Cartoon Courtesy: Rob Cottingham

What is Cloud Computing?

The term Cloud Computing is everywhere these days. Trains, buses, TV advertisements and newspapers.

But what is Cloud Computing?

Basically cloud computing is when you upload information to a central computer hosted by a software company via the internet and is password protected. This means you can access the information from anywhere with an internet connection. All you need is your username and password.

The most common forms of cloud computing have been Hotmail and Gmail– free email addresses that aren’t reliant on a local ISP.

Why is cloud computing more prevalent today?

Now that computer processing power and more importantly computer storage has grown exponentially it has become viable for smaller players to get involved in the cloud.

8 Benefits of Cloud Computing:

  • You or your staff can access vital information from anywhere with an internet connection
  • Design Studios can work on projects together in real time.
  • You and your accountant can view your business accounts any time.
  • You can view invoices to and from clients anywhere.
  • It enables you to cut down on meetings, emails and phone calls
  • Everyone in the sales team knows conversations that have been had with clients.
  • Note taking and calendars can be shared between computers.
  • Generally speaking they are a subscription based model with many offering a free subscription for small accounts that begin to charge once you use the software more and more.

What are the issues with Cloud Computing?

  • Security; Like with most things internet related computer passwords need to be carefully stored so people can’t access your private information.
  • They are subscription based so you have to continue the subscription in order to keep the data.
  • Ensuring continuality of service is vital especially if another company buys out your provider.
  • There maybe issues of ownership and copyright as you are sending your information to a third party- read the terms & conditions if possible.
  • Hacking attacks; we’ve seen it with Sony, Nintendo, Google and countless others.
  • Make sure you upload information through a secure connection- not the airport terminal’s wireless.
  • Do your homework first; you wouldn’t trust your sensitive data with just anyone- make sure the company has a good reputation. This might not be so important if you’re using a program like a note taker so you remember your shopping list, however if you are storing sensitive data ensure its a reputable company.
  • Make sure the companies store your information on servers that are in countries that abide by copyright rules and regulations.
  • If the internet is down so is your business.

Some of the Cloud computing products we use at We Push Buttons:

  • Drop Box- File Sharing Software for large projects like web design
  •  Highrise- Customer Relationship Manager
  •  myOws- Online Copyright Protection
  •  Evernote Note Taking Software
  •  Gmail Email account, Web Analytics, Books

Personally I use the cloud for all my non-critical information. I take the attitude, if someone hacked into any of these accounts will it expose my clients vital information or my businesses’ in anyway.

At this stage I’m still not convinced that the cloud is the solution for your mission critical information. There are simply too many issues arising from third-parties storing your information on THEIR computers and not yours.

There are massive benefits for collaboration and data storage costs but you really need to think about the ramifications of trusting a Third-Party all your companies files, intellectual property and emails.

What Cloud Computing Products do you Use?



Small Business Ideas - 18 Jul 2011 - by Rob Jennings

About Rob Jennings

When he found himself embroiled in a conversation with someone talking about their ‘customer-centric core competencies’ he realised it was time to create a Web Design Agency that was less about self promoting buzz-words and more about people and giving them the tools to understand the web.

The idea behind We Push Buttons was to create an environment where business owners can learn about building their organisation, whether it be with an outstanding website, SEO or any other marketing ideas. Coming from the art industry and online retail background he knows first hand the needs of growing a business in a tough environment.