Confused by the Cloud?

Confused by the Cloud?

Have you heard all the chatter about cloud computing, but you’re still a little foggy when it comes to understanding what it means?  Simone Alley, market development manager for CenturyLink in Virginia can clear it up for you. “Cloud computing refers to storing and accessing data and programs over the Internet or a private connection instead of from your computer’s hard drive” said Simone. “Data isn’t actually stored in a cloud.”

Businesses of all sizes are using cloud computing to host their websites, email programs, databases, testing and development functions, backup files and more. Email programs hosted in the cloud provide full-featured email capabilities—the same ones you have in the office—whether you’re home, on the road or anywhere in the world. You can log in with just an Internet connection. The features you depend on, like your calendar and directories, are always available to you.

According to Simone, there are some simple benefits that almost every business can realize. First and foremost is disaster preparedness. Storing company records, files, and other important data on an off-site server is critical if you’re going to keep your business going after a disaster like a storm, fire, or flood. Using a cloud service to back up your data allows you to access it from remote computers or even mobile devices, should the worst ever happen. It’s no longer necessary to buy expensive storage devices like servers nor install, configure or maintain that hardware. In the cloud, your service provider already invested in the equipment, which is maintained as part of your service.

Security is another primary reason to use cloud.  Spam, viruses and security breaches scare every business owner because the consequences of downtime or losing customers’ data are grave. Cloud-based service providers like CenturyLink offer access to security experts and strong security features.

File-sharing programs made possible with cloud computing improve communication among employees and customers. More businesses are relying on collaborative efforts with secure document-sharing, instant messaging and video conferencing. Buying these services in the cloud eliminates purchasing licenses and installing or updating complex software.

What’s the best way to get to the Cloud? Having a reliable, secure connection through your private or public network is absolutely critical if your business is going to explore Cloud computing solutions. Your data and software applications can only benefit your company if you can access them!

For more information regarding cloud computing or to discuss your specific business needs, please contact Brian Watson, business sales manager at CenturyLink at 434-971-2376 or stop by the CenturyLink Experience Center at 1240 Seminole Trail in Charlottesville.

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