But first, what is cloud computing?
Cloud computing is the delivery of computing services – servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics, applications and more, via the internet.
In a nutshell? It basically means you’re able to access software and applications from wherever you are whether you’re at the office, home, or the beach.
You’re probably already experiencing the benefits of cloud computing in some way but hadn’t realized it. Below are a number of cloud computing applications, also called SaaS or Software as a Service:
- Gmail, Yahoo Mail or other free email accounts
- Netsuite, Salesforce
- Constant Contact, Exact Target, MailChimp
- Zoomerang, SurveyMonkey
- Office 365
- All things Google (Google Search, Google Ads, Google Maps)
- … and more!
Cloud computing is a major game changer for businesses and here’s why:
Lowered IT Costs
This is probably the biggest compelling reason why companies choose to move their network (all or in part) to the cloud. Not only do you save money on software licenses, but on hardware (servers and workstations) as well as on IT support and upgrades.
Ability to access your desktop and/or applications from virtually anywhere
If you travel a lot, have remote workers or prefer to use an iPad while travelling and a laptop at your house, cloud computing will give you the ability to work from any of these devices, anywhere. Data in the cloud can be easily stored, retrieved, recovered, or processed with just a few clicks.
Disaster recovery and backup are automated
The server in your office is extremely vulnerable to a number of threats including viruses, human error, hardware failure, software corruption and, of course, physical damage due to a fire, flood or other natural disaster. If your server were in the cloud and your office was reduced to a pile of rubble, you could purchase a new laptop and be back up and running within the same day. This would NOT be the case if you had a traditional network and were using tape drives, CDs, USB drives or other physical storage devices to back up your system.
Plus, like a public utility, cloud platforms are far more robust and secure than your average business network because they can utilize economies of scale to invest heavily into security, redundancy and failover systems, making them far less likely to go down.
Not all businesses have the same IT needs. A small-medium sized business will have different technology needs than a large enterprise with over 1,000 employees. The benefits of cloud computing services will enable businesses to efficiently and quickly scale up/down their IT departments, according to their business technology needs.
Cloud-based solutions offer the ability to scale elastically without having to invest in physical infrastructure as well as minimizing the risks associated with in-house operational issues and maintenance. This level of scalability is the greatest advantage to businesses using cloud computing over their competitors.
A common misconception most businesses have in regard to cloud computing is the idea that keeping IT operations in-house is a safer solution than utilizing cloud-based solutions. Data security is one of the most major concerns of every business, regardless of size and industry. Cloud services must adhere with cybersecurity standards, policies, and controls that guarantee the safeguard and integrity of the data it holds for its users.
Cloud-based solution is also a green solution
Businesses using cloud computing services help contribute to sustainable IT by substantially reducing the total physical server footprint. In other words, less equipment is needed which reduces data center space and e-waste footprint; and in turn, less electricity to be consumed. Who doesn’t like to save money on electricity bills as well as making a definite contribution to the environmental health of the planet?
Traditional IT infrastructure requires a significant amount of time and internal resources to manage, maintain and keep their IT infrastructure up-to-date. Oftentimes, deploying system updates to be installed requires businesses to undergo downtime. Operations could be halted or severely limited, causing major decrease in productivity and loss of revenue. With cloud computing, cloud providers can take the strain of rolling out mandatory software and security updates without halting business operations and in turn saving valuable time for your IT department to focus on your most important business goals.
If you’d like to explore how cloud computing can be a real advantage to your business, please contact us for your free Network Assessment here.