You’ve probably heard about how you should be “moving your business to the cloud” for a while.
What does that mean to your average business?
Put simply, “cloud computing” is all about making the most of computing over a remote network: the internet. You know this already. But it’s also how a business or an organisation can stay effective and future-proof. It’s about being able to compete in today’s fast-moving, globalised and customer-focused market. If you’re not cloud-adapted, your next competitor will be.
Whatever your business size, the cloud means you can now use the same or similar technology as your competitors. The cloud has democratised computing: the small, agile, business can operate on the same level as a slow-moving corporation. Intelligent use of the cloud will leave you free to focus on the more important things – like winning more business.
We’re convinced of the value that the cloud can offer, so much so that made a section devoted to cloud services on our website.
Still need persuading?
Here are 9 reasons why the cloud makes sense for businesses:
1. The main one: cost
Why buy expensive hardware when you know that next year’s model is going to be better for the same price? It’s a very “first-world problem” that we all experience, whether you’re talking about a smartphone or a business’s IT estate.
By relying on cloud offerings, keeping up to date with tech becomes the cloud-provider’s problem. They need to stay competitive, so you’ll be treated to access to the type of platform and infrastructure that you wouldn’t be able to afford on-premise.
Cloud providers are also in a super-competitive market, so you can take advantage of their price wars to make savings. They rely on economies of scale, and the savings can be passed on to their customers, which can only benefit the cloud-savvy business.
Moreover it’s a “pay as you go” model that will turn capital expenditure (hardware) to operating expenditure (subscription), allowing you to forecast and budget better - making your accountant happy!
In a fast-moving IT environment, it’s difficult to anticipate and plan for change. If you’re cloud-based, you can easily scale-up what you need (bandwidth, storage or compute resource), and scale it down again, as necessary. This elasticity will give you a competitive advantage, and allow you to deal with changing demand smoothly and efficiently.
Perhaps you can even take some managed risks? You can afford to experiment when it’s easy to back-pedal.
If an employee stores important data on a mobile device or laptop, it’s a disaster waiting to happen. If the data is stored in the cloud, it can be quickly and easily locked-off through user permissions, and even the temporary files stored on the device can be wiped remotely. You can then quickly gain access to the data from a new device.
Another security advantage is similar to “cost” argument: in order to stay competitive, cloud providers need have a strong reputation for security (we’re looking at you, iCloud!). So it’s a priority for them to have the best and most up to date security controls.
4. Disaster recovery
Robust premise-based IT security is always good to have to help protect you from criminals, but it won’t protect you from the more dramatic disasters like fire or flood.
By having backups in the cloud, SMBs can now have the same fail-safes that larger businesses invest in, at a fraction of the cost compared to just a few years ago. Research from the Aberdeen Group shows that small businesses are twice as likely to have implemented cloud-based backup and recovery solutions, compared to larger companies. This saves time and helps avoid large up-front costs.
There can be other benefits too: if you use one of our backup and recovery solutions, you also get access to our expertise, included in the offer at no extra cost.
5. Automatic software updates
Quite simple: you don’t have to keep monitoring for all the latest changes, and waste IT resources patching and updating. Automatic updates also help from a security perspective: in today’s “permanent beta” of IT development, back doors can be firmly bolted before they’re exploited.
6. Efficient new ways of working
Teams can work together on shared documents, from anywhere, in real time. Whilst collaboration does lead to efficiencies, in the past it has had its downsides: it can get messy and confusing, especially if you’re emailing something like a Word document around.
With modern cloud computing, the files and change-logs are stored in one central place, improving visibility and ensuring that everyone is on the same page (pun intended, sorry).
7. Flexible people at flexible hours
If you have access to the internet, you can work from anywhere, from a mobile device. It means that employers can get access to the best people at the time they need them, and employees can negotiate a better work-life balance. Productivity remains the same or improves, which is good for everyone.
8. Instant, actionable insights
As the “Internet of Things” gathers pace (and it will, despite some false starts!), new types of sensors are proliferating throughout the technological world. This could leave you in danger of becoming overwhelmed if you try to manage that “data explosion” with traditional, inflexible tools.
Alternatively, by sending data to the cloud, where it can get interrogated and analysed by expert systems, you can ensure that the filtered data you eventually receive is timely and relevant.
From that, you can make intelligent, informed business decisions based on empirical data you can trust – without getting overwhelmed.
9. It’s green
By only using the “energy” you need (bandwidth and compute resource, as well as actual electricity) when you need it, waste can be cut drastically.
All the other time, resource and money-saving aspects of the cloud feed in to this: an obvious example would be the flexible mobile working options that the cloud offers. Employees need not commute, and the business does not need to expend energy providing them with a comfortable working environment. It’s a win for both your carbon footprint and your bottom line!
We could have offered you many more reasons, but we thought “Cloud 9” had a nice ring to it.
Find out more about the type of cloud services or contact us today.