Cloud based computing is nothing you haven’t been using already. In layman’s terms, it is the delivery of all your computing services over the internet or "cloud” so you can access your information from anywhere as long as you have an internet connection. You might already be familiar with saving important files to cloud-based storage drives. If you’re a user of Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, or iCloud (or a combination of these), then you’re already using cloud-based technology. Saving your documents to such site ensures that even if your physical hard drive is corrupted, your work remains intact.
The environmental benefits of cloud-computing are enormous. According to the Global e-Sustainable Initiative (GeSI)
, if 85% of medium sized organisations adopted 3 cloud services, the energy saved would be equivalent to London’s power supply for four months. Further, if 77% of Indonesia’s business district switched to email cloud services, they would save greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to one million trees releasing CO2 for 10 years. Cloud-based computing is definitely not the answer to climate change, but it is clear that it can help significantly.
In bookkeeping, there are cloud-based programs available to inhibit the destruction or displacement of key financial documents. The use of these programs can be beneficial for many reasons. For starters, it clears up A LOT of clutter. The two most widely-recognised and reliable programs used to bookkeeping are: Xero
Both of these assist with the management of business accounts, and the analysis of accounting, payroll and human resources. Of course, the greatest benefit of both platforms is knowing your data is kept safe and secure in the cloud. As a bonus, both software giants are Australian-owned.
If you’re a small business owner, you’ll most likely be more inclined to purchase a MYOB essentials account
. This account can assist you with preparing invoicing, tracking expenses, record your bills, and organise payslips for payroll. Plus, the platform allows multiple accountants or bookkeepers to work together.
Sharing similar features, Xero
also lets accountants and bookkeepers to work collaboratively, arrange payroll, keep accurate records, and prepare invoicing. Depending on the number of employees you have, you can choose from a selection of Xero accounts to suit the size of your business.
If you’re undecided on which platform is best for you, have a read
through this article to guide you in your choice.
Still unsure of cloud-based computing?
It might be a little tricky at first to get out of your old routine. Keeping all your documents in wallets and folders that occupied a whole wall of shelves used to be the go-to for many accountants and bookkeepers. For some, it’s hard to kick the habit. Or, they might not ready to drive into using this new technology. Trust us, once you get into using cloud-based programs, you’ll never go back.
As mentioned, there are many great benefits to cloud-based computing. The following are some reasons why you might want to make the switch.
Cloud computing services function using a network of data centres to store our online data. These data centres are also responsible for the collection of data we transmit through social media, Google applications, web-based mail services, and just generally, our smartphones. These data centres can store huge amounts of data, and Brisbane currently contains 31 of these
to support service providers. This infrastructure is under the constant process of expansion, and runs many updates and upgrades to run smoothly and efficiently.
As you have the potential to access files from any computer, you have to ability to work anywhere, at anytime, and with any device using cloud-based computing. Do you remember the hassle of forgetting a USB or a hard drive and being without your important documents? Cloud-based computer eliminates the possibility of forgetting important files. To avoid having to constantly log into these systems, a lot of cloud-based services will let you sync the virtual drive with your preferred device, having all your files saved to the same location with your documents. You can also easily and efficiently share documents on cloud-based systems. This eliminates all of the time spent waiting for large files (like videos) to attach to emails. Sharing files from the cloud doesn’t require as much file space, therefore attachments are processed almost instantly. Then there’s the collaborative features of cloud-based systems (like google docs) which permit multiple users accessing and editing various documents. Unfortunately, there are no excuses for slacking off in the office these days.
Cloud-based computing is often used to store data in place of external storage technology. Without having to constantly buy and replace technology such as external hard drives, memory cards and USBs, you get to save a little money in the bank. Not to mention, computers without external storage fill up quick, having only around 250GB of internal storage. Today, some phones surpass this amount of storage space. Of course, you can buy a computer with additional space but it’ll cost you more. With cloud-based drives, you have access to free storage online. Then, if you decide you need more, you can pay for additional storage for a reasonable fee. The free services are as outlined below.
: 2BG free OR $17.50/ per month for 3TB
: 15GB free OR $12.49/ per month for 2TB (with way more options for more or less storage)
: 5GB free OR $10/ per month for 1TB
: 5GB free OR $14.99 for 2TB
The best value right now undoubtedly comes from Google Drive. They also provide plenty of options for expanding your drive with prices that range from $2.49/ per month for 100BG to $374.99/ per month for 30TB. They also let you prepay for the year and save on costs. Of course, considering the size of Google’s wallet, they can afford to be a bit more generous.
Cloud-based storage in undeniable growing in popularity. Currently, there is about 1 Exabyte of data kept in the cloud. That’s about 1,073,741,824 Gigabytes of data, or 67 million iPhones worth. If we were to convert all the world’s data currently stored in the cloud, we’d cut through 50,000 trees worth of paper. Sound pretty crazy, right?
Backup and Recovery
Cloud-based services can help you protect your data by provided space to store your recovery information. Recovery is also performed faster over the cloud because data is stored over a network of physical servers rather than on-site. Therefore, you can transfer your data more efficiently and cost-effectively, and recover the data from any device. This makes getting a new computer or laptop hassle-free.
Cloud providers implement a range of strict policies, technologies and control within their systems to protect infrastructure and data from security risks. Due to the sheer scale of cloud services, cloud providers can hire world-class security experts to apply security measures that usually only large scale enterprises would have the ability to develop. A team of IT personnel is also responsible for the regular, scheduled maintenance and back-up efforts, ensuring the safety of your important data. A good security system enforced by cloud providers protects against loss of data, malware infections, and legal compliance issues (for example, breach of health records).
Uses for cloud-based computing
Storage is just one aspect of what cloud computing can be used for. Other computer services, such as servers, databases, networking, analytics, and intelligence, can be performed over "the cloud” as well. Basically, instead of having physical infrastructure, you can create these systems over the internet. This kind of development is especially useful for businesses, computer programmers, software developers and application developers as they provide a cheaper and more time-efficient avenue for their work.
Cloud-providers such as Microsoft Azure
provide free features as well as pay-as-you go services to enable you to develop programming without the necessity of hardware, software, servers, and running on-site data centres. Let’s not forget the added cost of electricity for non-stop power and cooling, and depending on the scale of your application, IT experts.
Currently there are over 5 million developers
using the cloud to develop applications and infrastructure, and that number is projected to triple - that’s approximately 14.2 million using cloud services. It’s clear that cloud-based computing services will continue to grow and the use of this service will expand as time goes on. Who knows what platforms cloud-based computing will introduce to our lives next. We already can thank cloud-based computing for services like Xero and MYOB, which enable us to use cloud-based functions for accounting and bookkeeping.
Want to learn more?
No doubt you’ll be hearing more about cloud-based computing in the not too distant future. If you just can’t wait and you’re keen to learn more, IBM provides a thorough run-down where you can find more information on the types of clouds and services available.