Academic journal article Entrepreneurial Executive

Cloud Computing's Selection and Effect on Small Business

Academic journal article Entrepreneurial Executive

Cloud Computing's Selection and Effect on Small Business

Article excerpt

Cloud computing, by definition, is Internet-based computing; whereby shared resources, software and information are provided to customers and other devices on-demand, like a public utility. Many small businesses today can take advantage of the Cloud to reduce spending on IT, adapt quickly to the changing market, change scale and lower risk and cost. Thanks to the ease of access and ease of use, Cloud computing costs very little when compared to hosting the services yourself. The CTO of Bick Group, David Linthicum, a company that runs Cloud computing services, wrote a book about the benefits of Cloud computing. Cloud Computing and SOA Convergence in Your Enterprise is a good source of information for start-up companies, or even those that are already using it. As it stands today, there are three main layers of Cloud computing. They are as follows: Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) (1). In addition to those three main layers, there are many sub-services that take advantage of the Cloud, like e-mail carriers, QR code producers, and many more.

Software as a Service (SaaS) is often described as "software-on-demand." Almost all of the heavy lifting and coding is done over the Cloud, which practically eliminates the need for a small business to have a dedicated server for the services used. The only thing that a business would need is a computer, which would have the client needed to connect to the Cloud for the software. Often times, this is an internet browser that would connect to the Cloud and give the business access to the software they need. From there, the service is rendered to the client computer, which can include accounting, collaboration, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), and Human Resource Management (HRM). Small businesses do not have to spend a large amount of money in order to get the permit to use the Clouds services, and can get a large ROI just from the initial sum. For a business to get the license, they must either pay an annual fee, or a monthly subscription. Once that is done, they have access to the server and the client, which as stated can be a web browser. If it's not a browser, then it is a downloadable executable or application, which can be run on almost any computer. In this scenario, the computer must have the proper specifications to run the client, but they are usually provided before any fee is paid. After the fees have been paid, and the client downloaded, the business has access to the Cloud services to run the programs they require. If a company doesn't want to pay for the services, they can do what is called "freemium," which allows the company to use the client, but with a lowered capacity and usefulness. To lift this, small micro transactions can be paid for the segments that are needed, or the purchase of what remains of the client in order to have full access.

Small businesses benefit off of SaaS, largely due in part to the companies that run the servers at their own location. Thanks to having only the client at their location, there is no need for a server room or a large space dedicated for computers. The owner or workers only need a single computer or two to access the entire client and the servers as a result. On top of saving space for other items, there also would be no need to pay any workers just for that job, because anybody could do it now. A specialist wouldn't be required, so they would also be saving money. Take for instance, accounting software like TurboTax. It's a SaaS, with customer support in the form of online help or a phone center. When acquiring the software, it can be purchased either in disc form, or as an online download. Across all platforms, however, it remains the same. It wouldn't be smart of the company to change how the client works just because the business owner has a computer that runs a different operating system. Thanks to the time it took them to create the client, it can be used across almost all platforms, like Windows Vista, Windows 7, and the Mac exclusive Operation System, Mac OS X. …

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