What is the "Cloud"?

According to Synergy Research Group, the worldwide cloud computing market grew to $110 billion in value in 2015 alone - a massive 21% increase over the previous year. It's become so important that 41% of businesses are expecting to increase their investment in cloud technologies over the next few years in an effort to remain competitive and better align their technology with their long-term objectives.

To many, cloud software is more than just a way to store files on the Internet so that they're accessible from any device, anywhere at any time. Understanding a little bit more about what it is and where it came from will go a long way towards helping you realize why it is so essential to your business.

What is the Cloud?

In many ways, it is actually a simple idea that says that software and other virtual assets are no longer "hosted on" or "dependent on" a particular piece of hardware. Think of this in the context of a computer program - something that you and your employees probably use a lot of on a daily basis.

In "the old days," you would purchase a piece of software and install it on a particular machine in your office. If you wanted to use that program, you needed to be sitting in front of that particular machine. Do you need to get some work done while you're at home, but also need to use that one specific program? If you didn't ALSO install it on the desktop in your house, you're out of luck.

Things change dramatically by utilizing cloud-based technology. That software is no longer installed locally - it's installed on a remote server somewhere in the world and you're accessing it via the Internet. Any computer or device with an Internet connection can access that same piece of software, opening up a whole new world in terms of productivity alone.

This is just one small slice of why it's such a game changer in terms of the way we do business with one another.

You are already in the Cloud

Many of us are already using cloud based software without even necessarily realizing it. When you made the decision to upload all of the computers on your iPhone to your Apple online storage account so that they would also be available on your MacBook, that was only possible because of Apple's reliance on the cloud. Shutterfly, Dropbox, OneDrive - these are all examples of widely used cloud-based services.

But even going beyond that, cloud virtual software has changed the way we communicate in other ways, too. Cloud-based phone services like VoIP, free communication from the limitations of space, software and even hardware. With VoIP, you don't need to be sitting at your desk in your office to take a call from a client because everything is handled via the Internet. You can take that same call on your iPhone while you're waiting for your plane to take off, or even from your laptop computer while you're working from home for the afternoon.

None of this would have been possible without a small-yet-essential shift in perspective. Hardware and even the software you install on it no longer matters thanks to how powerful and reliable the Internet has become. Instead, the focus has been placed on value where it should have always been - and the cloud makes it a foregone conclusion that this value is available anywhere, at any time, no exceptions.

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About Simplicity

Simplicity VoIP, based in Richmond, VA, provides hosted PBX, VoIP and business telephone solutions nationally to small, medium, and enterprise-level businesses for a comprehensive unified communications experience. Two distinct Class 5 geo-redundant VoIP platforms are offered in addition to fax-to-email, phones and equipment, and managed services. Named as Richmond’s 11th fastest growing company by Richmond BizSense, Simplicity VoIP’s key to success is its on-site service, installation and training supported 24/7/365 by a world-class client services team.