The Luddite Business Leader’s Guide to the Cloud:

While today’s business strategy is obsessed with tech, from tech innovation and disruption to digital transformations, many established and successful business leaders are not particularly comfortable with advanced technology. In fact, many business owners and executives struggle with what tech experts might consider basic tech tools and concepts.

For example, the cloud is not the latest and greatest enterprise solution. Though cloud computing was a revolution more than a decade ago, these days, it is standard practice for businesses to utilize cloud services to ease all manner of processes. Yet, plenty of leaders continue to struggle with questions about the cloud: What is it? How does it work? What are the benefits? For those leaders, this guide should be a big help.

Cloud Basics: What the Cloud Is, How It Works and Why Businesses Use It

The first challenge business leaders might encounter when trying to understand the cloud is that there are hundreds of different kinds of clouds. Some clouds are designed for very specific purposes, like storing emails, while other clouds can store all forms of digital data, to include applications. Some clouds consist of a couple servers in a business’s offices, while other clouds run out of data centers, massive warehouses filled with equipment. Because there is such diversity with clouds, it can be difficult to understand what the cloud is and how it works.

The cloud is nothing more or less complicated than an internet-based storage system for digital data. Business devices connect to the system via the internet, allowing users to access data and applications regardless of their physical location. There are notable benefits to using the cloud, such as better scalability to allow for rapid or unpredictable business growth as well as better data backup solutions to protect against cyberattacks and accidents. Additionally, the cloud is relatively easy to integrate into existing digital systems, though luddite leaders will want to take advantage of the knowledge and skill of IT experts to ensure cloud security.

The majority of cloud systems are managed by cloud service providers, who maintain massive data centers to provide service to many clients. Within the data centers, servers — which are devices designed to store large amounts of information — connect to one another and the internet to provide clients fast, easy access to their data. Usually, users reach the data stored in the cloud through a special web portal, though it is possible to build cloud access into an organization’s network architecture.

Clients can lease space on their own dedicated server, or they can share a server with other clients. A dedicated server tends to provide more space and control over data configurations and security, but a shared server is more affordable and typically provides all the cloud functionality that an SMB needs. Business leaders also need to know the difference between a private server, which is accessed only by authorized users with passwords, and a public server, which is visible and available to anyone with a connected device.

Cloud Risks: What Leaders Need to Know

Experts estimate that over 94 percent of businesses use some sort of cloud service, so odds are that luddite business leaders are already taking advantage of the cloud without realizing it. The cloud is powerful and pervasive, but there are some risks to using the cloud that all business leaders must understand and prepare for.

The two most notable risks for cloud storage users are reliability and security. Businesses need to know that the information they store on the cloud will be available to them when they need it, and they also need to be certain that their data is safe from any sort of attack. To manage both of these concerns, business leaders need to invest in a trustworthy cloud solution that has a reputation for reliability and security. Leaders should look for services that include ample redundancy techniques, which can combat system failures and improve the dependability of cloud systems and data. Additionally, there are a few security features a trustworthy cloud service will offer, to include encryption, authentication and authorization, which will prevent unauthorized access of business information.

Conclusion

Business leaders who feel uncomfortable with technology are not rare. Yet, because digital transformations are driving organizations toward greater tech adoption, executives need to familiarize themselves with the fundamental technologies fueling their operations. The cloud is a simple and practical technology that is unendingly beneficial, so understanding it and leveraging it can bring outstanding advantages.

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