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If You Aren’t Using Cloud Computing For Your Business Yet, You Should Be

If You Aren’t Using Cloud Computing For Your Business Yet, You Should Be

Cloud computing is the way of the future, and it’s making it easier for smaller companies to join the revolution of incorporating big data into how they function. Cloud computing has become financially accessible while retaining a maximum return on investment in the data realm.

What is Cloud Computing?

Cloud computing uses “the Cloud” to store and manage your data—so it isn’t on a local server or individual computer. “The Cloud” is a network of servers all over the world that provides external secure data collection and allows you to access your files from anywhere. Using cloud computing gives you superior storage capacity so you can expand the data you collect. It also provides a much safer backup solution and recovery system in the event of a disaster and loss of data. This alone explains its excellent ROI.

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Why Should My Company Be Using Cloud Computing?

Cloud computing options have never been less expensive than they are now, so even small companies have an opportunity to buy into this revolution in data storage. Business Intelligence (BI) refers to how you turn your raw data into something useful. One of the best examples right now is BI on Hadoop, as Hadoop has come to be synonymous with BI in many people’s minds. Smaller companies have long wrestled with this issue, collecting data and not being able to make sense out of all of it or having to purge data because of storage capacity. This leads to loss of data that might have been useful with the right BI tools. Cloud computing removes the need to purge data for space. The newest BI helps you to manage the increasing amounts of data you can now collect and turn it into data you can get the most out of. This means you can save everything from your data collection, even if you aren’t sure exactly how it is useful right now.

Best Options

Hadoop uses batch-oriented processing, storing transactional data and taking BI to the next level. Though Hadoop is still evolving to meet increasing demands for “big data,” it is at present one of the best options out there. As it rapidly evolves to develop better services, you can expect it to remain relevant and prepared to meet the evolving growth of data in your company. Hadoop scales up from one server to thousands easily while retaining data integrity. One of its greatest strengths is its programming, by which it catches data failures and fixes them early. The storage aspect is the lowest level of Hadoop use, and its strength is in how it makes your BI accessible, clean, and secure. It is also becoming the most scalable yet economically feasible options. If you want to watch your company grow and harness big data in the most efficient way, Hadoop is an investment in the future.

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NoSQL servers are another popular option because the queries are simpler. But it is also evolving, and developers are working to address some of its weaknesses. It is becoming more common to actually use NoSQL and Hadoop simultaneously for their individual strengths. One of the issues is that the coding for both is unique and requires sophistication. One of the investments necessary to properly harness the use of BI on any platform will be a quality IT staff that is familiar with existing frameworks and excited about ongoing changes and improvements.

There are numerous other tools for big data management and making the most of your BI, but none have continued to improve as fast as Hadoop and NoSQL or shown the same level of ROI.

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The Future

It is always scary for companies to make a big investment knowing that software and the BI landscape are constantly changing. For smaller companies, it can be especially difficult to make a decision, but indecision isn’t moving forward and leads to being left behind. Software is now being developed based on the assumption of cloud use, so keeping up with the best software may require cloud adoption. Early adoption of BI has proven to be a useful strategy, and today’s options are better situated to help you grow your business as the tools improve. Data is only going to increase, and harnessing it to your advantage means being prepared.

The security issue is also significant and should not be underestimated. Disaster preparedness plans in companies must include how data will be secured. Cloud computing ensures that your data is safe in the event of any office disaster. Not only is it safe, but it is accessible if you have to set up a makeshift business site or for staff that needs to work from home.

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Cloud computing options continue to improve, but getting on the cloud is the first step toward growing your business.

Featured photo credit: George Thomas via flickr.com

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Paisley Hansen

Freelance Writer

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Last Updated on May 14, 2019

8 Replacements for Google Notebook

8 Replacements for Google Notebook

Exploring alternatives to Google Notebook? There are more than a few ‘notebooks’ available online these days, although choosing the right one will likely depend on just what you use Google Notebook for.

  1. Zoho Notebook
    If you want to stick with something as close to Google Notebook as possible, Zoho Notebook may just be your best bet. The user interface has some significant changes, but in general, Zoho Notebook has pretty similar features. There is even a Firefox plugin that allows you to highlight content and drop it into your Notebook. You can go a bit further, though, dropping in any spreadsheets or documents you have in Zoho, as well as some applications and all websites — to the point that you can control a desktop remotely if you pare it with something like Zoho Meeting.
  2. Evernote
    The features that Evernote brings to the table are pretty great. In addition to allowing you to capture parts of a website, Evernote has a desktop search tool mobil versions (iPhone and Windows Mobile). It even has an API, if you’ve got any features in mind not currently available. Evernote offers 40 MB for free accounts — if you’ll need more, the premium version is priced at $5 per month or $45 per year. Encryption, size and whether you’ll see ads seem to be the main differences between the free and premium versions.
  3. Net Notes
    If the major allure for Google Notebooks lays in the Firefox extension, Net Notes might be a good alternative. It’s a Firefox extension that allows you to save notes on websites in your bookmarks. You can toggle the Net Notes sidebar and access your notes as you browse. You can also tag websites. Net Notes works with Mozilla Weave if you need to access your notes from multiple computers.
  4. i-Lighter
    You can highlight and save information from any website while you’re browsing with i-Lighter. You can also add notes to your i-Lighted information, as well as email it or send the information to be posted to your blog or Twitter account. Your notes are saved in a notebook on your computer — but they’re also synchronized to the iLighter website. You can log in to the site from any computer.
  5. Clipmarks
    For those browsers interested in sharing what they find with others, Clipmarks provides a tool to select clips of text, images and video and share them with friends. You can easily syndicate your finds to a whole list of sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Digg. You can also easily review your past clips and use them as references through Clipmarks’ website.
  6. UberNote
    If you can think of a way to send notes to UberNote, it can handle it. You can clip material while browsing, email, IM, text message or even visit the UberNote sites to add notes to the information you have saved. You can organize your notes, tag them and even add checkboxes if you want to turn a note into some sort of task list. You can drag and drop information between notes in order to manage them.
  7. iLeonardo
    iLeonardo treats research as a social concern. You can create a notebook on iLeonardo on a particular topic, collecting information online. You can also access other people’s notebooks. It may not necessarily take the place of Google Notebook — I’m pretty sure my notes on some subjects are cryptic — but it’s a pretty cool tool. You can keep notebooks private if you like the interface but don’t want to share a particular project. iLeonardo does allow you to follow fellow notetakers and receive the information they find on a particular topic.
  8. Zotero
    Another Firefox extension, Zotero started life as a citation management tool targeted towards academic researchers. However, it offers notetaking tools, as well as a way to save files to your notebook. If you do a lot of writing in Microsoft Word or Open Office, Zotero might be the tool for you — it’s integrated with both word processing software to allow you to easily move your notes over, as well as several blogging options. Zotero’s interface is also available in more than 30 languages.

I’ve been relying on Google Notebook as a catch-all for blog post ideas — being able to just highlight information and save it is a great tool for a blogger.

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In replacing it, though, I’m starting to lean towards Evernote. I’ve found it handles pretty much everything I want, especially with the voice recording feature. I’m planning to keep trying things out for a while yet — I’m sticking with Google Notebook until the Firefox extension quits working — and if you have any recommendations that I missed when I put together this list, I’d love to hear them — just leave a comment!

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