Many business owners are told they can streamline their workflow and increase productivity by working in the cloud. If you don’t know what working in the cloud means, you may be reluctant to do so. The best part about cloud computing is you don’t have to think about how it works most of the time, it just does. However, I realize that inquiring minds want to know, so I have put together this post that will hopefully answer most of your questions about what it means to work in the cloud.
What ‘Working in the Cloud’ Means
When shifting to cloud computing you’re no longer relying on local computers and servers to run the applications and store the documents you need. A network of computers, known as “the cloud”, handles these tasks instead. Typically all it takes to work on applications in the cloud is a current web browser, while cloud servers do the rest. If you store and access files in your email folder, or in applications like Dropbox or Google Drive, then you have run into cloud computing before.
Email is a perfect example that everyone can relate to when describing cloud computing. Instead of using an application stored on your computer to access email, such as Outlook for Windows or Mail for OSX, you can use a web-based service like Gmail. Google’s servers take on the work of running the email application and storing the data, rather than your computer doing the work. Now that you’re familiar with what cloud computing is, I’m going to get into the nitty gritty of how it all works.
How Cloud Computing Works
Cloud computing systems are divided into a front-end and back-end, which are connected via the Internet. The user and his or her computer is the front end, while the cloud computing system is the back end. On the back end are a series of connected computers, servers, and data storage systems which work together to create “the cloud”.
Since cloud computing systems run on a dedicated server, and are not limited to your computer’s resources, you can run anything in the cloud from a basic word processor to cutting edge graphic design software. In a way, cloud computing may be able to prolong the life of your equipment if the majority of applications are being run in the cloud.
One of the easiest ways for your business to jump into cloud computing is through using a document management application like Google Drive. Drive lets you store just about anything you wish in a file management system similar to what you use on your computer. Files can be accessed by those who you wish to share your Drive folders with. You can also create new documents on Drive with its integrated word processing, spreadsheet, and PowerPoint software.
For more information about working in the cloud, and about digital document management in general, we recommend reading some of our recently published articles: