The IT industry is in the process of making huge technology shifts. One of the greatest advancements of the computing world, cloud computing, is bringing about phenomenal improvements by changing the way we look at our computing needs. This is especially true for startup firms. Instead of making huge investments in localised solutions, making a foray in to the business world directly with flexible cloud-based services seems to be the intelligent, future-proof choice.
Let us look at 5 such interesting technologies in a generic startup firm’s perspective:
Software as a Service
Software as a Service (SaaS) is one of the most prominent of the cloud computing models. In this model, all the data belonging to the customer organisation – their reports, documents, content, etc. are hosted on a centralised server, maintained by the service provider. Even content access, editing and collaborative work done by the customers are done on the server, with the help of web-based applications. Hardware requirements are limited under this model enabling start ups to quickly access much required programs from any location.
Unsurprisingly some of the most common and widely popular SaaS services are office applications such as:
Google Docs – a complete set of office applications from Google Inc., these tools provide almost every document editing and presentation tool one might find the need to use in a startup firm. What’s more, it is free for use, and recently, Google extended its functionality by introducing Google Drive, an online storage option.
Office 365 – a cloud-based solution from Microsoft, this web-based office suite includes online access to the popular Microsoft Office Tools such as Office, SharePoint, Exchange, etc.
The cloud concept is even more prevelant in project management. Project management, with the requirements for centralised work and document control, lends itself extremely well to the concept of the cloud and it is no wonder that most of the market leaders in the project management software world are present as web applications.
Trello is a web-based application that helps to manage projects being undertaken by an organisation. Made by Fog Creek Software, this product is based on MongoDB, Node.js and Backbone.js, and its USP is its ability to sync in real time with a smart phone application.
BaseCamp is another such cloud-based project management service. With BaseCamp, one can enjoy a variety of features such as to-do lists, web-based text documents in a wiki style, file sharing, internal messaging and many more.
Whilst virtualized hosting is certainly not a new concept in the world of the web, cloud-based hosting is another important service that any new firm can take advantage of when they are making considerations regarding their networking and webservers. Cloud servers work on the idea that all processes are centralized within the cloud and are thus accessible via any location. In essence all computational resources (CPU, RAM, bandwidth limits, hard drives) are virtualized by a bank of datacenters enabling customers to start, restart and close server instances of potentially limitless size and power almost instantly. Start ups can thus create a server and scale it exactly to the needs of the company.
Elastic Hosts, for example, is one such service that provides interesting features at competitive prices such as instant server creation, instant reconfiguration of a server’s capabilities (on demand scaling), and remote monitoring, among many other features.
The ability to store private data in an online server, instead of storing on local hard drives, is an indispensable one. There are many cloud storage options available today, but some stand out – Dropbox and Google Drive. These two services have become the most popular ones. With cloud storage, the startup only needs to pay for the storage, while the hardware and maintenance costs are covered by the service provider. No special software needs to be set up on the start-up’s end, and all they need is an active broadband connection.
The cloud has influenced the hardware world as well. There are several products coming up today which are focusing on making the cloud a mainstream face of personal home computing. For instance, the ChromeBook from Google is one device that truly redefines the idea of personalised cloud computing. The device provides direct integration with Google’s cloud services, and comes shipped with Chrome OS, a cloud-centred operating system. From a start up perspective this gives an insight into the movements away from storing and accessing data from a local pespective and moving all data and services into a centralized cloud. Hardware requirements are also diminished meaning that costs for local devices can also drop.
Cloud-based Operating Systems
With cloud-centred devices, such as the Chromebook, operating systems have also begun turning to the cloud. Shipped with the Chromebook, this OS is a Linux-based software that comes fully integrated with Google’s online offerings, and is a great companion to startups that have taken to the clouds. The real beauty of cloud based operating systems is the fact that all settings and documents are effectively saved within the cloud meaning that a user could go to a completely different computer and access exactly the same information as their own computer
With most service providers providing customised, cloud-based solutions for the customer’s needs, the cloud segment just cannot be ignored any further. With innumerable features and great advantages over the traditional approach to computing, cloud computing can give your startup that singular boost it needs to give you room to focus on other areas of the business.
This article was created on behalf of ElasticHosts – a keen supporter of all things cloud. ElasticHosts has datacenters in the UK, US and Canada meaning they can supply efficient US, CA and UK cloud hosting solutions.