Cloud computing has really taken off in the last few years and is now being used as a buzz word for a lot of different things in essence cloud computing can be defined as an activity which uses servers hosted on the internet for computing purposes (store, manage and process data) you can own your own cloud or you can pay to use someone else’s.
Cloud computing has been around for a long time, think Hotmail your emails are stored on Microsoft’s servers you simply log in and view, send/receive them, it’s the same with Facebook the images are uploaded to Facebook’s servers an can be viewed from anywhere. Cloud computing has been around for a long time and has been used widely in day to day life but only recently has it taken off in a major way for businesses. This could be attributed to the fact that internet speeds has increased which allows for more things to be done over the internet and the number of devices connected to the internet has also grown a lot of recent years.
There are lessons learned from cloud computing and benefits that it brings to businesses whether they use a hosted backup system for their data, have applications they use in the cloud or use any type of cloud service for that matter. This post aims to explore the beneficial lessons which can be learned from the cloud, there are many but to keep size down we will be going over four.
Let’s start with point number 1: It does lower costs but not in a major way, it takes time to realise the benefits. Move things to the cloud won’t bring your costs down to zero, the data that you back up in the cloud for example still needs to hosted somewhere on physical equipment which needs power and ongoing maintenance, there will still be an IT support team who monitor the data being backed up. The equipment is just not on your site and it is not owned by you unless it is a private cloud that you own yourself but for this post we will discuss shared clouds. Your business does save on hardware costs, human resources and electricity as these are all included in your monthly fee. You only pay for the things that you use and do not have any hardware which is not being used. By hosting non business critical IT functions to the cloud you will lower your costs on a monthly basis and as time goes by your savings will too.
Number 2 – It gives you access to more IT systems for your money. As most cloud services are shared services the costs is split across the different organisations which use the service, this lowers the cost for everyone as it isn’t just you shelling out for the equipment and managing it. You can use services for example which will let you back your data up to multiple data centers and keep it encrypted or use analytic tools to review your customers buying behavior. These things are expensive and would normally be out of reach for a lot of small businesses but cloud computing makes them all readily available for a lower cost.
Number 3 – it improves security: how many times have you heard someone say I’ve lost my laptop? Your main concern when hearing this is what about our data. Data is very valuable. With a remote locking and wiping tool which is a feature of our antivirus solutions the lost laptop can be locked and whipped remotely and the data that was on it can be reloaded from backups onto a new laptop. This process can take less than an hour sometimes and everything is kept secure, your data is whipped from the laptop and your backups are secure. Through cloud computing you can have your data hosted inside an encrypted environment, the software’s, hardware’s and people skills used to do this would be very costly to do to high levels, but in a shared economy it works out very cost effective for the buyers.
Number 4 – it makes your business more agile: this is often a point which is left out in many discussions but it is something that is very true and is worth looking at. Through cloud computing you lower your physical hardware purchases, these hardware purchases tie you in for a certain amount of time as your business has to get usage from the equipment before you can get rid of it or to use something else. If you purchased an email server for example it wouldn’t be a simple lets change it job as you have already invested in it. Whereas in cloud services you can upgrade and change things a lot easier, in most cases the supplier will guarantee that their products are always kept up to date. It becomes a lot easier to makes changes and to scale up or down. This is feature in both our hosted emails and hosted backups if you grow by 5 members of staff one month and then shrink by 10 we can easily readjust the services that you are using so you do not overpay for anything or have unused licenses this is the same with the amount of data being backed up, all of this is managed by our IT support teams.
Overall through effective use of the cloud your business can have access to a wider range of technologies and can change them as your business goes through various stages. This makes it easier for you to use IT as a business enabler and helps compete in the market place as high level technology is no longer only reserved for large companies.