Companies are increasingly moving to the cloud, with 95% now using at least one cloud-based service. Let’s look at three top benefits and how to gauge if it’s time for you to migrate.
- Is Cloud Worth it?
- Cloud Benefit: Peace of Mind
- Cloud Benefit: Scalability
- Cloud Benefit: Cost
- Is it Time to Migrate?
- The Question of Cloud
Is Cloud Worth it?
Did you ever get asked to an event related to cloud and felt unsure if it would be a waste of your time? It’s easy to see the cloud as irrelevant if you have your IT systems already established. The essential thing you need to understand is the extent to which cloud might benefit your business: will it be worth it?
You may ask your IT team what they think about cloud. Since cloud outsources some aspects of IT (such as maintenance of the equipment and software patching) to third parties, IT may feel threatened and advise you against it. Also remember that IT is vast, and it may not be your director’s area of expertise.
Cloud computing of course is not going to impact every business in the same way. While the technology gives a far greater advantage to some companies than others, the enormous strengths of this form of virtualization should not be overlooked. After all, if you thought cloud was all hype, statistics are proving cloud is the increasingly standard choice: 95% of respondents in the 2016 RightScale State of the Cloud Survey are now using cloud (up from 93% in 2015).
Cloud Benefit: Peace of Mind
Probably the top thing the cloud has going for it is that it removes worries related to losing data or having it stolen, explains James Meyer, who directs business development for the Lansing-based CPA firm Maner Costerisan. “Due to economies of scale,” he says, “the SSAE 16 certified data centers that your cloud applications are typically running in have redundant power, redundant internet connections, redundant backup systems, proven disaster recovery plans and extensive physical and electronic security systems.” Cloud hosting or SaaS companies also generally will have a number of people who specialize in infrastructure (in other words, setting up the physical systems that back your data and computing).
In other words, the cloud offers standardized protections that exceed what many businesses can easily achieve – in terms of backup and security, but also in terms of experts who monitor security and manage any emerging needs.
There’s also peace of mind in terms of the cloud’s simplicity. You can get a virtual private server in the cloud just like you would on an in-house server. There are even options for one-click Cloud Hosting of WordPress and other popular apps.
Cloud Benefit: Scalability
The cloud is designed for growth, but it’s also ready-made for peaks and valleys in activity, notes Meyer. “If, for example, your business is growing or if you have a seasonal business with peak times, you no longer have to worry about running out of computing power or capacity and having to quickly purchase a new server,” he says. By the same token, when you start doing less business, a cloud service will typically allow you to reduce your resources and spend less money.
Cloud Benefit: Cost
Being able to adjust your level of resources as needed over time means that generally your computing is more affordable. Plus, you can better predict what your costs will be throughout the year. You don’t have an unexpected and huge expense, such as a server going down and needing to get a new free-standing piece of hardware.
The cloud means that you can access your data remotely, through the web. Since the economy moves so fast in 2016, that’s a big benefit to your company.
Is it Time to Migrate?
Here are a few signs that it’s time for your business to move to the cloud:
- Sign: Your systems are aging, and you’re considering replacing them. “Rather than investing in more hardware,” says Meyer, “this might be the ideal time to get out of the IT business and move to the cloud.”
- Sign: Remote access is important to your organization. Employees can remotely connect to your systems, boosting productivity.
- Sign: You just opened your business. You have a shoe-string budget. Keep the money for marketing. There’s no big upfront expense with cloud. Everything is online faster.
- Sign: Your business is seasonal – meaning that you do the majority of your business over a certain three-month period, or two such periods. With cloud, when business fluctuates, you can adjust your limits to fit your real-time needs.
- Sign: You have had a bad experience with a huge and unexpected IT bill. “When you are in the cloud, you never have to worry about replacing servers,” notes Meyer. “Similarly, you don’t have to worry about expensive and disrupting upgrades to in-house application software.”
The Question of Cloud
Clearly there are good reasons to move to cloud computing. Perhaps you now have your systems running in-house and don’t want to make a seismic shift immediately. However, utilizing Cloud Server technology is the gameplan of successful businesses – and the advantages of cloud will become clearer all the time as the technology continues to evolve.