The movie ‘The Matrix’, directed by the Wachowski’s, showed us a dystopia where machines filled the sky with clouds. Who could think that twenty years later we would find that cloudy sky, but in a unique way: now we live under clouds because we store our lives in them. And by clouds, we mean the big cloud where we store our data, memories, money, and life itself. We are talking about cloud computing.

Tangible benefits available to everyone.

We ask ourselves, is it relevant for Chileans to optimize business using the cloud? Yes, it’s very relevant because small and middle-sized companies are more than 60 percent of business in Chile, this means that a lot of money goes through these companies.

We spoke to Juan Pablo Reyes, CEO at Linets, a Chilean company who provides support, monitoring and specializes in cloud computing. He said:

"This technology enhanced the creation and development of infrastructures that were part of the success of big internet companies, and this also created the development of competitors. This has allowed a flexibility we have never seen before".

Edwin Schouten, an IBM strategic executive who works at the Watson Intelligence Network and with IBM´s cloud services, wrote in an article for Wired Magazine that one of the benefits of the cloud is agility in business. In the article, he recalls when he personally saw a data analysis project that would take 4 months, be reduced to 3 weeks, which decreases the total cost significantly.

When creating new companies, using and combining cloud services that already exist can be introduced as new and innovative services. Schouten mentions companies like Spotify and BitCasa as examples.

The cloud works like this: once something is on it, it never gets down, so even if the apocalypse arrives our data remains safe.

There is a lot of future in the cloud, because, as Schouten says, “The real power of the cloud is what technology can achieve for your business by implementing and deploy services quickly.”

Is there really a difference between using the cloud and not using it?

One of the biggest benefits that the cloud brings is the reduction of technological waste because all the equipment necessary to do the processes is in another place and it’s being used by millions of users who can’t afford to maintain and operate powerful computer systems.

As Juan Pablo Reyes says, "if you are not in the cloud, that means you have a physical server or a classic virtual one. When you are in the cloud you forget about hardware. You don't have to pull your hair when the hard drive fails or when you are short of memory (and you don't have to wait days to fix it). In the cloud the information is replicated, so you forget about hardware errors and you can also grow your machine in seconds. Beside this, you have more control of your resources and you can be more efficient at how you use them. As an example, you can upgrade everything in 2 or 3 minutes, while a physical server takes days".

Jonathan González (izquierda) y Sergio Morales (derecha), ambos del equipo de Plataformas de Linets.

The same happens with data storage, thanks to the high speed of Internet access currently available – whether through personal computers, cell phones, the Internet of things or other methods – the use of hard drives or other storage technologies is reduced.

Why should companies stop being afraid of the cloud?

Every company should consider using the cloud because they are safe, customizable and accessible.

According to Bruce Schneir, a well-known American cryptographer, one of the limitations of using the cloud is that you don’t have the option of personalizing your digital needs. The prices of cloud computing are cheaper, because they use the economy of scale and, as in many businesses, you tend to receive what you pay for.

“There’s a difference between the public cloud and the private one. Ninety percent of companies should migrate to some kind of cloud, but not all of them should go to the public cloud. There are some companies that, because of their needs, can’t or don’t want to take information from their own data centers. They should have a private cloud. We found that need and that’s why we offer BeeBop as a private cloud”, said Jose Luis Reyes. “Regarding companies that don’t have these problems, transitioning to the public cloud is necessary because it alleviates a lot of problems: it helps organize your resources, make effective use of them, have a flexible infrastructure and save money”, he added.

Another problem is confidentiality and the use of sensitive data that is not encrypted, which could fall into bad hands.

While the cloud has problems, such as what happened to Target and other department stores (where the data of 40 million users were stolen, including names, addresses, telephone numbers, credit card information and other data), security has already improved, and computer attacks are no longer as common as they were when the cloud was just beginning to be used.

Among the benefits of the cloud, which are many, the main one is its low cost, which allows businesses to focus on the competition.

Companies should not fear the cloud failing because although the problems are inevitable, technicians are available all day to solve any problem that may occur.

It’s true that no intelligent system works perfectly. After considering the pros and cons, you can see the benefits that the cloud gives us day by day, especially in a growing market like the Chilean one.

Can we think about a world where companies don’t want to optimize their storage by using the cloud? Where would we be? It’s hard to say, that’s why we should understand what this technology means for the productive society of today.