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What is the “cloud”, and how will it benefit my business?

When companies search for business web hosting in Australia, they’re faced with all the hype about “cloud computing”, “cloud hosting”, “cloud emails” etc. This is a buzzword that tends to confuse many people, however all it really means is that you are storing your information on the Internet.

People seemed to have adopted the term “cloud” to cover all things online, and now it is used by just about everyone. For example, Adobe now offers Photoshop only via the cloud, Amazon offers cloud storage and hosting, while Google, Fed X, Cisco, Microsoft, LinkedIn, Dropbox and other major players are all moving to cloud-based software solutions. This means that more and more software is being managed or used through web browsers or dedicated apps rather than traditional desktop program installations.

Local versus cloud storage

Storing a file “locally” means that the file is physically saved to your device, whether that be a computer, tablet, phone, USB flash drive, or external hard drive. If the file is uploaded to the Internet in some way — such as by posting a photo on social media, creating a document in Google Drive, or backing up files to Dropbox — then that file is now in the cloud.

Online backup solutions such as Dropbox.com or OneDrive (part of Office 365) will allow you to keep a copy in both locations, and keep those files synchronised, so if you create a new file locally, it stores it in the cloud as well (though you can pick and choose which files this applies to).

Is the cloud secure?

Some people have concerns about the security of the cloud. But in reality, while there is a risk of your online data being compromised, the same can be said about the data stored on your computer or any other device which connects to the Internet.

Hackers are always trying to find passwords and other private information, and they don’t restrict those activities to online data; data is frequently stolen from personal devices because there’s often not much security in place.

So in some ways, the cloud can actually be a safer way to store your information — if you choose a software provider who places great emphasis on security and privacy.

What are the benefits?

In a nutshell:

  • Multiple people can access to the same files/resources, even at the same time.
  • Large files can be sent between users much more quickly and securely than via email or in the post.
  • It’s relatively inexpensive for some software purposes (such as backups), compared to in-house servers.
  • Your data can be restored quickly from online backups, if you had a disaster at your office, such as a fire.
  • It’s easy to scale your resources (such as storage space) up and down as your needs change, compared to physically installing/removing hardware locally.
  • It’s much more cost effective to host your website with a reputable local hosting provider than running your own dedicated in-house web server.

Are you making the most of the cloud?

Whether it be online backups, web hosting, file editing, software, or anything in between, the cloud offers countless ways to make your business more secure, profitable, and efficient than ever before.

For more information on business web hosting in Australia, or details on what other business solutions we can offer, call GO Creative on 07 3333 2932 or get a free online quote.

Back to Basics: What is web hosting?

If you have not owned a website before, web hosting can be one of those areas which is very difficult to understand. Let’s try to simplify that a little right now.

The simplest analogy relating to domain names, hosting and websites is to think of your house.

The domain name is the street address, and the house is the website. You need the address to get to the house… but to build your house in the first place, you need some land, and that’s where hosting comes into it.

In a nutshell, hosting is where your website’s files and databases are stored, as well as some technical settings relating to what happens when your domain name is used.

For example, if you have a website at www.mywebsite.com, then there are settings (called DNS records) which ensure that when the website address is typed, the website appears. This happens because the website’s files are stored in the hosting account.

There are similar DNS records in place for email services, so that when someone sends an email to your email address (e.g. [email protected]), the email is routed to wherever it needs to go.

There are many other uses for DNS records, but these are the main two.

How does hosting relate to domain names?

If you have a domain name, it must “point” to your hosting account (remember the street address analogy). Typing in your domain name, or an email address for your domain, sends the user on to your hosting package, and the DNS records handle everything from there.

How is hosting set up?

A hosting server is managed by a web hosting company (such as ourselves), and you can change servers within the same hosting company or you can change from one hosting company to another. However, not all servers or hosting companies are equal. Some servers are faster than others and better for certain types of websites, and the inclusions such as storage space or advanced features varies.

What types of hosting are available?

In general, there are three types of web hosting packages available to your business:

  • Shared web hosting: These servers have limited resources, which are shared amongst many websites. This can slow your website’s loading times, cause problems with security and result in penalties if you use too many of their resources (peaks in traffic can do this).
  • Dedicated hosting: These are great for large businesses or those with lots of traffic, as your website is hosted on its own server. You can add as many websites as you want to your own server as well – but it costs more than shared hosting and is often prohibitively expensive for small businesses.
  • Cloud VPS hosting: A new technology that gives you more flexibility and resources. You only pay for the space and resources you use, without many of the shortcomings of shared hosting.

For more information on your web hosting options or you want help with website design in Brisbane, call us at GO Creative on (07) 3333 2932 or request a free quote online.