With the capacity for fast connections and remote data storage, cloud platforms can completely change the way you do business. Cloud-based platforms allows users to interact with content, access files and work together, all in a secure environment. No matter your location or the device you're using, cloud platforms make it easier to access your information. While cloud platforms aren't without their challenges, they still represent a major step toward protected, streamlined data.

Sometimes known as cloud computing, a cloud platform is the framework for an operating system without a physical server. Instead, your organization's data is hosted securely in an online cloud, with an infrastructure that lends itself to easier file access. Cloud architects can even allocate specific access tiers to users. This way, everyone can access the data they need, without any threat of a security breach, or information accidentally falling into the wrong employee's hands.

Are cloud platforms secure?

Security is a common issue in the digital age. Cybersecurity concerns are one of the main reasons why companies routinely trade traditional servers for cloud-based storage options: Cloud platforms have the potential to keep your data safer, far from hackers and other potential security challenges.

Encryption is one of the main reasons why your cloud-saved data is so secure. A majority of modern cloud platforms will automatically encrypt your files after you upload them, ensuring that you and other team members are the only ones who can access them. Cloud platforms also mean you can do away with your servers — data centers that store your information. Traditionally, data on a server could sometimes be taken if the physical server was stolen. However, all files on a cloud platform are stored online, without any need for a clunky storage device.

If you haven't yet migrated your data to a cloud platform, it most likely lives on a server. Unfortunately, servers are sometimes victims to power outages, surges and other issues that can take down all of your data at once. Cloud platforms plan ahead for this issue. When you save data to a cloud platform, your information is securely stored in several locations at once. Even if one cloud storage location malfunctions, redundancies prevent you from ever losing access to your files.

Should I use a cloud platform?

Particularly if you use and store files for work, you can likely benefit from a cloud platform. Though they're not for everyone, cloud platforms allow you to access data, collaborate with team members, protect files and even accommodate legal compliance issues — all without the need for an onsite server or data center.

There are a few factors to consider when determining whether or not to use a cloud platform. Consider the following questions when making your decision:

- What type of data storage infrastructure does your organization need?

- How important is online team collaboration to your company?

- Do you need to assign access tiers to specific team members?

- Does your organization face heightened cybersecurity risks?

- Will your data storage platform need to comply with legal parameters?

- How much can you invest in your servers?

The answers to these and other questions can help you determine how important a cloud platform might be in fulfilling daily tasks. If expenses are tight, or if you prefer a data storage ecosystem where files remain onsite, you might not need to use a cloud platform. However, if you want airtight security, easy online collaboration or specific access tiers, cloud computing can satisfy your needs.

How expensive is cloud computing?

Here's the good news — cloud platforms are typically easy to use, and often easier to pay for. However, high initial costs sometimes force organizations into rethinking the benefits of cloud programming. If you have never set up a cloud infrastructure for your company, know that you'll need access to assistive hardware and software programs — some of which have considerable price tags.

Your company might face higher costs when developing your cloud infrastructure, but you can begin to save money soon after cloud platform launch. A cloud platform can often pay for itself shortly after you begin using it. Your employees will save time in accessing their own files, and you won't need to pay to address any breaches in security. You'll need fewer pieces of hardware, and you won't need to pay ay server upkeep costs.

Some cloud providers even offer access to cloud computing calculators, that help you identify how much you'd need to spend in exchange for their cloud services.

Learning to navigate a cloud platform

Learning how to navigate a cloud platform is the first step toward full cloud architecture. Even though the cloud education process can take time, you'll help your company save time and money when you take responsibility for all cloud operations. If your organization ever needs custom cloud solutions, you'll be able to engineer the platforms they need to succeed.

One of the best ways to learn cloud platform navigation is through virtual cloud computing certifications, which take place at your speed. Whether you're optimizing your company's cloud platform or engineering your own cloud infrastructure, cloud certifications help you accelerate cloud transformations by more than 33%.

Hands-on cloud training helps you expedite the learning curve and self-pace your own cloud education. Solve IT problems and earn industry-recognized cloud computing certifications, through training courses led by renowned cloud platform instructors. You can help your business improve security by as much as 94%, all while transitioning your data storage techniques into the modern age.