Where is your business IT? Is it all in-house, using your own on-premises servers, hardware and infrastructure? Or is it in the cloud?
The limits of the ‘traditional’ on-premises approach are becoming more and more obvious – not least the lack of flexibility. Meanwhile, the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed businesses to work more remotely, both in terms of teamwork and customer interactions. And cloud tools, with their scalable and reliable off-site infrastructure, are ideally suited to remote working, handling data storage, document sharing, and a variety of modes of communication.
What is ‘cloud computing’?
Cloud computing is basically about not being restricted by your own hardware, or lack of it. In a nutshell, if you’re sharing or using someone else’s computing power, servers, data storage, network, etc. then you’re using cloud computing. Maybe you have a Gmail account? Or store or back up documents online? Or watch YouTube? It’s all cloud computing: available on demand. Most organisations these days are adopting cloud computing and, as you can imagine, there are plenty of advantages to using cloud computing in your business…
Cloud computing advantage #1: Better collaboration
Whether it’s colleagues, customers or contractors, collaboration is easier in the cloud. You can store documents in mutually accessible locations, work on them together (at the same time, even) and communicate instantly, using email, messaging or video. Geographical location is not an issue.
Cloud computing advantage #2: Flexibility
With cloud computing, you can access your business files/docs/messages no matter where you are – in the office, at home, commuting, even on the beach if that’s your thing. All you need is an internet connection (and the right cloud computing setup, of course).
Cloud computing advantage #3: Scalability
Your business doesn’t stay still. It expands, consolidates and diversifies in response to the needs and opportunities of your market. What you need is IT systems and tools flexible enough to keep pace with your business.
With cloud computing, you’re using someone else’s hardware and you only pay for what you use. If you need to use more (say, your business is growing) scaling up your IT usage is not a problem. Nor is scaling it back if you need to. No need to worry about IT resources – just manage your business and your IT capacity will follow.
Cloud computing advantage #4: Automatic integration and updates
Cloud computing solutions and tools integrate seamlessly, often with very little setting up (as in the case of Google Workspace’s suite of apps, for example). Your calendar appointments contain the details and links to your video meetings at which you can share and work on documents… it all fits together. Likewise, software updates are largely automatic, depending on your provider and service package, keeping you up to date with minimal effort.
Cloud computing advantage #5: Business continuity
Protecting your data is critical to your business. When that data is stored in the cloud, whatever happens (physically) to your business doesn’t happen to your data. Instead, when you come to recover from a natural disaster, power outage, accidental deletion, or whatever, your data is still in the cloud, safe and secure. Consequently, your downtime and the impact on the goods and services you provide is minimised.
Cloud computing advantage #6: Reduced IT costs
The cost of cloud computing is essentially on a pay-as-you-go model – pricing structures tend to be flexible and easily changed to follow the growth of your business. Add this to the lack of hardware costs and no need to employ IT experts and cloud computing is a cost-effective option for any business, especially in the small to medium category. One of the key advantages of cloud computing in business is that operating costs are reduced and return on investment is increased.
Cloud computing advantage #7: It’s green
Environmental impact is a key concern for any business these days, as it is for your customers and employees. Cloud computing, with the lack of on-site hardware, keeps your carbon footprint and emissions as low as possible. When all the action is taking place in a virtual environment, your workplace is greener.
The advantages of cloud computing in business add up
When your IT is no longer tied to a single location, neither is your business. These days, almost everybody is walking around with an internet-connected device (or devices) and if your business uses cloud computing, that means your business is accessible anytime, anywhere, cost-effectively, and with less environmental impact. If you want to know more about what cloud computing could do for your business, check out our cloud services, or give us a call on 1800 312 972 – we’re here to help.