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Friday, 2 December 2011

The Push to the Cloud!!!



If you've been around the internet the last few years, you may have noticed the rising popularity of cloud computing. Sure, social sites like Twitter, Facebook, Yahoo Games and Google+ have been around for years, but many businesses have been turning to cloud computing for software solutions. Compare Google Docs to the more standard Microsoft Office. Sure, Microsoft Office still has a stranglehold on office productivity applications, but Microsoft's release of the cloud-based Office 365 earlier this year proves that cloud computing is a force to be reckoned with. According to a recent study by Microdesk, this trend will only continue in the future as companies push the limits of what the cloud is capable of.

A cloud-based software application, commonly referred to as software as a solution or SaaS, offers clients a number of advantages over traditional boxed software. First and foremost is a lower total cost. SaaS is cheaper to acquire, operate and maintain than traditional software. For example, DocRaptor is a web-based application that converts HTML to PDF documents. This SaaS application features subscription based pricing, which is a common feature for cloud-based software. Clients only pay for the services required, and may upgrade or cancel subscriptions at any time. Another key feature of cloud-based applications is easier maintenance. Because it's a service clients pay for rather than purchased software, there's no large up-front cost, no need to install it on multiple machines, and no need to maintain licenses or update software. With a cloud based application, all updates are rolled out centrally and pushed to all users simultaneously.

The internet has decentralized many things: information, entertainment, communication and productivity. With the portability of a SaaS, clients gain a greater amount of choice for workspaces, because the software can be accessed anywhere with an internet connection. However, this ease of access has raised concerns for many business owners. Security of data stored in the cloud has been an issue since the beginning, but recently some technologists' have put forward the theory that data stored in the cloud may actually be more secure than data stored on-site. If the security is done correctly, that is.

Security concerns aside, it's obvious the cloud isn't going anywhere and even more obvious that more businesses will be relying on SaaS in the future. As with every all technologies, cloud computing will grow, evolve and become ever more sophisticated. There may well come a time the cloud is the standard, and boxed software a distant memory.

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