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What is “Cloud Computing”?
Cloud computing is a way of using software, which is not installed on your PC or network, but is used on a remote server, which you access via the Internet. Normally, you pay a small monthly charge for using cloud systems.
What are the advantages of cloud computing?
The main advantage of “cloud systems” is that you can get to use very powerful software without the huge cost of buying it. With BioTrack, you get access to a large enterprise-grade ERP system available 24×7 for a small monthly charge.
Also, with cloud computing systems, you don’t have the hassle and cost of having to install and maintain large database system on your PC. This means you don’t have the responsibility for managing databases, installing upgrades or keeping your system running. All this is done in “the cloud”, in other words, by the people that manage the remote servers.
This basically means that you can use the software without the cost or worry or managing the software, the backups, the infrastructure etc. For you, the software is “just there” when you want it. And this opens up opportunities to use very powerful database software but with none of the hassles….. and lets you get on with the organic business!
Cloud computing is a green alternative to local PC systems because many users use the same software and share disk and hardware resources. BioTrack runs on low-energy servers available whenever you need them. That means you don’t have to leave your PCs switched on all the time….. just when you want to connct to BioTrack.
What do you need to use a cloud system like BioTrack?
You need the following:
- an internet connection
- a web browser (IE 7 or up)
- a login from us
What are the risks of cloud computing?
There are several legitimate risks which you need to evaluate when consider using Cloud systems:
1. Data security (1): You are storing your data on someone else’s server. Do you trust them?
2. Data security (2): You are storing your storing your data on someone else’s server. What happens if they loose your data?
3. What happens if you cant get internet access or “the cloud” is down: If your cloud system is unavailable or you cannot get access to the internet, ehat do you do?
Using Cloud Systems sucessfully
Cloud systems can make good economic sense because they give you access to high value systems at a low cost, with zero investment and almost no system maintenance.
How do we make sure that you can avoid the risks of Cloud systems?
1. Security: Only give your data to an organisation you trust. Anyone can provide “cloud computing” services, so you need to be sure you can trust the operators of the system to protect your commercial data. BioTrack: We use Oracle 10g, the world’s most secure database, which is conformant with “Orange book ” standards of security, the highest standards of data security which exist. We work directly with organic farmers (sometimes via a trusted common intermediary, known to us and to you).
2. Security(2): You need to be sure the service provides a regular backup of your data. In addition, you need to be sure that the service provider can restore your data in a reasonable time, or that you have copies of your data is a usable form (Excel, for example). BioTrack uses 2 forms of database backup each day. These database backups are propagated to a “failover server” every day to ensure that the backups are viable and that we wont loose your data.
3. Failure recovery: You will receive a backup copy of your data every week or month (in an easily readable format like Excel), so that, if there is a problem of access, you can continue your normal business transactions. BioTrack allows users to download their data at anytime in many re-usable formats (csv, pdf, xls, html, rtf). In addition, we provide all clients with a complete export of their data in sql, and csv format one per week / month or on request.