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Accessed from the Cloud …. Running in the Cloud… Moving to the Cloud…. these days it seems like everything is happening ‘In the Cloud’ But what exactly does it all mean?
The easy answer; it’s somewhere at the other end of the internet – a place where you can access apps and services and where your data can be stored securely.
The cloud is a big deal and without it our lives would be very different. It has become so integral to our everyday lives that most of us are using it without even realising; without it there would be no Facebook, Twitter, Gmail or Spotify to name but a few.
Cloud has transformed the business landscape and the way we work today. Millions of business organisations around the world rely on cloud services for everything from document creation, central management systems, CRM, to Email, and it doesn’t require any effort on your part to maintain or manage it. Cloud computing offers businesses many benefits and it is a solution growing in popularity, especially among small to medium businesses and according to Salesforce this is reflected in computer hardware sales; in 2015 about 270 million desktop and laptop computers will be sold, compared to 325 million tablets and almost 2 billion smartphones.
There are many benefits to operating your business from Cloud based services and the main advantages are highlighted below;
• Reduced IT Costs:
Moving to cloud computing can reduce the cost of managing and maintaining your IT systems. Rather than purchasing expensive systems and equipment for your business, you can reduce costs by using cloud computing; there is no need for expensive new hardware/ software or system upgrades. Cloud computing can be instant and much faster to deploy; there are minimal start-up costs and predictable operating expenses.
Your business can scale up or down as required to suit your situation, allowing flexibility as your needs change. Rather than purchasing or installing expensive upgrades, your cloud service can handle this for you – freeing up your time to get on with the important stuff.
• Business Continuity:
Protecting your data is paramount especially when it comes to old historical records and this is an important part of business continuity planning. Whatever the crisis, having your data stored in the cloud ensures it is backed up and protected in a secure and safe location. Being able to access your data allows you to conduct business as usual, minimising any loss of productivity.
• Collaboration Efficiency:
One of the main benefits of cloud for your business is the ability to communicate and share more easily. All employees, across different locations can sync up and work online, simultaneously and receive any updates in real time.
Cloud allows employees to be more flexible in their work practices – you have the ability to access information from home, or if you really want, even when you are on holiday! Provided you have internet access employees can access data off-site, and connect to your office quickly and easily
• Automatic Updates:
Traditional set down servers require constant updating usually for a fee, however Cloud service providers will usually update regularly with the latest technology and system updates, sometimes without you even knowing it.
There is no doubt that new technology can revolutionise the way you run your business, but it is critical to make sure that the technology can help in achieving business goals. According to the UK Government off-the –shelf products from the Cloud can be up to 30% of the cost of bespoke solutions.
Migrating to Cloud computing allows you to optimise a limited workforce, limit internal and operational costs, boost productivity and efficient of work processes and stay profitable in today’s ever changing and competitive business landscape.