With the recent exponential growth of data, more and more businesses are starting to move their operations into the virtual space. In fact, 21 per cent of small UK businesses are now thought to be embracing cloud-based services, compared with just eight per cent two years ago.
However, an estimated two-thirds of companies across the UK are still resisting the change. Investment in IT always presents a face-off between necessity and financial capacity, but with the benefits that cloud-based computing offers, the business case for relocating is rapidly growing in strength…
1.Levelling the Playing Field
Cloud computing has opened up the software arena by eliminating the capital expenditure traditionally taken for licensing. Adobe’s Creative Cloud and Microsoft Office’s 365 are both prime examples of software that has embraced cloud computing and become immediately more available to businesses because of it.
Previously, a spike in demand for resource-intensive applications such as SQL Server would have presented a costly logistical challenge for businesses. However, with these applications now starting to make the move into the cloud, such issues are eliminated.
The cloud has long been plagued by security concerns. It’s true that cloud hosts do provide a bigger, juicier target for cyber-attacks so there’s little wonder why companies are wary of entrusting them with sensitive data. But the key thing to remember is that they are also more skilled at fending off such attacks.
The key is to ensure you have a reliable web hosting provider, by at least understanding the following before making a commitment:
- Whether the data centre is staffed 24/7, and who by. Ask whether there is there a constant security presence and if tech support be available at all times.
- What the protocol will be in the instance of technical difficulty
- Whether data is encrypted and what other security measures are in place.
- How often back-ups are performed.
4.It’s More Reliable than You Think!
Businesses have a tendency to think of a shared cloud as less capable than their own server located within the office. It’s not difficult to see why businesses might be mistrustful of the reliability of an abstract space. However, public clouds are more than capable of running mission-critical applications and benefit from the advantage of having highly skilled tech-support on hand 24/7.
In fact, back-up and recovery of cloud data is often much easier than with a physical server. Again, the service level agreement is fundamental to this. These days, the assurances made by service providers are extremely comprehensive, with data centres staffed 24/7 and a guaranteed up time of at least 99.9%.
Whilst it’s not all about the money, cloud computing can offer significant cost savings to business. ‘Cash is King’, and cloud computing can potentially remove a large amount of capital expenditure from the IT budget, by cutting out licencing fees and introducing pay-as-you-go options for software and services.
And whilst more organisations are enjoying greater affordability of cutting-edge software, the pressure to keep up with the competition is increasing. In fact, the flexibility and speed that cloud solutions offer can have a significant impact on a company’s overall service quality and efficiency. With this, in turn, driving up industry standards, cloud computing presents a new frontier in business IT.