(Western Morning News (England) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Cloud brings complex software down to earth ; Logo Marketing & Design's web expert, Sarah Doney, explains how the advent of cloud computing means a silver lining for businesses and individuals alike THE WEB EXPERT
THE WEB EXPERT Back in the early days of the internet, men (it usually was men) would discuss the flow of data between PCs, LANs and WANs using flowcharts packed with symbols and arrows. When it came to representing the gigantic, nebulous infrastructure of the internet, a billowing fluffy cloud would typically be used. This has always been the way the internet has been imagined. Out there, somewhere, detached from your computer's hard drive, receiving and dispensing data from high above.
For a long time, however, the reality did not live up to the hype. Until recently, software came on discs accompanied by a hefty manual. Once loaded, all the number-crunching would take place on a beleaguered computer. As software became more and more sophisticated, the burden placed on the poor PC often caused it to grind to a virtual standstill.
These days, the cloud concept of the internet is more of a reality. This means that software can either be downloaded from the cloud or operated remotely while it is stored inside the cloud. Sometimes called Software As A Service (SAAS), this approach has led to services like Google Docs and Open Office providing powerful online word processing, spreadsheets, databases and storage completely free of charge.
With vast storage space, the cloud can make highly sophisticated software available to users who would otherwise not have the processing power to run it. Pixlr, for example, offers most of the photo-editing features people require for free, without the complexity of the costly Photoshop used by our design studio. Other cloud software, such as the excellent Xero accounting service (which we use at Logo), is usually rented on a per seat (or user) basis on either a monthly or annual contract.
Other advantages of cloudbased software include the fact that updates can be made to all users as soon as they become available, and programs can be accessed from anywhere with access to the web. Information can be shared amongst a team or across an entire company, with different levels of access awarded according to user rights. Another useful application of the cloud is the storage of large amounts of data. Whether your MP3 music files, your digital photo album or the entire contents of your hard disk, there are many free and paid-for sites available that secure your data safely away from your PC in the colossal cumulonimbus that is the Inter net.
Logo Marketing & Design is a well-established brand and digital agency based just outside Plymouth, Devon. For further information, please contact Sarah Doney at Logo Marketing and Design. Tel: 01752 830000. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.logodesign.co.uk
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