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Chris in Clouds

Why the cloud? What are its benefits?

November 29, 2018

Why the cloud? What are its benefits?

by Nov 29, 2018

There is an increasing discussion lately on cloud-based software.  With the term getting thrown around a lot, I want to address two core questions in this blog: what is a cloud-based system, and what are its benefits? I will not talk about the negatives.  As with any solution, there are ALWAYS negatives.  Let’s focus on the good.

What is a cloud-based software system? Here are a few key points:

  • The application is typically hosted in a cloud-based infrastructure. The three big ones are AWS (Amazon Web Services), Azure (Microsoft’s cloud), and Google cloud.
  • The application takes advantage of the ability to scale quickly because of the nature of the cloud. A solid cloud-based system can grow its capacity in memory and CPU in a flash based off of how busy the application becomes. It also has the ability to scale back in slow times.
  • The application becomes Highly Available (HA) and has redundancy. Basically, this means that it has a lot of backups, and up-time should be in the high 90%, as in 97.9%. For instance, never goes down.  And, if it did, you would never notice because it has a TON of redundancy and scalability behind the application.

Why is a cloud-based application beneficial?

  • It allows for easier access to the data you need to run your business. Having an application running on your office’s main computer that you have to VPN to is not easy or that effective.
  • You can avoid being held hostage by ransomware. Ransomware is software that locks your computer until you pay the hijackers their ransom to unlock your system. Your options are to pay or to reinstall everything. If you have customer data or important applications on your local computers, this can become very costly. If you are using a cloud-based system, you are less likely to have this issue because all of your data is stored remotely.
  • You can avoid losing data in a disaster like floods. It is not uncommon for floods, hurricanes, or other natural events to greatly impact cities and towns. I know several Houston auto shop owners who lost a lot of data when Houston had its floods. Their data was gone because all of it was on local computers, and their backups were stored locally, too. A cloud-based system doesn’t suffer this fate. Although it is possible for a server farm in a cloud to be devastated, the applications are usually ported to a safe place due to the nature of how software runs before any damage takes place.
  • A cloud-based application is more likely to have some set of APIs (Application Programming Interfaces), making it easier to share data among other software systems. As owners, we sometimes want to use several different software systems in our processes and having the ability to share data becomes critical in making these applications work together. When an application runs on a local computer, this task becomes much more difficult.
Hopefully, this blog was not too much technical jargon. Cloud-based systems are here and will continue to be the future. As with anything, your comfort level will dictate your direction, so become comfortable with cloud-based applications. One more VERY important note: just because an application is on the internet DOES NOT make it cloud-based.  Reach out if you’d like to continue the conversation further!
Chris Cloutier

Chris Cloutier

Architect/President at Autoflow

The Desire for Continuous Improvement

As an auto repair shop owner of Golden Rule Auto Care, Chris Cloutier realized the need for a better way to communicate with his customers as he observed how communication gaps created bottleneck situations and wasted valuable rack time.

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Chris Cloutier