By Ben Puzzuoli, Technical Sales Director at KineticD
April 12, 2012

KineticD Online Data Backup Expert Tips: Cloud Computing 101

No matter what, if you know anything about IT for business, you know that there is no denying the increasing popularity of cloud computing and online data backup. However, being that cloud services are a relatively new phenomenon, many businesses end up doing themselves a disservice by not being as knowledgeable as they should be about the basic elements that comprise cloud computing. After all, if you want to be able to reap the most possible benefit out of storing data in the cloud, you must first have a basic understanding of how the process works in the first place. So, with this in mind, let’s go over a few key concepts that must be understood in order for SMBs to get the most out of modern day online data backup and cloud computing solutions.

1. What is cloud computing?
The term “cloud computing” basically refers to any situation in which data is being accessed from and stored to an off-site location over a given network, the network most often utilized for this purpose nowadays being, of course, the Internet. In order for cloud computing services to function at all, a connection must be established between the client and the online cloud vendor, with special software that is installed on the client’s system, often called an “agent”, being utilized to facilitate and leverage this connection between the two parties. In addition to being the client’s gateway to the cloud, agent software also often offers many other advantages to the end user of cloud services, including granting them the ability to monitor activity and other aspects of both the in-house and cloud networks, and to set various rules dictating the accessibility of different files for different users within the company.

2. Online data backup
One of the most primary uses for cloud storage is, of course, to allow enterprises a greater and more convenient method of backup up their all-important business data. While in the not-so-distant past, in order to be sure that their data was securely protected against things like natural disasters or theft, companies were required to first go through the process of performing their own in-house backups and then to physically transfer the backup data to off-site storage locations, nowadays companies can thankfully enjoy simply backing up online. Indeed, backing up your company’s data in the cloud is continuing to become more and more of a foolproof and convenient method of data protection, with many cloud vendors now offering various levels of incremental backup services wherein, after a client’s overall system backup has been performed, only the files that are altered or saved anew are backed up, freeing up valuable bandwidth which can then be utilized for other Internet and computer-related business operations.

3. Remote data access
Of course, while the most popular aspect of cloud computing has often been the above-mentioned ease of online data backup, the truly changing face of cloud computing lies in the increased popularity of the myriad other advantages that can be reaped from storing data in the cloud, most notably remote data access. By taking advantage of the services of cloud vendors, businesses of all sizes can now access their cloud-stored data from almost any location that has an Internet connection. This of course opens up a whole new range of possibilities for businesses, with employees that are on the go now potentially having access to any company file that they might need. And, while this is also often accomplished using agent software, cloud vendors are now frequently supplying lightweight, web-based applications for this purpose as well, which allow cloud users the ability to access all of their online data from portable, personal devices like laptops and smartphones.

4. Different types of cloud services
There are many types of cloud storage services available for enterprises, with each type bringing about different advantages for different types and sizes of businesses. “Public clouds” are often the most common, in which a cloud computing service provider stores and manages the information from numerous clients on the same server. Among the advantages of public clouds is that they are the most cost-efficient to implement, with the cloud vendor offering them being able to maximize the efficient use of the capacity of their servers, and thus often being able to offer this service at a relatively less expensive price to their clients. However, although data stored by cloud vendors is almost always encrypted both while in transit between the cloud vendor and their clients (and while being stored on the cloud backup provider’s servers as well), some larger enterprises still worry about the data security of public clouds, and thus these companies sometimes opt for more expensive “private clouds”, in which a company’s data is stored physically separate from the data of other users. In addition to this, hybrid cloud solutions that combine both types of storage also exist as well.

5. The scalability of cloud computing solutions
One last fundamental advantage of cloud computing that is also adding to its increasing rise in popularity is the scalable pricing models that are often offered by cloud vendors. Indeed, cloud computing is now also appropriately known as “utility computing”, with the scalable pricing methods of many cloud vendors now allowing more and more smaller businesses to take advantage of cloud services that were once only available to the largest of enterprises. Much like the way that utility companies only charge their customers for the amount of electricity or water that they use each month, these scalable solutions allow businesses to only have to purchase the levels of cloud services that they require at any given time. And, these scalable solutions are allowing businesses to not only be sure that they are only paying for the services that they require, but also helping them avoid the once-common and often quite costly process of building up their own in-house IT infrastructures to the level where they know that they will have the ability to handle future increases in IT demand.

In summary, the transportation of IT infrastructures into the cloud can bring about many advantages to businesses of all sizes, with the scalable price models now being offered by many modern day cloud vendors making it so that more SMBs can now afford to take advantage of these technologically advanced services, which is indeed serving to level the playing field in our increasingly global business marketplace. Of course, we here at KineticD are proud to be on the cutting edge of this new revolution in how businesses of all sizes implement their IT infrastructures, and pride ourselves on offering the most advanced and scalable cloud IT solutions on the market. So, for more information on how our cloud services could help your developing SMB, please visit KineticD’s website today!

About the author: Ben Puzzuoli is Technical Sales Director at KineticD, a Toronto based online data backup service provider.

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