Embracing the cloud

Even today, when somebody mentions the phrase “cloud computing,” a glassy stare comes over the eyes of many a theoretically switched on digital entrepreneur. Yet we have all been part of the growing cloud computing revolution for several years. Anyone who has had an e-mail account hosted by Google or AOL, for example, has been accessing their e-mail “in the cloud” after all for some time. There is a growing trend toward cloud-based computing and it’s something that the digital nomad must take on board. There are many different ways of accessing your solutions via software as a service (SAAS), but when it comes to functionality and everyday applications, Google Apps takes a lot of beating.

What exactly is Google Apps? It’s basically a communications and collaboration package all rolled into one, within a budget friendly platform. There are a number of different standard applications including Voice, Wave, Buzz, Calendar, Docs, Sites and Mail and there are a growing number of third-party applications available, enabling you to plug even more functionality into your experience.

You can sign up for Google Apps on a trial basis for a month and thereafter it costs only a nominal amount of money. It seems little expense in return for the advantage of having all your communication and collaboration tools in one place, hosted in the cloud.

It wasn’t that long ago that we had to rely on computers which were the size of a typical home refrigerator to handle quite simple tasks, such as payroll processing for example. In only a couple of generations the size of the computer necessary to handle our important tasks shrunk considerably, leaving us with the ubiquitous desktop. As technology further improved we have come to rely more and more on laptops, tablets and iPads and as we don’t, in most instances, need much storage capacity anymore, there’s no reason to consider lugging around any old technology.

It’s said that Google sees the laptop computer of the future as being merely a web browser and the screen with a keypad. This is the ultimate projection of cloud computing functionality and means that we would, in that case, be able to access all our software programmes as a service online, store all our important documents in the cloud and make use of the new functionality represented by Google Apps for our everyday business needs.

 For the location independent entrepreneur, it’s all about streamlining, efficiency and being able to access those important tools, software and files from wherever you are without any issues. With an uptime guarantee of 99.9%, the solution provided by Google seems to be worthy of consideration.

Remember that laptop computers can be stolen, hacked or damaged and everything contained within a hard drive can be compromised. Even though we are definitely used to the concept of backing up files these days, there’s a lot to be said for the peace of mind associated with storage in the cloud. In the event of disaster, everything can still be accessed from a web browser at your nearest Internet café, for example.

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