In Cloud Computing: Part I, we explained what cloud computing is and how it can keep your data – and your business – accessible wherever you are. This post will give a few easy ways to get started with cloud computing, and tips for keeping your data and privacy secure while you do it!
“With the cloud comes unconstrained thinking and willingness to tinker and experiment without worrying too much about cost” – Werner Vogels, CTO of Amazon
Accessible from a web browser and stored on a server, the major cloud service providers include Google and Amazon.
Google Docs is the easiest way to get your feet wet tinkering around in the cloud. You can instantly make documents accessible through your Google account. Take a tour of Google Docs Essentially, Google Docs mimics Microsoft Word, Power Point, and Excel, and allows you to collaboratively edit these documents in real time.
- You can create new documents, or share documents already stored on your harddrive. Google Docs is all about sharing and collaboration.
- You pick and choose who can access individual documents. For example, a designer could create a PowerPoint presentation of renderings for a client, give the client permission to view the document through Google docs, and make any changes in real time right before the client’s eyes. You can also choose if others can simply view your changes, or make changes themselves, too.
- People you invite to share a document do not have to be registered on Google to view it.
- Google Apps costs extra and is home to even more business and organization applications than Google Docs. Take a tour of Google Apps
You can integrate all of your Google applications into one easy-to-use home interface, iGoogle. In the screenshot at left, you can see my personalized iGoogle has Gmail, Twitter, Google Calendar, the weather, date & time, and of course a convenient Google search bar. The applications you could add to your iGoogle are endless, and include many handy business applications, as well.
Ann K. Johnson, moderator of our forum, has had success using Google Calendar instead of a traditional desk calendar. Access to her schedule, appointments and deadlines from anywhere, at any point in time, is extraordinarily convenient!
Amazon S3 – Simple Storage Service
Allows you to store and retrieve data and is an easy-to-use, trusted source. You only pay for the amount of data that you are storing. Amazon S3, in addition to other security services, offers Reduced Redundancy Storage (RRS), which essentially stores 2 backups of your data to keep it extra safe in case of a system failure.
Security in cloud computing is often even better than that which a consumer can afford individually. However, you should always remember that things can happen. Keep in mind this data-safety checklist when getting your business into the clouds:
- Make sure the host server is encrypted and proven to be relatively safe from hacking
- Make sure the host server is backed up frequently and regularly, if not daily, to prevent data-loss
- As with traditional computer access, grant access to trusted employees, who won’t share your information with competitors.
- An example: Google Apps Security Services
Cloud Computing can also mean accessing software – not just files – from any web browser. Case in point: DreamDraper Online!
……..and find out how to access all of the amazing features of DreamDraper wherever you are, from any device, with a subscription to DreamDraper Online.