The trend is here: everything is going up into the cloud! But what exactly is The Cloud? Simply put, The Cloud, or cloud computing is the delivery of computing services (including servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics and intelligence) over the Internet. It offers faster innovation, flexible resources and economies of scale. Typically, you only pay for cloud services you use, helping you lower your operating costs, run your infrastructure more efficiently and scale as your business needs change.
Let’s look at the advantages, the disadvantages and how the team at G2IT can help you optimise your business operations with cloud computing.
1. Increased Productivity If your computing takes place in the cloud, your staff can use the internet to access the business systems they need when they are on the go, through laptop computers, tablets or smart phones. This is good news for any business with staff who work offsite, be it from home, with a customer, or in the field. The same benefits apply if your business is a link in a supply chain. You can communicate with others in that supply chain through common systems stored in the cloud.
2. Reduced Power Bills Even small companies can see big savings from removing their own servers from the office. Why pay to run a server 24 hours a day? That’s not to mention the green aspect: cloud providers typically use state-of-the-art cooling systems that are highly efficient, meaning you’ll reduce your company’s carbon footprint in the process.
3. No Upfront Investment In the past, you had to estimate how much server space your company would need and purchase hardware accordingly. You would also have to keep in mind future growth of your business. Most cloud providers, on the other hand, offer pay-as-you-go plans that allow your business to grow at its own speed, while only paying for the server space that you’re actually using. That means no upfront investment in costly hardware that you may not even fully utilise.
4. Automation Saves Time How many tasks do you complete at work each day that an assistant or even a computer could do for you? By storing information in a central location, the cloud opens up options for automation of regular tasks, from invoicing to payroll. The less time that you have to spend crunching numbers and carrying out tedious tasks, the more time you have to be creative and grow your company.
5. Liberation from the Office We’ve been able to email from anywhere in the world for quite some time, but since when could we work on a shared document in real time with an employee on another continent? Cloud technology tears down the office walls, freeing us to work from anywhere in the world.
6. Easy to Use Because cloud solutions are created with the user in mind, they are easy to learn and use. Most providers offer plain English tutorials or workshops in your area and can even arrange for in-house training.
1. Security and privacy Although reputable cloud service providers implement the best security standards and industry certifications, storing data and important files on external service providers always opens up security and privacy risks. Any discussion involving your data must address security and privacy, especially when it comes to managing sensitive data. Any cloud service provider is expected to manage and safeguard the underlying hardware infrastructure of a deployment. However, your responsibilities lie in the realm of user access management within your business, and it’s up to you to carefully weigh all the risk scenarios. Off-site backups and separation of services could be key to survival.
2. Compliance and legal risks Is your cloud service provider based in Australia? If not, you may face data security breaches. Consider the jurisdiction the contract is signed in and keep in mind that disputes may only able to be resolved through the US legal system.
3. Lack of control When you run your own systems, you are in full control over them. When you use a cloud provider, they are in control. You don’t own the systems and you have no guarantee that the functionality, prices or even the cloud service itself will be the same tomorrow as they are today. You should also consider data ownership. What happens with your data once you transfer it to the cloud?
4. Downtime Downtime is often cited as one of the biggest disadvantages of cloud computing. Since cloud computing systems are internet-based, service outages are always an unfortunate possibility and can occur for any reason. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee for a 100% uptime. Instead you should implement processes and procedures addressing the event of downtime.
5. Cost concerns Moving to the cloud is not always the most cost-effective solution. You certainly save on IT costs but pay-as-you-go cloud services can end up being higher than you expected. Opt for cloud solutions that have the option to scale down as well as up and make sure you use the math using cost calculators. Or simply ask the G2IT team for their professional advice.
Develop a business case and investigate if and when you would get a return on investment. If you are unsure and want expert advice, get in touch with our IT professionals.
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G2IT has partnered with Microsoft Cloud Services to become a Small and Midmarket Cloud Solutions provider. We specialise in connecting people with cloud services such as Microsoft Exchange, SharePoint, Dynamic 365, Teams, Yammer and Skype for Business. We develop custom solutions to meet your business needs. Microsoft Cloud Services are slowly becoming a worldwide standard when streamlining the internal process, creating workflows and data management.