More and more businesses are moving their computing to the cloud. The term ‘cloud’ can mean many things to many people. Simply put, cloud computing is the delivery of computing services – servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics and more – over the Internet (“the cloud”). Often these services are deployed on a consumption model, meaning you only pay for what you use, much like utilities such as electricity or water.
There are many forms of cloud and all usually have the suffix aaS or as-a-Service; the three main ones being IaaS (Infrastructure), PaaS (Platform) and SaaS (Software). IaaS is the most flexible cloud computing model and allows for automated deployment of servers, processing power, storage, and networking.
PaaS services typically provide a platform on which software can be developed and deployed, thereby giving clients an environment in which the operating system and server software, as well as the underlying server hardware and network infrastructure, are taken care of. SaaS is probably the most popular cloud option for small businesses where clients, in this case usually web browsers, provide the point of access to software running on servers.
It’s your choice
You can choose any of these options for your business, depending on your needs. Nevertheless, if you are still unsure about cloud computing, here are the top reasons to consider making the move.
The cloud enables you to take control of your IT and data in a way that is sustainable financially. Consider the upfront cost of an on-premises option of a data compliant server to suit 15 users over 60 months. With operating system, email, Microsoft Office, power/cooling, warranty and installation, it comes in at around £16,500. In addition, you need to hire technicians to help you choose and install the right equipment. With a cloud-based solution, the fee is around £16.00 per month per employee and is scalable over time as your business grows.
Since the cloud is a scalable solution, you can pay as you grow. Technologically speaking, the cloud is inherently flexible, always up to date and will meet changing needs as your business expands.
Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) cite security as their biggest concern over the cloud. As a completely integrated platform, Microsoft 365 incorporates five layers of security with built-in privacy and compliance tools to safeguard businesses from external threats. This is coupled with proactive monitoring in real time to ensure the highest level of protection – further reassurance for businesses with the least tech savvy employees.
Malware and ransomware are typically transmitted by sharing emails or clicking unsafe web links. To prevent this, email can be configured to limit replies to the sender and prohibit message forwarding. Attachments are scanned in real time to detect malware and prevent navigation to unsafe websites, and, as you would expect, anti-spam and anti-malware protection are included as standard.
Data security is not compromised by remote working. Microsoft 365 protocols protect data on mobile devices preventing access by unauthorised individuals. If an employee leaves or a device is stolen, data can be wiped to maintain business resilience.
If you move to the cloud you will be relying on the infrastructure of a supplier like Microsoft, which boasts uptime of 99.999% supported by a financially backed service level agreement. Can your server claim that level of reliability?
The cloud is location independent so the experience is the same the world over. One of the major benefits of cloud computing is mobility. The service gives you and your employees the flexibility to work from any location. Employees can complete their tasks at home or from the field. You can reduce the number of workstations in your office and allow some employees to work from home to save costs further. Working via the cloud means your business is not constrained by geography; employees don’t have to work from an office in a particular city, so you can recruit the best talent wherever they live.
6. Collaborative working
Cloud computing helps business owners to boost team performance by allowing people to work from literally anywhere where there is an internet connection, share data and collaborate on projects. People in different locations can simultaneously edit and share documents in real time. Field workers can upload real time data and updates with those in the office, and reduce the need for repetitive tasks such as data re-entry. And with Microsoft Teams included in the IT solution, you can message customers and effortlessly engage in video conferencing whenever it suits you.
Once you’ve decided it’s time to give up working around the restrictions of outdated IT that makes too many demands on your time, you can say yes to the benefits of cloud computing to grow your business. The seamless route is to trust the switch from server to cloud to the experts. Partnering with a managed service provider (MSP) who knows the cloud inside-out is the hassle-free way to a high-performing IT system that capitalises on the latest technological advances.