Cloud Storage Providers Can Help Small Business Cloud storage providers can save small business time and money. Many of the headaches associated with information technology including, knowledge, capacity and integrity are removed when these services are used. Cloud computing is a growing phenomenon. It refers to information technology services provided virtually via the web. As a business grows their data storage needs grow. This used to mean buying a new server to store information as the first one was coming close to capacity. There was inefficiency in this method as the new server had to be paid for up front but was not fully utilized for some time. Costs for cloud computing are usually charged on a pay as you use basis so the investment is spread over time. Cloud Services Backups of business information for disaster recovery are essential. And, storage of backups off site can be problematic for small business. Usually the owner copies the information to an external hard drive and takes it home with them. This kind of storage can be used as a place to keep backups of important data. And, it is as simple as sending the information over the internet. Easy access is available to business data when this type of storage is used. A business owner can access their information from anywhere an internet connection is available. This ease of access is also useful for sharing information. A user can allow others to access their information, but it is usually protected from improper access via security protocols and encryption. When data storage is arranged through a service provider, the technology is maintained by their technicians. Cloud Computing A business owner does not need to spend time learning how to configure hardware, service or maintain it. And, they don't have to employ an expert to do it either. On the cloud computing is a growing industry. There are many cloud storage providers to choose from who have the capacity to service businesses. And, they can be found easily by a quick Internet search. A long time front-runner in the cloud computing sphere, Amazon delivers a suite of tools that provide an inexpensive and scalable infrastructure as a service to companies who need reliable computing services and storage. Their Elastic Compute Cloud service, otherwise known as EC2, is a cloud-based service where users can create virtual machines and run software of their choice on a per-need basis. Cloud Computing Providers Users pay by the hour for the server usage and have control over the location and deployment. It is designed to work directly with other Amazon Web Services like Simple Storage Service (S3) which allows users to store and retrieve unlimited data, paying for only the resources that are used. As the major player in Internet technology, Google has joined the ranks of cloud computing providers with its Google App Engine platform as a service. This service is aimed at developing and hosting web applications using Google's infrastructure and data centers. The engine supports several languages including Java, Ruby and Python. This scalable service allows developers to pay for what they use without startup costs or recurring fees. Microsoft Azure - Microsoft's answer to cloud computing is Windows Azure Platform. Cloud Computing For Business This platform as a service allows developers to utilize Microsoft infrastructure and data centers to develop, host and run web applications. Azure provides a complete set of services including computing environments, scalable storage, database functionality and a content delivery network. This company is the leader in cloud based web hosting. Their easy-to-use server and on-demand solutions provide customers with a way to get servers online as quickly as possible without investing in the hardware. Users pay for server usage by the hour and can add or delete server instances on-demand. Their major selling point is their Fanatical Support service that provides excellent customer support through rapid response to problems, finding solutions that will benefit the customer, and providing technical expertise.