Using Cloud Computing in the office couldn’t be easier – fast internet connections, PCs or thin clients on the desktop – it’s all there. Sit down at your PC, open up an internet browser, log in to the portal and off you go – your desktop appears and you’re up and running. The same thing happens with your phone. If you are using Cloud VoIP, you simply sit down, log in to the phone and your personal extension is configured.
So far, so what? However, where this comes into its own is flexibility. Do all your staff members need their own desks or can they hot desk? If so, Cloud Computing offers an easy way to allow staff to hot desk without feeling “homeless”. So long as they can get onto the internet on a PC, thin client or laptop, they can access their own desktop, with all their files and applications, and get on with their work. Similarly, once they’ve logged in to the phone on the desk, it becomes their phone, with all the features and settings that they may have configured. OK, so they may not be able to have pictures of their children on the hot desk, but they can at least have them set as the wallpaper of their Cloud Desktop!
The flexibility of the Cloud solution doesn’t end with hot desks. It also means that staff can work from home (subject to office policies, of course) – all they need is an internet connection and access to a web browser and they will have exactly the same access to all their stuff as they do in the office. They can even log on to their telephone extension using either a physical handset connected to their router or, more conveniently, a soft phone, which is a software application that connects to the cloud phone system and routes all sound through a headset (such as a Bluetooth headset).
Another key area that Cloud Computing helps to resolve is the centralisation of information in organisations spread across multiple sites. This has always been an issue, as multiple sites always used to mean multiple servers or file stores, little or no integration or collaboration, and an awful lot of duplication. Not anymore. By centralising your data in the cloud and accessing it all through Cloud Desktops, staff can access exactly the same information regardless of where they are in the country (or potentially, the world). Of course, this can be done using traditional networks and terminal services, but generally all information would be centralised in the Head Office, with all the other offices having to connect to the Head Office to access it. This puts a huge amount of strain on the bandwidth required at the Head Office to service all these requests, and so often leads to a requirement for much higher and more expensive broadband facilities. By moving this information to the Cloud, each office simply needs to be able to access the Internet via standard broadband, saving costs and improving access and reliability.