accessible from anywhere on smartphones, tablets or laptops.
Cloud has now come to the business world with CRM applications like Salesforce.com, marketing automation, office applications and more. Now we can also run our telephone system and contact centers from the cloud.
No longer do you have to acquire a large amount of hardware and software and place it in their own computer rooms, have to manage and maintain those systems, work out when and how to upgrade or even integrate to other applications. Now you simply sign up or subscribe to the service, acquire the physical telephone handsets or load the soft phones on their laptop of smart phone and connect to the service.
You let us worry about keeping the system current, maintaining it, making sure that the servers are operating at peak efficiency, the data center runs effectively, that the application is kept current – so that you can spend more time on your core business. Cloud has many benefits over buying premise based equipment: