WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN VPN & THE CLOUD AND WHY SHOULD I CARE?
A VPN is a Virtual Private Network. It is a way to connect two specific devices over a network (internet connection). A good example is if you have lots of files on your work computer, you could setup a VPN so that you can connect to your work computer and access the files, almost as though you were in the office. In the same way, you could actually use the programmes that exist on your work computer. Imagine this as you remote controlling your work computer, but from your home.
VPN’s existed before Cloud Computing. In fact, years ago, they were the only way to connect such devices. You would setup VPN software on your work computer and then allow other devices to connect to that computer as long as they also had the VPN software and the right credentials (log in information, IP addresses etc.).
The down side is that you couldn’t just log in to your work computer from any device.
Fast forward the VPN concept a few years we welcome Cloud Computing.
We first saw this in things like Dropbox (actually cloud storage), where you can store all of your files securely ‘online’ instead of or as well as your work computer. This way, they become available to you from any internet connection. So, now you could be on somebody else’s phone and access your files. All you need is your username and password.
It didn’t stop there though!
In the same way, many software companies made their software as ‘cloud’ programmes. Take Outlook (email) for example. Whereas you used to have to setup your own ‘exchange server’ on your own companies’ server to manage email, you can now do it through Office 365. No more setting up programmes on your own systems and dealing with the issues when they get viruses etc.
These programmes are run and managed ‘in the cloud’. What does in the cloud mean?
Well, at your workplace, you typically have one computer per person. If that computer fails or you have a power cut, everything stops. You are reliant on one device. With a VPN, you could move all of your programmes and files to a server that runs on the internet, in what is called a data centre which has backup power generators, fire suppression systems, 24-hour security etc.
But if the server crashes? you are in the same position as your work computer.
What ‘in the cloud’ truly means is that your software was written to take use of a huge connected network of computers around the world.
The actual software is scaleable. So, at peak times, the system just uses more resources from its share of these massive networks. At quiet times, it just pairs back. If one server crashes, you would never know because your software is continually mirrored onto a whole bunch of other identical servers. In fact, at any point in time, you may be working from any number of servers. You would never know, because it is all controlled and managed for you as part of this “Wecloud” computer system., Wecloud SA stores data on Proudly local servers. This means your data remains POPI compliant in relation to where it is stored.
WHY SHOULD I CARE WHICH OPTION I USE?
The main reason people prefer Cloud Computing is because it is a lot easier, more flexible and faster.
The main reason you should care about which option you use is continuity and disaster recovery. It doesn’t matter how often you do backups, even offsite backups, you can’t beat a Cloud Computing setup for continuity. If your phone battery dies mid flow, fire up your laptop and continue exactly where you left off. If your laptop is back at home, borrow someone else’s phone, tablet, laptop, Internet café…. .
As long as you have an internet connection and your login details, you are all set.
Also, disaster recovery from the point that in the unlikely case that a server within a data centre has corrupted and corrupted the backups, with cloud computing you are safe.
Finally, after the warnings of protecting yourself from what could go wrong, let’s finish on a far more positive reason to go truly cloud.
With cloud, you can access your software, files and systems from anywhere in the world and from any device that has an internet connection. This opens up whole new opportunities in the way you and your team can run and manage your business more efficiently and with better results.
If you want to see cloud computing in action, Wecloud SA provide a free demo and explanation of the benefits cloud computing CRM and ERP can bring to you. Get in touch now for your free demonstration.