All businesses, not just technology companies, can use cloud-based services, said Rakesh Hegde, founder and CEO, Rezopia, a U.S.-based cloud technology provider for travel companies. The company provides cloud-based end-to-end travel reservation, contracts, operations, and distribution management system for packaged travel providers.

Delivering a talk on “Recent trends in IT in the U.S.”, organised by Mangalore Management Association at the SDM College of Business Management, here on Wednesday, Mr. Hegde, an alumnus of SDM institutions, said that cloud-based services enabled businesses to focus on their core strengths by helping them do the peripheral tasks.

In the U.S.,, Marketo, and Workday were large, serious businesses that let smaller businesses manage their HR and payrolls using cloud-based services, for instance. So also was Mint, which was very popular in the U.S. with people who used the website for managing their finances, he said. was a company that completely relied on cloud infrastructure. People using it can get DVD movies for rent or see movies being screened. It has 24 million subscribers. “Giving rental DVD movies on mail is serious business,” he said.

Cloud computing had three aspects such as infrastructure, platform and software. Businesses could rent hardware “on demand” by paying as they go. There was no need to hire IT services and no investment for that purpose, he said.

Besides, services based on clouds could be scaled easily. The system adds servers whenever the requirement increased. At the same time, the businesses need not pay upfront but pay on demand.

The economic downturn was an opportunity for a country such as India and for young entrepreneurs to use cloud computing as, with recession, budgets got tighter. For instance, compared to using phones in Bangalore, when employees used Skype for speaking, costs were drastically reduced for his company, he said.

Also, it was not just small and medium businesses (SMBs) but bigger companies such as Motorola also that had adopted cloud computing. Gaming could be done using cloud-based services. One need not use a computer with a graphics card. Instead, Internet can be used. However, data security, privacy and performance are a concern with cloud computing. “Data ownership has always been an issue. People do ask, ‘Do I own the data or do you own the data?' while thinking about using cloud-based services,” he said. In case of his company, data belonged to the customer, he said.

Earlier, in his keynote address at seminar on cloud computing organised by SDM College of Business Management, Mr. Hegde said that according to a survey, in the next five years, 50 per cent of global companies would hire cloud computing services. Rather than purchasing all services and software, hiring the services of cloud computing firms would be cheaper as well as more efficient, Mr. Hegde said.