Cloud Computing, has been one of the most talked about trends in technology, and for very good reasons. Of all the recent innovations to help small businesses around the world, it has had the biggest effect in lowering the barriers to access IT infrastructure, and enabling companies to grow quickly, giving a direct financial result. Adopting cloud, or Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) in your small business can facilitate growth, scale and development or at least free up additional margin that you can invest elsewhere.
What is Cloud Computing (IAAS)?
The concept of cloud computing was first proposed in the 1960s, but it has been in the last 10 years that the technology has really taken off, particularly for small teams and businesses who want to be able to move and scale quickly.
The simplest explanation is that you no longer need to buy dedicated servers which may not be used to capacity. Instead you access shared resources and servers on demand as needed, to let you start as small as you wish, but to be able to quickly grow as needed. This also means technical manpower can be reduced, allowing businesses to work with ‘Two Pizza Teams’ – i.e. the 8-10 people who can be fed easily by two large pizzas. And that has powered many of the internet and mobile success stories of the last decade. Rather than infrastructure being a barrier to entry for small business, you can now directly benefit from the expertise and resources of leading cloud providers.
How your business can immediately benefit:
The main benefit of cloud computing is that you are paying for what you actually use, rather than investing in hardware, updates and maintenance on servers that you might never actually need except as a backup. Rather than buying servers at a time, you can buy data on a monthly, or even hourly basis. Not only can you increase capacity quickly if you ‘go viral’, but you can also scale it back if needed.
By working with a quality cloud provider you also reduce the need for in-house technical support, letting your team work on the products which make you money, and allowing the cloud server provider to use the expertise they’ve built up from working with large numbers of similar clients.
And you also remove the need to focus as much effort on security and compliance as providers will tailor their services to the laws and regulations for the country or territory they operate in. If you need more security beyond a layer of virtualisation, then there is the high security cloud option. This gives you entire dedicated host servers or even networks, but at a relatively low cost.
Finally there’s the flexibility access your files from anywhere via either FTP, or via an API, which allows your employees to work from any office, or increasingly from home. That means you can lower your staffing costs without restricting their capabilities.
Cloud computing is trusted and cost-effective:
Various governments around the world now make use of cloud servers, including all levels of the U.S Government, the UK Government, and even the U.S Military. And if you’ve used web-based email, music, or video, then you already have, too, along with most of your employees.
The savings can also be significant – a medium sizes IT business could save more than 50% of their server costs over the course of a year, in addition to get the benefits of flexibility, security, and expertise, meaning that the cloud can really make a small business fly!
About the Guest Post Author
Ben Jones is a budding tech writer, particularly interested in how technology can help small businesses. I’ve been assisting friends with businesses get setup to maximise their IT usage, and am looking to share my experiences as I go along.