What is Cloud Computing?

David Brophy


Cloud computing is mentioned everywhere these days, but what exactly is “Cloud Computing”? It’s accessing emails, data or programs over the internet. Why is this so important? Because in this day and age, people want to access their data and services across different devices from anywhere, at any time.

With the recent improvements to Ireland’s broadband infrastructure, more and more people are making the move and seeing the benefits of the cloud. A good example of two well-known services that utilize cloud computing would be OneDrive and Netflix. OneDrive shows you how you can share your documents across multiple devices and also how your data is backed up to the OneDrive servers. Netflix is a service that stores data and allows you to access this data from any device connected to the internet. The data just so happens to be movies and TV shows.

When you use cloud computing, you are accessing your data or software over your broadband connection. Your data is stored in secure and controlled data centres instead of in your house or office where you would have to worry about maintaining and constantly upgrading your IT hardware, keeping your data backed up and trying to keep your IT costs down in an ever-changing sector. Cloud computing takes these worries away. Here are some advantages:


Keeping hardware and software maintained, licensed and upgraded can all add up to being a serious expense monthly and annually. Cloud Computing, on the other hand, is available at much lower rates and hence, can significantly reduce the company’s IT costs. Instead of buying the train or bus, you can just pay for your fare as you use the service. Computing systems you thought were out of your price range are now made available for even the smallest of businesses.

Maintenance and Upgrades

When XP and Windows Server 2003 became redundant, many companies across the world were forced to upgrade their hardware and software so that their systems were not obsolete. This is important as many third-party software vendors would not allow their services to run on obsolete systems When you are trying to run a business, you don’t need to worry about constant upgrades and keeping up to date with all the different computer systems out there. With cloud computing, this worry disappears as the Cloud Service Provider keeps your systems and services maintained and up to date constantly.

Backup and Recovering Data

Gone are the days of backing your company’s important data to tapes, discs and USB drives. Instead, you can upload your data to cloud servers where it is usually backed up to multiple servers and can be restored at ease at the client’s request. Not only can you restore your data, but you can also restore different versions of a particular file or database. So, if you were to overwrite an important job log or delete an important file that you work on day to day, you would be able to retrieve the latest version of the file before the error occurred.


Cloud solutions can be accessed with just a broadband connection and a laptop so you literally can work from almost anywhere. This allows people to collaborate and communicate flawlessly from home, in remote offices or even when travelling. The emergence of cloud computing has given way to the mobile employee who can work on the go. Working on a hosted desktop all day has huge benefits including, if I need to finish some work at home, I just log back on to the cloud server from my home laptop and I see everything I was working on just before I left the office.

The Cloud is Green

If you are using cloud solutions, the need for onsite servers and hardware is almost done away with. This improves your company’s carbon footprint. What about the power-hungry data centres you say? Well, take 1000 companies using 1000 on-site servers. If they all made the move to cloud computing, you have 800 fewer servers with probably 200 pooled servers in the data centre. It’s a win-win situation.