If you own a digital device, chances are you’ve interacted with the cloud — although you may be more familiar with names like Google Drive or iCloud. Cloud computing services like these and others such as Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, our iVenture Cloud and more play an integral part in our digital lives. To many people, however, the notion of a “cloud” is confusing, or even intimidating. And while cloud computing is certainly a heavy technical term, the concept isn’t so dense so let’s start at the beginning.
Something's on the Horizon
The first inklings of what would evolve to be cloud computing began in the 1950s. During a decade when the Korean War began, the first Peanuts comic was published and Brown v. Board of Education was established, people like John McCarthy and J.C.R. Licklider were working on a novel idea: a worldwide computer network where users could interact and access data from anywhere on Earth.
In the 1950s, computers were big, expensive and mostly unattainable to small businesses. McCarthy devised that if computing time could be shared among users, allowing them to work interactively, smaller businesses could see a greater value in purchasing computers. This resulted in the Time-Sharing Theory which helped accelerate the push to find a solution into the 1960s.
"A novel idea: a worldwide computer network where users could interact and access data from anywhere on Earth."
In 1969, two men — Robert Taylor and Larry Roberts — fueled by Licklider’s world-wide-web idea created the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network or ARPANET, a computer network that allowed devices in different physical locations to share data! This revolutionary creation paved the way for the internet.
The 1970s and 1980s saw great advancements toward cloud computing as we know it today, including supercomputer centers and IBM’s first Ethernet adapter card. But it wasn’t until 1996 that the actual term “cloud computing” came into existence in a Compaq business plan and the true notion of cloud computing began to form.
So, What is the Cloud?
We’ve come a long way from the 1950s. Licklider, McCarthy, Roberts and Taylor would be amazed to see how their work evolved into the on-demand, publicly accessible and easily used services we take for granted every day. In simple terms, cloud computing is using the internet to access and store data rather than a personal hard drive.
Okay, How Does That Work?
Rather than using the hard drive on your personal device, your information is housed in virtual servers which connect to huge buildings made for cloud services. These buildings, called data centers, have the necessary infrastructure and security to hold your data and protect it.
Our own private cloud service uses data centers with biometric security and CCTV monitoring, redundant UPS generator backups, dry system fire suppression and more to keep your information accessible yet safe from malicious attacks and forces of nature.
"In simple terms, cloud computing is using the internet to access and store data rather than a personal hard drive."
From cloud computing comes cloud hosting. This form of IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) is offered by vendors such as managed service providers (MSPs) who provide their cloud computing solutions to businesses. When you partner with a cloud hosting vendor, your infrastructure is outsourced across virtual machines that connect back to the vendor's data center. You still have complete access to your data as normal, only the method of delivery differs.
Cloud Hosting - A Benefit to Businesses Everywhere
So is the cloud right for you? Besides being a feat of technical ingenuity, cloud hosting offers these practical benefits to you and your business:
For legal or medical businesses, or any company that takes security seriously, the cloud offers a big benefit. Good cloud services are based in protected, hardened data centers that ensure your data is safe from accidents, hacking or even natural disasters. Your important information isn't at the mercy of one device which could be infected or break any day, it's securely stored and always available on the cloud.
As long as you have a strong internet connection, you can access your cloud from anywhere with virtually any device. This means you can work while waiting at the doctor’s office, at the airport, at home or wherever you need to be. When your data isn’t tied to just a local server or one device, you’ll see productivity increase because you have everything you need straight from the cloud.
Businesses looking for more flexibility in their growth will find the cloud especially beneficial. With information technology, a large constraint to growth is the physical environment — how many computers can your office hold, how many servers can it fit, how can you maximize your space? The cloud relieves some of that pressure by remotely storing your data so you can grow your business without the added worry of finding a bigger office space to house infrastructure.
With headquarters in Florida, we’re used to preparing for emergencies and natural disasters. So we know how helpful the cloud is when it comes to technology continuity planning. The cloud offers support to ensure your information is safe and available in the event of fire, flood, hurricane or whatever unforeseen circumstance occurs. This allows your business to keep running and maintain profitability.
The cloud has come a long way and it's here to stay. By 2021, cloud computing is on track to replace almost all traditional data facilities. By that time, these large-scale data centers will hold 65 percent of all data stored in the world! Leveraging the power of the cloud now means you'll be ahead of the curve years before other businesses.
Give yourself a competitive advantage. iVenture Solutions is an award-winning managed service provider delivering superior IT solutions to clients across Florida. As a leading-edge IT firm for small and medium-sized businesses, we provide a diverse range of services covering the entire scope of IT including maintenance, support, hosting and more. Through rapid response time, reduction of chaos and the right people, our expert team of IT professionals will fulfill your technology needs. At iVenture, we give you more time to do what matters most.