What is Cloud Computing & how can my business benefit?

Many people are confused as to exactly what cloud computing is, especially as the term can be used to mean almost anything. Roughly, it describes highly scalable computing resources provided as an external service via the internet on a pay-as-you-go basis. Even if you think you know nothing about this new concept, chances are you are already using an application in the cloud. Given that explanation, platforms like YouTube, Vimeo, Flickr, Slideshare and Skype can reasonably be included in a list of cloud applications – platforms that hold your data (images, video, presentations, voice) and look after it all so you don’t have to worry about them.

Cloud computing appeals to small businesses because it provides time, and money, saving benefits. In cloud computing, hardware infrastructure and software services (such as servers, storage, CRM, accounting and so on) are delivered to an organisation’s computers and devices through the Internet.

Cloud accounting software is accounting software that is hosted on remote servers. It provides accounting capabilities to businesses in a fashion similar to the SaaS (Software as a Service) business model. Data is sent into “the cloud,” where it is processed and returned to the user. All application functions are performed off-site, not on the user’s desktop.

In cloud computing, users access software applications remotely through the Internet or other networks via a cloud application service provider. Using cloud computing accounting software frees the business from having to install and maintain software on individual desktop computers. It also allows employees in remote or branch offices to access the same data and the same version of the software.

Most application providers typically base charges on usage – compared to site license fees associated with traditional accounting software deployments. Accounting data backup and disaster recovery is also one of the many benefits of cloud-based applications.
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