But first, what is The Cloud?
“The Cloud” is a term used to describe an environment where individuals and businesses work with applications and data stored on shared machines in a web-based environment. Previous to this, most businesses would store these applications and data’s in their own environment.
The most obvious way ‘The Cloud’ will save your business money is through not having to maintain your application environments yourself. If you think about all the different areas that a local application environment can cost you money:
a. Server maintenance
b. Power & cooling costs
c. Software licensing
d. Upgrade expenses
e. Hardware expenses
You can really see that a well-chosen Cloud environment can reduce bottom line.
2. Manage Growth
As your business grows, most likely so will your need to expand your work environment. Most Cloud providers offer ‘elastic’ computing which means that you can increase or decrease your environment as demand depicts. Seamlessly being able to alter such things as storage capacity, bandwidths, processor speeds and even applications in quick time allows you to react to needs as they may arise. Imagine how long that could take, and how much it would cost, if your environment was stored locally.
Cloud based hosting and programs are accessible any place, any time. This means that not only is it easy for your team to work in a standard office configuration, but it is much easier for businesses with remote employees and external resourcing to work in your environment.
With your work environment stored in a web-based environment, your “up-time” can be greatly improved. By uptime, we’re talking about your applications always being available, and your work environment more consistently being accessible. In fact, a good Cloud provider will generally have dedicated IT professionals that dedicate their entire time to making sure your services are always available. In some cases, you may even be able to do away with the typical system administrators that have dedicated their time to keeping your local environment up and running.
5. Backup & Disaster Recovery
As your business grows and places more value on its data and its client’s data, it is imperative that all bases are covered when it comes to backing up this data and making sure that any down-time is limited as much as possible. In a lot of cases, the value of a good backup and restoration protocol is overlooked until it is just too late. In a local work environment, backup and restoration processes can take a lot of time and money to setup and maintain. Cloud providers generally provide these services for you. They also offer quicker recovery times should your environment or site fail. Some Cloud providers even let you save your data over multiple sites for better protection.
The brilliant thing about all of this is that small and medium businesses now have access to the same Cloud services as large business. You don’t need to grow your business first before you can afford to invest in a larger work environment, you can simply scale your environment in “The Cloud” as your business needs change.