Cloud computing. You may have heard of the term; after all, it’s been making waves in corporate circles for some time now. Tech giants like Google, Facebook, and Amazon have led the way and embraced cloud technology with open arms -- and now they’re reaping the rewards of early adoption. However, some organizations, particularly small to mid-sized ones, are reluctant to take a leap forward due to a lack of understanding as to what the cloud is and how it works.
One common misconception that some business owners have about cloud computing is that it is simply a fancy way to store files online. While it is true that the cloud can be used as a storage for company files, there’s a lot more to its capabilities than meets the eye. In fact, you may already be using the cloud without realizing. For example, if your company uses Outlook or Gmail, it has already embraced the cloud. Your email account is accessed via the internet, not a local server -- meaning your emails and data are stored on the cloud.
So what does cloud computing actually mean, what can it do, and most importantly, how can it benefit your business? We have compiled some of the nitty-gritty details that will shed light on the cloud and help you determine whether it is right for your organization.
Understanding cloud computing
Rather than storing your data and applications on your computer’s hard drive, cloud computing stores them on servers in a remote, secure data center. This network of servers -- usually maintained by a cloud service provider -- uses computing power to store data, run applications, and deliver services via the internet. As a result, you can access your data from any web-enabled devices like smartphones, tablets, laptops, and desktop computers.
How it works
Say you just moved into a new city and decided to rent a full-service apartment instead of buying a home of your own. The room is yours to decorate and furnish the way you want it so long as you pay the landlord. The same thing applies to the cloud: your service provider owns the servers, and you lease them. The servers are yours to use, whether to back up data, host commercial software, or develop custom-built applications -- the list goes on. And when you need more storage space or capacity, you can increase them accordingly.
Why you should care about the cloud
Now that we’ve touched on the basics of cloud computing, let’s take a look at what your business stands to gain from this technology.
- More scalability - Cloud computing gives you the ability to expand or scale back resources at will. Say you have a new product idea and need to test it out. With the power of on-demand cloud resources, you can have new configurations up and running within minutes, as opposed to days or even weeks. Most cloud service providers will allow you to increase your resources to accommodate your changing needs, meaning you can tap into new opportunities with ease.
- Reduced costs - Let’s say your company is doing well and business volume is growing. You need to hire new sales reps to keep the momentum going. But then reality kicks in; there are all kinds of costs involved, including the purchase of software licenses your new sales team needs and the costs for managing and maintaining your servers. These expenses can add up over time and eat away at your budget. But you can avoid having to pay huge upfront costs by using cloud-based services on a monthly subscription basis.
- Mobile workforce - Your teams are no longer confined to their desktop or office. Cloud computing gives them the ability to work remotely and access company data from virtually anywhere with internet access. But the perks don’t stop there. Your employees will probably be more productive when they get to call their own shots and work where they choose.
- Data security - With data breaches regularly making headlines, protecting your data has never been more important. Cloud service providers offer the highest levels of security measures to stop malicious threats in their tracks before they have time to infect your data.
The bottom line
The flexibility of cloud technology is often touted as its greatest benefit, allowing you to save considerable amounts of time and money. With anywhere, anytime access to email and critical data, your employees are more productive and efficient, and your company is empowered to react more swiftly to change.
Of course, the decision to move your business resources to the cloud can be a challenging one. That’s what the team at Spectrumwise is here for. Contact us today for a free assessment of your readiness for the cloud.