Is Cloud Computing a Good Fit for Your Business?
Here are Five Basics of Cloud Computing that May Help You Determine if Cloud Can Help Your Business
Cloud computing may still seem foreign to you, but this technology is a pretty big deal. But is it right for YOUR business? Before making any big decisions, it’s a good idea to gain a clearer understanding of just what it means and what it could do for you. To make cloud computing a bit simpler, here are five basics about it you need to know.
- There are Two Versions You Should Understand
There are several versions of cloud computing available to you, and which you choose would be based on the IT needs of your business. You may use a cloud computing service or buy IT hardware. Two key versions of cloud computing are SaaS or Software-as-a-Service and IaaS or Infrastructure-as-a-Service.
With SaaS, the provider of the cloud service hosts the enterprise application and the associated data on its storage systems and server. The applications are accessed via a web browser and there’s usually a fee you need to pay per month to use it. (You are probably already using various forms of SaaS. Think Gmail, social media, Salesforce, Email marketing solutions, survey tools and more.)
When you use laaS, the provider hosts physical servers, virtual machines, switching, storage and resources for connectivity so you can run your enterprise applications by using a pay-as-you-go system. Since you don’t have to purchase your own hardware, IaaS can be a great option for a start-up or for testing a new idea. Because it’s scalable, it’s also ideal for businesses with workloads that fluctuate.
- Flexibility with Cloud Computing Services for IT
In today’s world, technology is always changing and with it so are the needs of your business. Cloud services can easily adapt to match the business requirements.
Cloud computing services offer services by the month so you’re not locked into contracts for years or months like with legacy hosting systems. This sort of system matches the needs of many businesses – like financial or retail services – as there are slow times as well as peak times. If you need more or less capacity, cloud computing can be scaled to those needs so you’re only spending for what you actually need.
The ease with which remote workers can travel or work from wherever they happen to be is also a HUGE benefit of cloud computing.
- You Can Update your Aging Infrastructure without Capital Expenditure – or CAPEX Costs
Probably the biggest advantage of cloud is lowered IT costs. Save on software licenses, hardware, IT support and upgrades. Many businesses today want to use new technologies. In order to do so, they need significant upfront investments, powerful servers, licenses and implementation costs. With cloud computing, you can take advantage of the newest technologies without an enormous investment to support it.
Sometimes it is a matter of hardware and software no longer being supported and something has to give. Cloud can be an option if you find yourself in this situation.
Cloud is an efficient way to purchase IT that gets around the capital funding issue. Because cloud allows you to get moving without a big outlay, it is possible to deploy more rapidly. You can target key business areas and enable as you go, allowing for a quicker return on investment. Many companies end up with hybrid solutions – where some applications are in the cloud and some are still hosted and maintained in house. Cloud allows this kind of flexibility.
- Cloud Allows for the Support of New IT services and Users in an Economical Way
Is your data center running out of space? Many companies are forced to build new centers or expand their existing ones, which costs a lot of money. Cloud computing allows a company to move applications to the provider’s infrastructure and save on the costs of a new data center or an expansion.
Disaster Recovery and Backup – Cloud platforms are more secure than traditional networks. However, many businesses don’t feel comfortable having their data stores offsite. Talk to a cloud provider about your options when it comes to how data is stored, encrypted, etc. Make sure to ask about an SLA (service level agreement) that will outline how IT issues are resolved and in what time frame.
- The Cloud Frees up Personnel for other Projects
Your IT staff members spend a lot of time keeping technology running properly. There’s a need to maintain, manage and troubleshoot your existing technology. Cloud computing services can manage services as well as provide the necessary infrastructure. This frees up staff so they can perform other tasks for the business which may be more critical.
Cloud computing offers a lot for businesses and means different things depending on where your business is at now. Cloud computing helps reduce costs as well as helps a business respond to the marketplace in a better way.
Honestly, cloud computing may not be a good fit for your business. Some clients can truly reap benefits like lower IT costs, a greater ability for collaboration and access for remote workers. Furthermore, moving to the cloud CAN solve problems that you’ve been dealing with for years and simplify your entire IT infrastructure.
Not sure if cloud computing can help your business? Contact my office and we’ll be happy to work with you to determine your readiness for cloud and whether or not it’s the answer you’ve been looking for.
Scott Long, SVP Public Sector, State & Local Governments