There’s little doubt that the business community has embraced the cloud in recent years. The market continues to experience strong growth with a 21% increase seen on predicted 2015 spending. It’s further thought that cloud infrastructure spending will grow at a 30% CAGR until 2015. This is opposed to general enterprise IT spending, which it’s thought will only see a 5% increase.
It’s likely that you already use the cloud, no matter what the size of your business. From simple email, to complete IT infrastructures, the cloud has something to offer every company. With that in mind, let’s have a look today at some of the main benefits that using the cloud has to offer.
#1: Cost Savings
One of the biggest benefits of the cloud is found in the cost savings that it can afford any business. These are achieved in various ways, the most obvious being in licensing and reduced capital expenditure. As cloud services are offered on a pay-monthly basis, this means that businesses don’t have to purchase costly licenses up-front, or purchase expensive hardware. Further to this, cloud suppliers often don’t tie you down to a contract as previous payment models have.
As well as this, costs can be reduced in:
- Downtime – cloud infrastructures tend to be more robust than onpremise as it’s simple to route information to another server cluster in the data centre in the event of hardware failure. Often, a cloud customer won’t even notice any interruption to service. This is hugely beneficial to every business as the cost of downtime can easily run into the 1000s very quickly.
- Productivity – as well as the improved productivity due to less downtime, the cloud facilitates effective collaboration, which is proven to increase productivity.
- Software licensing – for many years businesses have worked on a software licensing model which meant spending out large sums up-front for licenses for each and every employee. The cloud uses the pay-monthly model, so it’s simple to scale up and down as necessary, only ever paying for what you need.
- Storage – once a very expensive means of maintaining records and company information, cloud storage is more accessible and cheaper than onsite solutions.
- Maintenance – cloud hardware is maintained and replaced by the cloud vendor, meaning less cost to the business. For example, a traditional PBX system would require a lot of maintenance and upkeep, whereas a cloud-based PBX is maintained by the supplier.
#2: Flexibility & Scalability
One of the beauties of the cloud is in the way that businesses can access services as and when they need them. For example, say that your company has recently landed a large contract and has to take on more staff immediately. In the past, you may have had to purchase additional licenses for software in order to get them started. However, the process for adding further licenses was complex and drawn out.
With the cloud, this doesn’t really happen. You can simply contact the vendor and add more users to the account and the software is deployed immediately.
If the workers are employed by you on a temporary basis, you can also then go on to remove those licenses when they are no longer needed.
The cloud scales up and down very easily and this flexibility allows a business to control its spending whilst accessing all of the IT services that they need. This doesn’t just apply to software licensing either, although it’s doubtless one of the most popular cloud services, but to storage, email, security and much more too.
When the cloud first began to find its way into the mainstream, many businesses worried about its security. After all, if information wasn’t going to be kept on the business premises, then surely it would be inherently insecure. The reality is that the cloud is often more secure than the average business network
, although of course this depends largely on the supplier.
However, cloud vendors have
to be serious about security because often, it’s hard-baked into the business model that they offer.
Further to this, using the cloud for backup and recovery, hosted email and even using managed security can dramatically increase the security of your business. One of the biggest problems that businesses face is in patch management
. Using the cloud for applications means that software patches are applied immediately that they become available, which in turn reduces the risk of attack.
Keeping all company information and records on the business premises is risky. Not only will a disaster such as fire or flood destroy all of it, but it can more easily be accessed and stolen if it’s all kept in one place. Using the cloud, businesses can take a hybrid approach, with data being kept both onpremise and in the cloud to ensure that a backup is always available. With managed security, businesses can take security one step further and ensure that systems are continuously monitored for attack, whilst AV pattern updates, and software patches are applied immediately.
Many believe the cloud to be insecure, it’s not, and probably not anywhere near as insecure as your own business network.
Many businesses don’t have a disaster recovery plan either, but your cloud provider is certain to have one to protect its customers.
Why Choose the Cloud?
There are plenty of other cloud benefits for business, but the above are perhaps the most important. Cutting costs and building an agile and responsive business are important to all business owners and executives. Using the cloud, this is more than achievable, no matter what the size of your company. In fact, large organisations have been slower to embrace the cloud as it takes time to deploy services across a wide range of departments and users.
For smaller businesses and enterprises, the cloud has levelled the playing field. Now, access to powerful computing systems and the best software is no longer just the domain of those with large annual IT budgets. Any company can use the cloud to build a robust and useful IT infrastructure at a fraction of the cost seen just a few short years ago.