On The Issues: Technology

What is Cloud Computing?

Marshall Gochenour, Owner, Nola Techie

Keeping up with changing technology can be daunting at times; as soon as you’re acclimated to one thing, another inextricably comes along. “Cloud” computing, and “moving things to the Cloud” are written about and talked about a lot, but most people really don’t know what they mean or how the Cloud can be beneficial to their businesses.

“Cloud computing and storage” is a colloquial expression used to describe a variety of different things you once did on a computer (software, storage, databases, etc.) that can now be done through your web browser. Everything from Google documents, Flickr, iCloud, Yahoo email and Gmail are examples of Cloud computing. Traditionally you would use programs that reside on your computer, like Microsoft Outlook or Excel. You would also store or save your information on your computer or network. Now all of that can be simply accessed through the internet. Companies
such as Amazon, Google, Microsoft, SalesForce. com, Dropbox and a whole host of others provide the applications, storage, and other IT needs to you. Cloud computing has many advantages for small to mid-sized businesses, most of which are centered around cost, scalability, and disaster preparedness. Cloud services offered by large providers are targeted to retail and small businesses. What’s more, the Cloud is…



Before, a business had to spend thousands of dollars on equipment, infrastructure, and employees to maintain said equipment. Now, there are only fees for amount of usage, no initial investment for equipment, and users can access it from almost any web browser.



If your needs for computing power or amount of storage increases or decreases, the flexibility of this model allows for scaling up or down painlessly. All of the work is done by the particular provider’s data center. This also helps keep costs down by only paying for what you need.


Always Accessible

Keeping your applications and data in the Cloud keeps that information safe from disasters, both natural and man-made (like accidentally deleting your backups). The major Cloud providers have multiple redundant data center locations across the world to ensure both the safety of your data and the reliability of being able to access it from computers, phones, and tablets anytime, anywhere.

Benefits aside, security is always a big concern and question for any business owner. Cloud security can be as good as or better than traditional server and network setups because the Cloud provider can expend resources and efforts on security issues that customers couldn’t afford to confront on their own. There are drawbacks as you lose a bit of control by letting another company store your data, and you leave yourself open to the possibility of your provider’s security compromises.

The Cloud is transforming the ways we use technology and increasing the kinds of devices we can use to do it.

Nola Techie conducts webinars and nonprofit technology consulting for Louisiana in partnership with LANO (Louisiana Association of Nonprofits). They also offer computer consulting services for the entire southern gulf coast region (Lafayette, LA to Mobile Bay, AL). For more information, visit their website at, email them at nolatechie@, or call 504.521.6920.

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