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Why Internet-Based Software Services Are Useful

Dan received the CompTIA IT Operations Specialist (cert.) in 2010 and worked in the computer repair/networking industry for several years.

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Imagine being able to run a computer-dependent company with little knowledge as to how the technology works. Suppose also that the cost of using the tech is feasible.

Improved computer processing speed and high-speed internet have broken down several barriers. Before the advent of CaaS or cloud-as-a-service, businesses requiring the use of server computers had to install them on-site and typically outsourced the maintenance — a costly prospect. Now, most if not all functions provided by a server computer, including software applications, can be accessed via internet subscription services.

A business consisting of several employees who require access to a file server, for example, no longer needs to purchase the equipment and manage the infrastructure. All that is needed are employee computers and a high-speed internet connection. Not only is this advantageous for businesses just starting out, but it's convenient for businesses that are growth-oriented.

As businesses grow, the cost of adjusting and implementing necessary technology can be a hurdle. Cloud services dramatically reduce administrative overhead and cost. Three common and useful internet-based services are listed below — they are included in Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, and Google Cloud Platform.

Directory Services

When employees in a business each use a computer, managing them all is often burdensome. Directory services — allowing an administrator handles resources from a computer server — can be installed to make the job easier. It requires the installation of a server, however, which can be a financial and administration obstacle. Directory services can be obtained via the internet, as an alternative.

No purchasing or installation of a server is necessary to get the service started. Sharing files with employees and setting permissions is relatively seamless.

Moreover, data backup can be made automatic and is generally easier since files and functions are accessed on the internet. It may come with an additional cost, however, depending on the subscription.

Security

Cybercrime is rampant. News networks post new stories each day about data breaches and other types of tech-based crime. For every computer or network used by a business, there's an array of security caveats that must be taken into consideration. Cloud services provide a way to help businesses manage the dilemma by offering subscription-based services.

  • Data Encryption

One of the hottest commodities of the internet is stolen data, particularly in the black market. It can be used for obtaining illegal access to computer networks, identity theft, blackmail, selling for profit, or directly for financial gain.

When storing file backups, whether at home or with internet service, protecting them from unauthorized eyes is a necessity. Free and paid services are available to provide file backup, although not all of them provide encryption — a technology used to make data unreadable to unauthorized personnel, without a password.

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Encryption services exist online to enhance data storage security. As opposed to uploading files and leaving them open to unauthorized access, encryption services can be added or directly subscribed to.

  • Firewalls

This technology is often thought of as a software program native to operating systems such as Microsoft Windows, Apple macOS, or Linux. However, firewalls can be implemented as dedicated hardware devices or internet-based services.

Firewalls traditionally protected software ports on computers but they have been expanded to include other types of protection. Some of them include antivirus, antispam, website filtering, and content filtering, though there are several others.

Installing and configuring them is generally more involved than a traditional firewall. When subscribing to cloud-based firewalls, however, the administration is streamlined and user-friendly.

  • Virtual Private Networks

The demand for anonymity by those using the internet is growing, and VPNs or virtual private networks fill the need. VPN service providers allow clients to connect to their servers, adding encryption and other options for enhancing privacy.

In general, it's more difficult for internet service providers, online services, and other entities to spy on those using VPNs. Businesses or consumers can use VPNs optionally, although some use them to conform to required privacy standards.

File Hosting

Not only can this service be used for sharing files, but it can be used as a type of backup. Traditionally, people could share files by copying them to floppy disks, CDs, and USB thumb drives, but doing so through the internet is far more common now.

It's especially convenient for those who collaborate as part of a daily routine. Whether a consumer or business, files can be deposited for any selected user to view and/or modify. When security is a concern, permissions can be set to allow for reading, writing (modifying), and executing (typically meaning to run a program).

Taking Advantage

Improved computer processing power has certainly changed what's available. It's easier than ever for aspiring entrepreneurs and established businesses to implement new ideas. What was once a landscape for only a handful of entities has been opened to many more.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Dan Martino

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