By Michelle Stark, sales and marketing director of domain and server providers, Fasthosts.
Is your business on the cloud? We’re not referring to cloud nine here, we’re talking about cloud computing. In a nutshell, cloud computing is when computing services are delivered by non-localised networks via the internet, using cloud servers rather than on-site ones. That includes databases, software, storage, networking, analytics, and much more.
The collaborative aspect of cloud computing
One benefit that stands out from using cloud computing is its collaborative nature, which gives incredible flexibility to employees. And with a more globalised world, it allows companies to be more cohesive in projects. Being on the cloud ensures that data can be accessed securely from anywhere in the world, by anyone and at any time. This system enables users to not be restricted by geography or time zones, so there’s no frustrating access barriers. And when time is money, this is crucial. So whether you’re delivering educational courses, developing a new application, or accessing IT infrastructure from multiple locations, cloud computing is incredibly useful and offers so much flexibility in keeping business streamlined and cost-effective.
Cloud computing and scalability
This system certainly isn’t a static one; it has lots of expansive potential, and it’s so important to consider this when investing in new technologies. Cloud computing can work with your expansion in projects, upgrades, storage, applications etc., and it also allows you to customise set-ups – whether your servers are physical, virtual, or a mix of both. What makes cloud computing scalable also comes down to its multitude of uses. For example, the cloud can help with game servers, where cloud hosting can offer up powerful performance, with plenty of flexibility if you need to scale. Whether you need custom maps and mods, game servers let you play around. Cloud computing is also perfect for developing software that can be scaled as projects grow. As you develop, you can easily save snapshots and restore previous versions.
Security and reassurance
As a business owner, the last thing you want is any qualms on security, especially when it comes to data. One of the main drawbacks of physical servers is the unreliability of them during unforeseen disasters, like power outages and natural disasters. If a fire or flood tragically hits your business, your physical servers are under serious threat, not to mention, your costs in repairing and replacing them skyrocket. When a server is cloud-based, this concern vanishes. With a non-localised set-up, cloud computing can provide a more secure and reliable solution, with user and device authentication and robust anti-malware defences against cyber threats.
Cloud computing is just good business. With physical servers, a lot of power is needed, and they are susceptible to damage, which means there’s the financial burden of maintenance and repairs. When servers are in the cloud, all maintenance costs fall under the responsibility of the server provider, and the hardware is elsewhere.
The way in which cloud computing works is also kind of like a pay-as-you-go system. So businesses only pay for software that they are utilising, and if there’s any software that’s not working for the business, you can cancel when you need to. A lot of businesses therefore save money from the get-go with cloud solutions, when they can pay for what they need and be more precise with the pay model. If companies go down the route of in-house, then costs can rise through investing in hardware, software and in the upkeep. So if your capital is constrained, you may want to hop on the cloud.
As well as being more eco-friendly, cloud technology is a money and energy saver. With physical, internal servers, there’s a hell of a lot of energy and electricity that goes into keeping them and all the hardware powered up. Therefore, cloud computing provides more energy efficiency as it reduces your power usage, which obviously drives down those bills.
Productivity is increased
Not only do businesses save in hardware costs when switching to cloud solutions, but they also benefit from increased productivity. Cloud software is much faster to implement than the standard installation of hardware. We’re talking hours to get things set up with cloud computing as opposed to weeks or even months for company-wide installations. What does that mean? Your workforce isn’t waiting around too long; they can crack on and reap the benefits of a more streamlined system quickly.
Businesses using cloud computing
It’s worthwhile having a peek into some of the businesses that are on the cloud that are doing incredibly well on it. Global giants such as Netflix, Pinterest, eBay and Apple are all floating along happily. For instance, taking a look at Netflix, this company was grounded in a business subscription model, starting out as a DVD-rental service. How far this business has come. Flying high, it’s now producing its very own groundbreaking shows and films, with the power to even send 80s tunes back into the charts from its global hit Stranger Things. With a mighty log of accounts – hundreds of millions of global customers – this site and app needs a reliable computing system that can handle all that data, activity and hours and hours of streaming. That’s where cloud computing has helped massively, with Netflix being able to move all that data into the cloud, like a breeze.
So whether it’s huge-name companies or smaller enterprises, a whole host of businesses can reach cloud nine and save money with the emergence of new computing technologies that serve to make data handling, transfer and software development so much more efficient. It’s just a case of looking up cloud providers and finding the one that will serve your business just right.