Are you on cloud nine, or just sitting on your SaaS?
The concept of cloud computing has been receiving a lot of attention recently, but in reality it is something many of us have been using for some time now already. For simple things like checking our e-mails on Hotmail, or viewing videos on YouTube. Put simply, cloud computing is just using the internet to access services enabled by technology, so all you need is a web connection.
People can often be confused about the difference between Cloud Computing and SaaS (Software as a Service), and the fact that many Software as a Service options also utilise Cloud Computing only serves to further complicate the issue.
The main difference between the two is the scale and application involved. Cloud computing is broader, taken to mean the whole hosting internet system, while SaaS is usually considered to be specific to the service being offered. In its simplest form, SaaS is just any application that is used and run that is not located on your businesses premises. A licensed product that is owned, delivered and managed remotely by a provider, and used for a pay-for-use or subscription based fee.
To provide a well-known example of a SaaS that is not fully a cloud computing product is iTunes, which is purchased from the web, but downloaded to and hosted from your hard drive.
Cloud computing (or cloud/desktop hybrids) offer many advantages over the tradition on site hosting system.
• A fast and flexibility solution
• Easier sharing means allowing greater collaborative efforts.
• Access from anywhere on a simple web browser, saving time and allowing easier use for multi-location setups.
• Work in a live data environment.
• Pay as you go services mean you only pay for what you use.
• Independent of technology-no large scale infrastructure setup.
• Greener, and more efficient solution
• Can enhance customer service, by getting the customer involved in processes.
Security is understandably a concern for those engaging in cloud computing, as people want to know that the data they are having stored is safe. For this reason, much like we already do when looking for an online banking service, it is important to investigate providers, and only join up once we are satisfied with their reputation, and that the process is safe.
While it was actually the personal arena which led the growth of Cloud computing, and we are now seeing a greater adoption of it within the business world. As BBC Online’s Business Editor, Tim Weber, puts it: “Cloud Computing is not new; although it’s fair to say that businesses have been slow on the take-up.”
With cloud computing opening the door for a greater level of mass workplace mobility (as discussed in our previous blog), and an increased work life balance, the cloud may have far reaching business impact, changing not just how efficiently we do business, but how we do business altogether.
Sage offer a range of cloud computing software as a service solutions for accounts, payroll, CRM, HR and time management. For more information, visit our site.