Cloud-Based Software for Beginners

It seems like every day there is a new technological advancement that replaces some form of legacy software or hardware, and we must adapt to the new way of doing things. Constant updates, constant patches, and frequent hardware launches can leave you feeling uncertain and kind of lost. There’s a whole world of new technology out there, and while having a system that works for you is great, you can end up limiting yourself to what is out there and what is possible with newer tech. For example, there was a time when everything was on disc, and installed directly onto your computer, and you essentially had full control of the software. Today, things are different, with more and more software and services going fully cloud-based – like Microsoft xCloud, allowing you to stream games in a Netflix-like service across any device with an active subscription, or, Netflix, allowing you to view any film or show in it’s library from any device or browser. Plenty of tech companies and software companies have adopted this as well, with Adobe Creative Cloud and Office 365. Cloud is the future, and the present, so it’s time to get you up to speed.

Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean that all software and tech is moving to the cloud, just that many are moving in that direction. For example, Discord allows you to download and use the software as a program on your computer, or you can access the fully-functioning interface through a browser. Others, and usually for more powerful applications like Adobe Creative Cloud, you must download the program (such as Photoshop) to your computer, though being cloud-based means you can install on any device using your username and password. This is also typical with games, as you may be pulling game files and your save file from the cloud, while still having everything else on your machine.

Some cloud-based software and applications allow you to have a locally installed program to access the software faster, usually depending on which device you are using, as it streamlines the process for the user. This is typically seen on phones or gaming systems. For example, to access Netflix, you would use the dedicated Netflix app on your phone or on your console, even though you can access with ease through your browser. As is the typical way, the dedicated apps allow a smooth experience and are easier for the end-user to navigate. The simpler the process is for the user, the better. This is also one of the main bonuses of cloud-based software, updates and fixes are automatic, and in most cases the required technical skill for managing the software is completely taken away, ensuring that you never have to worry about that. There are also much more powerful systems that are cloud-based, like Blue Link ERP. Blue Link is an all-in-one inventory management and accounting system that accommodates a variety of industries and unique business needs – something a lot more intensive than Netflix and with many more features, yet it is a completely cloud-based solution. Even though Blue Link is not browser-based, the software is still accessed via the cloud (or internet), just through RDP instead. This is the power of the cloud. It allows you to access sophisticated software solutions, without the need to have your own resource-laden, powerful computers. There are no limits on what is possible, and what different types of cloud-based software are out there.

Even still, there are many types of software that do not use the cloud at all, and these are usually reserved for large, multi-national companies, and something that most people won’t ever use or see. This is usually referred to as on-premises software, where everything is stored locally at your location on a server or associated hardware and is then managed by an in-house team of experts. This isn’t recommended for small-medium size companies, as it requires a larger cost and constant upkeep with the help of highly qualified professionals. Examples of on-premises solutions are JD Edwards, or Oracle’s E-Business Suite, applications designed for very complex processes, and a large userbase (hundreds to thousands of users). Overall, this is less user friendly, and harder to manage, which is why more and more small and medium-size companies are making the leap to the cloud.