Your Business With James Caan 2017 - 191
Computing in the cloud is booming, but how do
you choose the right package for your business?
We take a look at the key considerations
he last few years have seen
the rapid rise in the use of
cloud computing. With broadband
connectivity set to improve even
further and the cost of data storage
falling, this trend will only continue.
It's important, therefore, to be fully
aware of its variations and what to
look for in a provider.
WHAT'S OUT THERE?
There are diﬀerent types of cloud
computing to choose from:
Otherwise known as cloud apps,
these are used to access an
application hosted on the internet.
One of the best-known examples of
this is Salesforce, which specialises
in customer relations management
(CRM) software, but SaaS covers
a much wider range of functions
including online email, word
processing, secure data storage, ﬁle
transfer and content management
systems (CMS). Many organisations
now make use of services such as
Dropbox or WeTransfer for storing
and sending ﬁles, for example.
This allows businesses to develop
their own applications over the
internet without having any physical
infrastructure on their premises. In
the past, developers would need to
buy and install various hardware
and applications, add these to your
existing systems and maintain them.
A PaaS provider, however, will support
all the underlying computing and
software, usually for a monthly fee on
a per-user basis.
This gives you a virtual server in the
cloud, on which you can install and
run applications. It is similar to how
you would use a physical server in your
own oﬃce, and has all the network
connections and storage.
IaaS platforms oﬀer highly
scalable resources that can be
adjusted on demand. This makes
them well-suited if your business
has workloads that are temporary,
experimental or change unexpectedly.
These allow you to invoice customers,
analyse business performance and
manage VAT, stock and budgets. The
best ones manage the entire quoteto-invoice process, meaning you no
longer need various spreadsheets to
keep track as a job progresses.
Many services also have apps for
your mobile phone and tablet, making
it even easier for small-business
owners to manage payroll or analyse
their balance sheet while on the move.
HOSTED VOICE OVER INTERNET
PROTOCOL (HOSTED VoIP)
Unlike standard telephony systems,
cloud telephony doesn't require
complicated servers and timeconsuming installations. Instead
of relying on standard circuit
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