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You likely already make use of ‘the cloud’. But do you really understand what it is? Or where it is?
As its name suggest, the cloud, or ‘cloud computing’ is everywhere – or everywhere that has access to the internet. “In the simplest terms, cloud computing means storing and accessing data and programs over the internet instead of your computer's hard drive.” (PC Mag).
In our personal lives, before the cloud went mainstream in the early-to-mid 2010s (depending on how one defines mainstream), we stored all our software and files on our computer hard drives and/or external devices, such as a USB stick. Businesses, meanwhile, maintained their own servers and/or data centers, or they outsourced to providers but were actively involved in managing the data infrastructure.
Today, we rely much less on pre-cloud ways of storing and accessing data and applications. The cloud is a global network of powerful computers/servers that are all linked together. Microsoft explains their purpose as being “designed to either store and manage data, run applications or deliver content or a service such as streaming videos, web email, office productivity software or social media.”
There are different types of ‘cloud’ – public, private, hybrid and community – which all have different purposes.
When you access data, such as a document file, through the cloud, you are accessing it ‘live’ with each visit and it is not stored or downloaded to the device. This requires an internet connection but means that you can access information from multiple devices from anywhere. Generally, there will be no ‘start up’ time, so you have instant access, assuming your data or WiFi connection is good.
In your personal life, it’s what allows you to access and stream films through services like Netflix or Amazon Prime, instantly listen to music through Apple Music or Spotify, or store your family photos without the need for lots of space on your computer.
Some of the benefits of using the cloud to manage your data include:
The cloud gives businesses the ability to scale up without significant hardware and software costs, and the cloud allows for global accessibility and flexibility in working location. These attributes contribute to removing many of the barriers to entry for new and small companies, allowing them to be more agile and competitive.
As a business, you can choose to take advantage of cloud computing in various ways. The most popular is software-as-a-service (SaaS). This is where you have access to a software application which you can use through the internet. Usually you pay will be a fee, often monthly, for this service. This could be Office 365, Adobe applications or a CRM system.
Your data lake or warehouse, where you store and manage your company’s data, is most likely accessed via the cloud (usually a hybrid or private cloud). Ventiv launched the Ventiv Analytics Cloud in April 2019, in order to give clients more streamlined access to enriched data exploration, predictive analytics and business intelligence capabilities. The Ventiv Analytics Cloud lets clients combine and explore multiple data types such as claims, exposure, property type and any third-party data, enabling them to uncover correlations and draw insights into their business that might otherwise remain hidden.
Insights could range from identifying where safety budget should be allocated and potential new markets to tap into, to which insurance claims will most likely escalate in cost. Artificial intelligence (AI) can improve searches through natural language processing, which means search queries can use conversational language, as you might with Siri or Alexa. This opens analytics to a much wider audience.
It’s easy to think of the cloud as that place where you upload all the photos you take on your phone, but as the example of the Ventiv Analytics Cloud shows, the cloud offers an ever-evolving value proposition, especially for businesses and other organisations. Find out what is possible for your organization through digital transformation – contact the Ventiv Tech team today.
David Thomas is the Sales Director at Ventiv Technology. If you would like any further information on this topic please contact him at DAVID.THOMAS@VENTIVTECH.COM
Nov 4, 2019