Cloud computing is becoming commonplace in offices as companies look to boost the productivity of employees, enhance their accessibility and create a mobile-friendly environment. For most businesses, the decision to migrate to the cloud is an easy one. For others, the benefits and drawbacks need to be closely considered before a decision is made.
The cloud can be so much more than just a place to store files. Storage is often the first need companies identify that brings them to cloud storage, but the additional benefits of cloud computing extend far beyond simply storing data.
The cloud is a way to store data and storing data is a central, fundamental function of computers and computing environments. When your organization considers a move to cloud computing, it's important to understand what the Cloud is and is not.
Cloud storage can save your business money, allow your business to run more efficiently, increase productivity and so much more. My goal in this blog is to explain the cloud and its benefits in the most simple and straightforward way. So, here's a look at the benefits of cloud computing:
If you’re looking to save on space around the office and more efficiently use the space you already have, cloud computing helps you reduce your physical footprint by freeing up valuable workspace that’s currently devoted to IT infrastructure. Rather than using an entire room to house servers and data centers, and clogging rooms and hallways with bulky cables, you can have a much smaller IT footprint with wireless devices and limited servers on your premises.
REDUCE CAPITAL INVESTMENTS
Cloud computing does not require large upfront investments of capital resources to purchase servers, install cables/cords or buy software licenses. You pay a monthly usage fee to your cloud provider, and they take care of the costs associated with purchasing, operating and maintaining the infrastructure that supports your cloud-based activities.
Plus, by storing all your data in the cloud, those physical servers aren’t needed anymore, and neither are the maintenance costs, staffing costs, replacement costs and infrastructure costs associated with them.
Physically backing up data can be expensive. There’s a cost for the hardware and software you use – and in the event of a disaster, there are the costs of data recovery. From the hardware investment to the personnel required to maintain the infrastructure, on-site storage costs add up.
With cloud computing, businesses benefit from a natural economy of scale. Your server space and costs can be shared with other cloud users, resulting in more efficient utilization of equipment and lower realized costs.
With the cloud, you pay for what you need, as you need it. Cloud storage reduces the need for extensive on-site infrastructure, eliminating much of that initial hardware investment. Rather than a capital expenditure, cloud services are a reoccurring monthly operational expense that’s easy to predict and budget.
By definition, the Cloud is accessed through the Internet, so all your files will be accessible from any location. For employees who work remotely, this access can be an important source of job satisfaction. It can also improve productivity.
Cloud computing protects your business from hardware failure to prevent file loss. The cloud is the ultimate backup system to prevent this kind of loss with multiple redundancies built into its data center.
Cloud computing also protects you from hackers and data breaches. With the cloud, you have outsourced this security to a team of professionals who stay up-to-date with all the complexities of an ever-changing threat environment.
For businesses with seasonal changes in demand or difficult industries that experience significant ebbs and flows, cloud computing offers flexibility that on-site hardware simply cannot match.
Instead of purchasing more servers, supporting more data storage and buying more software licenses to support growth in the business, you simply rent more storage space, acquire more bandwidth and increase access to software programs which are controlled by your cloud computing provider.
When seasonal dips in demand occur, you can decrease the services you no longer need, and reduce your overall expenses. As demand increases again or your organization grows, you can add access to accommodate more activity on your network and more employees working for the business.
For businesses that use a digital network, there will likely be a time when you'll need more bandwidth – and you'll need it fast. Whether it's because you are experiencing growth or have a temporary need for space or speed, a cloud environment can adjust quickly to meet your needs. A call or email to your cloud services provider is all it takes.
The cloud also provides the ability to work from anywhere, from any device, at any hour during the day. Employees today expect to always be connected – and the cloud makes that possible. So, whether your training team is out on location or your working parents need to stay home with sick kids, the cloud enables them to be productive in their downtime.
Improve RESOURCE ALLOCATION
The costs associated with an in-house network aren't limited to the physical hardware and software licenses alone. Your entire IT department has its focus pulled away on a daily basis maintaining servers, solving connectivity issues, monitoring the network for potential threats (malware, viruses, etc.) and upgrading software programs.
Rather than supporting all of that on-site equipment with a robust IT department, you can have a streamlined IT department that has the freedom to focus on strategic, core goals for the company. Meanwhile, your cloud services provider can be responsible for keeping your employees operating efficiently.
From application updates to server backup, many aspects of the cloud environment can be automated. This provides peace-of-mind and frees up any internal resources that had previously been performing these functions.
The cloud can keep your employees connected and productive, regardless of where they are working. The ability to communicate and share via the cloud can enhance the quality of work produced and decrease the amount of time it takes to complete projects. The cloud offers these collaboration benefits:
- Enhanced control over projects
- Ability to work on these projects from anywhere
- Coordinate and synchronize all work being completed
- Real time updates, which leads to enhanced productivity and improved timelines
- Better brainstorming and facilitated communication
Traditional collaboration often requires files to be emailed back and forth between employees. In that situation, only one employee can work at a time, and a file can end up with a number of different versions, formats, names and storage locations. Cloud computing simplifies and organizes group collaboration by allowing multiple employees to work from one centrally stored document.
While not every job lends itself to working from home, many office jobs have some component that could be done remotely – which employees appreciate. In fact, a Harvard study found that over 40% of people would give up a portion of their salary if they were offered the option to work from home. Cloud computing enables employees to work from home, without interrupting productivity. An employee can access their workstation remotely just as though they were sitting at their desk.
Reduce Energy Consumption
Last but not least, your carbon footprint can be greatly decreased by migrating to cloud computing. When you maintain large server banks on-site, you pay to keep those rooms cool and keep the servers from overheating.
The efficiency of cloud computing means more actual computing is done per kilowatt-hour of energy used, compared to onsite equipment. A study by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Northwestern University estimated that cloud computing could save 23 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity, enough to power all of Los Angeles for a year. Many companies find that they’re able to remove a portion of their local servers, save even more money on their energy bill and add "being green" to their list of differentiators.
Cloud computing enables businesses to put a much more efficient system in place to meet their needs and provide reliable connectivity. Remember that the way you store your data matters. The benefits provided by a cloud computing environment can be an important competitive advantage for businesses both small and large.
If enhanced collaboration, flexibility and productivity aren’t enough to convince you the cloud is right for your organization, then download our cloud capabilities eBook to learn more. It goes beyond end user and workplace benefits and dives into the technical and operational requirements and benefits.