Whether your IT infrastructure consists simply of a few desktop computers and a server to run applications, or hundreds of desktop computers, printers and software programs spread across several locations, on-site computer hardware represents a significant investment. Historically, having this hardware on-site has always been the only option available.
Today, there is an alternative solution, which has great potential to reduce the cost of on-site infrastructure. Cloud computing's biggest benefit is significantly reducing upfront, capital investments needed for technology infrastructure.
Traditional on-site technology, like computers, servers and software programs are purchased and installed with the IT department tasked with managing all facets of this infrastructure. And, if you have more than one location, the infrastructure would be required at each location to accomodate the work functions.
In addition to the initial investment, the life cycle of that equipment needs to be taken into consideration. With servers running 24/7, computers operating 8 hours a day, five days a week and printers running nonstop, the equipment will need to be replaced eventually.
Loss of Valuable Space
On-site infrastructure needs to sit somewhere, and the larger a company's operation is, the more space it needs for equipment. This is one of the often-overlooked costs of on-site computer hardware. There is a cost associated with the space and its inability to be used for other purposes.
Sky-High Energy Costs
With the amount of computers and support hardware plugged in at all times, companies are spending thousands of dollars a year on energy costs just to support on-site computer hardware. The average server alone costs roughly $731.94 in electricity charges, according to US Energy Information Administration figures from 2013. Servers, and other computer hardware, not only require energy, but also require cooling to ensure proper operation. The two costs combined make operating infrastructure a significant recurring expense.
As a company grows, so does the need for computers, devices, access to bandwidth and server space to support increased usage and demand. The cost of purchasing more equipment and additional software programs to support growth can be significant.
On the flip side, what happens when a company shrinks? Extra equipment sits unused, but continues to divert funds from other projects or profit margins to maintain each device.
Increased Pressure on the IT Department
Perhaps the most frustrating facet of on-site network and computer hardware is the responsibility placed on your IT department. Maintaining equipment requires the IT department to install new hardware when it is purchased and integrate it into an existing network, not to mention installing and updating any required programs to maintain usability.
On top of the initial work, the IT department spends additional time monitoring and removing viruses and malware, performing system upgrades and running backup programs to secure business data.
Cloud Computing Solves it All
Migrating some or all business functions to the cloud allows a company to cut the costs of on-site computer hardware significantly. Operating from the cloud transfers the cost of capital expenditures to your chosen cloud services provider. The equipment is their responsibility to purchase, maintain, monitor and secure.
When businesses need to expand or contract, adjusting the level of service is as simple as paying less in monthly fees for less bandwidth, smaller server space and fewer software licenses. Additionally, the cost of powering and cooling servers falls on the provider, lowering monthly utility expenses for a company and freeing up valuable space in the office.
Additionally, the IT department will function more smoothly when it isn't dealing entirely with the maintenance and management of on-site computer hardware. Consult with a Cloud Service Specialist to learn more about the benefits cloud computing can offer your organization.