Cloud computing has been a hot topic throughout the business world for a number of years, yet it has been met with some trepidation from organisations outside of the technology sphere. Recently, however, businesses across Australia have been looking to cloud solutions for an efficient and safe way to conduct business, use software, and store data. This series on cloud computing is designed to inform our readers on all the key aspects around cloud and how it will change the way they do business. On the iCareHealth blog today, we look at what cloud computing means for businesses on a practical level, who’s using it and why.
Simply put, cloud computing is a way for end-users to use software, access and store data online, without having to install software or use their own servers. One of the best ways to think of cloud computing is in relation to software. Previously when a business purchased a piece of software – such as an accounting program – someone would need to travel to a physical store to purchase the product, then install the software manually onto their hard drive before they could determine whether it suited their needs. With the use of cloud however, a business can simply log on to a website that stores their data in the cloud. This process takes minimal time, no local storage, and the software can be used on multiple computers both on and off site. In this way, many businesses may already be using cloud based software – such as the popular accounting software, Xero – without even realising it.
Another benefit of using cloud based software is the speed and ease of which businesses can receive updates and upgrades. When companies find a program that works well for them, they can be hesitant to upgrade, even when there are new features that would suit their needs. This is because of the time and training implications that are often associated with a major upgrade. By creating software that is cloud based however, software companies are able to schedule small updates regularly with little or no impact on the user. These updates are done in the cloud, without the constraints of traditional deployment, and in some cases can take place as often as several times a day. With the ability to perform minor updates on a regular basis, cloud computing keeps software current; without the time and training associated with a full upgrade implementation.
While cloud computing is a relatively new concept in aged care, many industries have well and truly embraced cloud as an integral part of how they do business. Due to their need for high capacity processing, the banking sector utilise cloud in many forms. Most major Australian banks currently use cloud based infrastructure to enable departments to utilise individual server and storage resources. Other notable cloud computing adoptees include Coles supermarkets and the Queensland State Government, who announced the move to Microsoft’s Office 365 cloud based software and services platform earlier this year. Queensland IT Minister Ian Walker stated that this move would save the State Government $13.7 million in IT expenses over the next three years.
Here at iCareHealth, we want to ensure our clients and supporters truly understand cloud computing and the benefits it can bring to businesses across Australia. Stay tuned to the iCareHealth blog because next time, we’ll be taking a look at the technical side of cloud computing, including a practical explanation of the cloud layers and the deployment models.
In what way has cloud computing changed the way you do business?