Lately, I have been hearing many stories of expats and tourists in Phuket whose laptops have been stolen. Having your laptop stolen is a terrible experience. You not only feel violated, but your life was basically on that computer.
Picking up the pieces can be hard, but today it can be made easier with cloud computing. Cloud computing is the ability to back up all your data and do everything in cyberspace or in the cloud.
The easiest form of cloud computing for us expats is through Google’s Gmail. If you have a Gmail account, you have Google Drive. With Google Drive, you no longer need Microsoft Office. You can create a document, a spreadsheet, a presentation, keep track of your calendars, and everything is backed up on Google servers or in the cloud.
With Gmail all you need is a browser and an Internet connection. So if your laptop is stolen, all you have to do is go to an Internet café and access all of your important data just by logging into your Gmail account. All your documents and files will all be there on Google Drive.
A big advantage to doing everything through the cloud is that we no longer have to buy the most expensive laptop. The fastest computer with the most memory is no longer necessary. Basically all you need is a cheap laptop with wifi and a browser. So if this laptop gets stolen, it’s not as problematic as before.
Now I know many of you are thinking about security and privacy. The idea of handing over our important data is concerning. But we must remember that these companies have their reputations at stake and require security measures in place. If they didn’t they wouldn’t have any customers. Keep in mind that the only way to access your data is with your username and password and only you have that info.
Fortune 500 companies are now going way of the cloud. It helps them save IT costs by a tremendous amount. If Fortune 500 companies are going this route, it makes sense for us as well.
I have to tell you that cloud computing has made my life easier. I no longer have to worry about losing my data. As I travel through Thailand and back to the US, I can access all my info on my laptop or even on my smartphone. I really think cloud computing is the way of the future and I think cloud computing is a good area to be in for me and my clients.
My favorite stock is Google (GOOG). Google started as a search company, but has branched into so many other businesses. There’s Gmail, Google+, YouTube, Google Drive, soon Google Glass, and they own the popular Android operating system for smartphones. The stock has been a huge winner for me coming out of the 2009 financial crisis rising from US$300 to US$900.
If Google is a little pricey for you, I also like Salesforce.com (CRM) stock. Salesforce.com is purely a cloud computing company. They specialize in customer relationship management or CRM. A company can assign each customer an account and everyone in the organization can collaborate remotely. According to Forbes, Salesforce.com is the most innovative company in America.
How Salesforce.com makes money is via subscriptions. Salesforce.com has its services available in over 16 different languages and has over 100,000 customers with over two million subscriptions. The stock has been a great performer as well the past five years rising several hundreds of percent.
My third favorite stock in the sector is Accenture.
Accenture is the former consulting arm of Arthur Anderson that was spun off. Accenture is transitioning corporations to the cloud. Companies hire Accenture to streamline their operations and the easiest way for Accenture to do this is via the cloud. Accenture just this week invested $400 million to boost their cloud capabilities. More and more clients are going digital and Accenture wants to help them make that transition.
What I like about Accenture is that the company has virtually no overhead. Its assets are its people. Most employees work remotely or at the client’s locations. The stock has been a nice steady performer over the past five years rising from $30 to about $80 today. Since the company has virtually no overhead, there’s no need to make costly investments. Instead, the company returns the money to shareholders. In the past 7 years, Accenture has paid out $15.3 billion in dividends and share buybacks.
I like the cloud computing sector and it offers opportunities for the investor. If you would like to discuss cloud computing or investing in general, feel free to send me an email, call or Skype. I’m available any time to discuss technology, the global markets and the potential in cloud computing for investors.