An increasing number of businesses operate using data and apps stored in the cloud. This is not without reason. In today's globalised business landscape, tying your data to a single physical location can hold you back. In this sense, the importance of cloud computing lies with its flexible access.
In Australia, business owners are hiring out-of-country employees more than ever, this includes both foreigners and Aussies living overseas. The reasons why are complex and would need a whole other article to discuss. For our purposes, it’s important to realise that software stored on-site isn’t particularly economical if you have a primarily remote workforce. If you have any offshore workers, or may someday, the cloud is a wise investment.
If that’s not enough, Deloitte reports that cloud adoption by businesses in Australia has resulted in a cumulative productivity benefit of $9.4 billion over the last 5 years. Saving money on on-site equipment is one thing, but the cost savings from productivity take the benefits of the cloud to a whole new level.
Now that you understand why cloud computing is important, let’s take a look at how it works, why you might want to use it, and how to make it work for your business.
At its core, cloud computing is about storing and accessing data over the internet instead of your computer's hard drive. Although, you’ve probably already guessed that there’s a bit more to it than that. Basically, storing files on a cloud infrastructure works like this:
|“Cloud computing done correctly provides businesses with greater flexibility, capability and security. It’s simply not feasible to operate an SMB today without it.” - Nelson Sigar, Chief Operations Officer, Sensible Business Solutions|
What happens at steps 2 and 3 is the reason why the public cloud is generally more secure than storing your data on-site. Most local hard drives aren’t encrypted (unless you set them to be) and all the pieces of the file puzzle are always put together. If a hacker breaks into your network, it’s much easier for them to quickly read everything without those extra measures.
Cloud systems are also leaps and bounds ahead on local storage when it comes to authentication. While your local system may have a rudimentary firewall and basic policies, cloud environments are equipped with advanced technology and policies to help you detect and thwart a wider breadth of potential threats.
Higher security is absolutely part of the reason why so many companies are moving to the cloud. However, it’s one of a list of reasons why cloud solutions are ideal for most modern business owners. Here’s a few more:
Cloud infrastructure comes with advanced backup and recovery tools so you can enjoy near instant recovery in the event of a disaster. Days of recovery can be turned to minutes in some cases, which makes a huge difference in terms of business disruption.
As your business grows, your network can more easily grow with it. That’s because you can easily add more storage, processing power, or additional services as needed without having to buy any fancy new equipment to support it.
Cloud systems have also significantly better redundancy prevention than on-site equipment due to their scale and architecture. This way, you don’t have to worry so much about repetitive data as you expand your environment.
Instead of buying a bunch of expensive equipment, you pay only for what you use. This can have a big impact on your overall IT budget. Remember that on-site data centres cost more than their initial price tag. There’s also electricity for power and cooling, maintenance, and labour costs related to on-site data storage.
Cloud computing makes teamwork easy. All your employees can access and work on the same files and applications simultaneously, no matter where in the world they are. Better yet, file updates can be seen in real-time, reducing the chance of miscommunication.
Like anything else, what’s working for another business owner may or may not be the best choice for you. In fact, your company may not even be ready for cloud services at all. Don’t leap before you look when it comes to this. Step back and take the time to figure out how you can make cloud computing work for you before you hop on the bandwagon.
Here’s how to do that.
The reasons why people opt for cloud computing aren’t as straightforward as you might think. Everyone can reap the same benefits, but not everyone is trying to solve the same problem. A few examples of problems you might be trying to solve include:
As you can see, the reasons why people move to the cloud really are quite diverse. Different cloud computing services will be better than others at solving your specific problem. Zero-in on what your goals are and work from there. That will help you choose a better solution sooner.
|Dive Deeper Into Cloud Computing|
Alongside your goals, it’s also important to recognise what your business needs to operate. Finding a cloud solution that’s perfect for your goals is all for naught if you can’t implement it. Before you even start shopping, ask yourself:
Balance your answers to these questions with the goals you have in mind. That will prevent the painful situation of finding a great solution you can’t use.
Your needs and goals aren’t just to help you platform shop. You should also use them to formulate your ideal cloud strategy. This includes the migration, configuration, and management processes. It’s also not a bad idea to write down your cloud strategy once it’s established. This is mostly so no one on your team forgets what they need to and so you can have reference point on your cloud policies.
Many companies end up paying far more than they should when their licences aren't being effectively managed by their provider. Make sure your cloud provider can justify every licence they suggest. Otherwise, you might end up wasting a lot of money on unused functions.
If this is all new to you, feeling a bit overwhelmed is perfectly reasonable. There is a lot to take in after all. You’d probably benefit from seeking professional cloud consulting services to help you make sense of everything.
Yet, even with that you still have choices to consider based on your unique needs. Here is a quick overview of some of the cloud-based services out there and why you might want to go with each.
How It Works
When to Choose It
|Software-as-a-Service||The provider hosts, maintains, and updates your cloud software for you.||If you want to just use the software and let the provider take care of everything else.|
|Platform-as-a-Service||The provider offers a platform where you can develop and run your own software.||If you want to develop your own software but don't want to worry about managing the underlying systems.|
|Infrastructure-as-a-Service||The provider supplies the basic building blocks like storage and servers. You decide how to use them.||If you want to decide how to use your cloud resources, but don't want to maintain the hardware.|
If we’ve convinced you to get started, or you just want to leverage your cloud better, Sensible Business Solutions can be your partner. We have extensive experience with both cloud migration and optimisation projects. Plus, our unique focus on business solutions helps us enhance your cloud in practical ways that truly make business sense.
Alongside cloud services, we also provide:
If you have any interest at all, please reach out.