Few businesses providing products and services today can abstain from maintaining an online presence or engaging in some form of e-commerce. To be competitive in the modern marketplace, enterprises, both large and small, have adopted online business solutions to reach consumers and deliver their products in a fast, efficient, and unencumbered manner. However, until recently the daunting costs; in terms of personnel, upstart and upgrade time, and capital; associated with software and hosting solutions have made those solutions as much of a challenge as an asset to the world of e-business.
The solution to these problems is cloud computing. Cloud computing is a new approach to providing businesses with the software and hosting services they need. The ‘cloud’ is a metaphor for the internet, and cloud computing relies on utilizing the internet for a business’ software needs. Traditionally, a business needed to buy or rent servers and software and employ a staff of IT professionals to maintain them. This approach required significant capital, personnel, space, and equipment while lacking flexibility, efficiency, and ease of use.
Cloud computing is different; it allows businesses to interact with their hosting and software resources over the internet. This means that a business does not have to pay the high costs associated with buying and maintaining the software solutions they need. Those resources are pooled within the cloud to be used immediately when a business needs them. In cloud computing, a business simply interacts with and customizes the software they need via the internet or ‘cloud’. For this reason, cloud computing offers greatly diminished startup times and altogether eliminates startup costs. Instead of setting up a complicated system of software, businesses simply ‘plug in’ to the cloud’s existing services and pay a small, predictable subscription cost determined by their needs. In this way, cloud computing is similar to a utility- when you use more you pay more and vice versa. If using cloud computing is like using your energy meter at home, the traditional model of hosting would be akin to building and maintaining your own power plant.
Cloud computing offers further benefits compared to traditional software and hosting models. For example, scaling your needs is easy and instant with cloud computing. As an enterprise’s online business grows, the enterprise can simply pay more for the additional services they require. And, if a business requires less, they aren’t forced to pay for more than they need. Large and small businesses alike will benefit from the reduced cost, increased flexibility, and ease of use that cloud computing provides. Cloud computing will allow California’s businesses to compete in the digital marketplace without the traditional and often prohibitory costs associated with growing an online business. California is already home to many of the leaders in cloud computing such as Google and Salesforce and California’s rich, pioneering history of online business makes cloud computing an important development in the state’s continued advancement of e-business. Cloud computing will help lend an edge to California’s businesses and will provide tools that allow the state’s entrepreneurs and enterprises to grow and succeed unhindered.