Many companies and organisations are shifting some or all of their IT to the cloud, and they’re not all giant corporations either. Companies small and large, and especially those just starting up, stand to reap big rewards from the many services offered by cloud computing — the general term for datacentres containing tens of thousands of servers.
So what are the benefits of cloud computing for firms? Here are the top five.
1. Reduced Costs
IT is vital in the business world for everything from email, operating systems, apps and programs to the virtual, always-on presence that is your website. But buying all the hardware and software and then setting up and running an IT system — as well as constantly maintaining it — is expensive. It’s also worth taking into account the high costs of IT staff salaries and the fact that tech becomes redundant so quickly and has to be continually upgraded. Much or all of this high expense can be slashed in an instant by using cloud computing services instead. Now, you use their hardware and software and just pay a relatively small fee, allowing you to use the freed-up funds in other areas of your business to propel it forward.
Another of the main advantages of cloud computing — and many companies avail of IT support in London and other places to help them make the transition so that it’s seamless — is the flexibility it provides. In a world where more people than ever are working remotely from their homes — whether full-time or for several days a week — being able to access and use all the apps and programs you need to get your work done is invaluable. That’s not usually possible if all the IT is in the office, but with everything in the cloud, all you need is an internet connection and you can connect to your files, databases and apps and collaborate with colleagues in real-time wherever you and they happen to be in the world.
Expanding a business as it grows is also another costly proposition — lots of capital is required in lots of departments to add more capacity so that you can take on more clients and see your revenue grow. One of those is the IT department: how can you source, buy and install new servers and storage? How much will it cost, and how long will it take — weeks or months? These growth concerns are eliminated with cloud computing because, when you need more IT capacity — or even less — it’s there and waiting for you with very little financial outlay. Now, you can process more, store more and take on those clients you so desperately need.
4. Continual Upgrades and Updates
There’s no need to worry about updating your software or upgrading your IT hardware when you’re operating from the cloud because it’s all done for you — another financial and time-consuming headache gotten rid of. Cloud computing services such as Microsoft’s Azure use the latest in hardware and software and are continually upgrading it so that their clients benefit from the latest computing innovations and developments.
Having an in-house IT network carries a substantial security risk, as there are many ways that hackers can gain entry and steal your precious data and then likely hold you to ransom to get it back — unless they sell it on elsewhere or release it into the public domain. When cyberattacks happen — an almost daily occurrence for companies small and large — firms can find it hard to fully recover their reputation, and they may have to pay large fines for failing to protect customers’ personal data. Cloud computing services typically have security measures — everything from unbreachable firewalls to high-level encryption and more — that are way more robust than an average company could afford to have in place, with many employing thousands of security experts to maintain the integrity of their servers and keep cyber criminals out.