Cloud technology has been around for some time, but many businesses still haven’t fully grasped the significant benefits that working in the cloud brings to a business, and the sheer power that digital transformation can have on their business
What is the cloud and how will it benefit my business?
There are three models in cloud computing that are important to know:
- Infrastructure as a Service (Iaas) – the servers, networking and storage for your business
- Platform as a Service (Paas) – developer tools for application building, including database management, operating systems, and middleware
- Software as a Service (SaaS) – applications as a service, used day to day via the internet and web applications.
Put simply, cloud computing gives businesses and users access to computing and technology services on-demand – anytime, anywhere – via an internet connection on a pay-as-you-go basis or for free. For many, SaaS is the most common cloud computing model that they will be familiar with, and applications and services that can be accessed include:
- Online file storage, such as Microsoft OneDrive, Dropbox and Google Drive
- Information collation and creation, such as Evernote
- Communication, such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom
- Data and analytics, such as Power BI and Tableau
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools such as Salesforce, Hubspot and Active Campaign
- Social media, such as Linked In, Facebook and Instagram
For businesses, the benefits of the cloud can be substantial. Let’s explore some of them.
Significant capital and operational savings for your business
IaaS has been revolutionary for business. No longer are you required to purchase, install and maintain large server banks on-premise to run your networking requirements, hardware and services. IaaS provides the full benefits of the cloud for your business, allowing you to save significant capital costs of setup, installation and maintenance of network and hardware infrastructure, not to mention the operational resourcing and power costs associated with this.
With no ongoing costs of owning and managing your own IT infrastructure, the cloud has allowed businesses to pay for what they need when they need it. Moving networking requirements, applications, files and other data that would normally be stored on-premise on company servers allows for economy of scale, with the ability to scale up or down based on your business needs. Need more storage because you have new employees? Easy – simply purchase more storage capacity through your cloud storage provider, whether it be Amazon (AWS), Microsoft (Azure) or another third-party provider.
Streamlined, flexible access that scales with your business
A key benefit of the cloud is that it allows you to store your files, media and programs in data banks managed by a third party and have them accessible instantly from any device, be it mobile, laptop or desktop, via a web browser. This is achieved through SaaS, a software licencing model that delivers applications to users, accessible via the internet (wifi or cellular data) without your company needing to purchase, manage or upgrade the software yourself. Licensing is commonly tiered to suit businesses of all sizes, whether small, medium, or large enterprise, with pricing set at the level required by your business.
Cloud-based applications and data storage delivered through SaaS are ideal for companies that want to streamline accessing and storage of their data. This provides greater flexibility for your business, particularly if you have remote workers or employees on the road such as salespeople or technicians.
Files can be stored in Microsoft SharePoint, OneDrive, Dropbox, Google Drive, or iCloud, and accessed from your phone or laptop via your internet connection or data. For added security, businesses can use a VPN – a virtual private network – to access cloud-based company data, to make public and home connections more secure.
Performance and reliability boosts for your business
Another key benefit of the cloud is having your computing services managed by a third party. This allows for greater performance and speed of service and access for your business. The main cloud computing services are run by a global network of data centres that are managed securely and robustly to ensure continuity of service as well as the greatest possible efficiency. Because of this, the services you access will be faster, as their resources can be provisioned quickly in response to greater demand and capacity requirements.
Data backups, disaster recovery and security of business data stored via the cloud are managed by your cloud computing provider. Cloud data centres have built-in data redundancy, with data mirrored across multiple sites on the network. This gives you the assurance that your valuable and vital business data is secure, backed up and available when you need it. Each cloud provider has data policies and controls in place to protect your data however, as with anything, it’s important to do your due diligence when selecting a cloud computing provider, to ensure you are getting the service, performance, reliability and security your business needs.
Setting up cloud computing for your business
One final key benefit of the cloud is the flexibility to deploy it to suit your business. There are three types of cloud service deployment options that you can consider:
- Private cloud service deployment – cloud services used solely for your private business use, located either on-premise or hosted by a cloud provider
- Public cloud service deployment – cloud services operated by cloud providers that anyone can use, such as AWS or Azure, via a browser
- Hybrid cloud service deployment – a combination of private and public cloud services, with sharing of data between them
It’s important to consider all the factors when planning to move your business to a cloud computing model, including what the specific benefits of the cloud will be for your business. There are deployment options, data access and storage requirements and business scale considerations to factor in, and talking to a cloud technology expert like SouthEast IT will ensure you’re making the best choice for your business.
Considering moving to the cloud, or want a review of your existing cloud services?
Southeast IT has significant experience in advising, setting up and managing business cloud technology. Call us today on 9111 1740 to find out more about which cloud-based models will be suitable for your business, and the cost savings, improved flexibility, and performance increases you can enjoy. We’re here to help.