While adopting a cloud computing IT infrastructure can lead to many benefits for a business, there a number of considerations to be made before implementing a business wide cloud solution. Key considerations should include;
- ongoing and upfront costs of IT hardware
- necessity for a business to utilise data on the go or away from head office
- the sensitivity of data and the need to maintain a closed clouds
- requirements of end users such as customers and employees
Cloud computing is currently a popular service offering for many IT Support providers and there are many good reasons to consider cloud computing. However, without considering the above and many more facets of your business you may be implementing an IT solution that is not suitable for your business.
Business Benefits of Cloud Computing Overview
Generally cloud computing is lower cost to set-up, compared to a local server. However ongoing costs must also be considered. The benefit of ongoing payments is that technology redundancy is generally transferred to the cloud service provider. Payments for IT infrastructure are generally payable in monthly installments, improving month to month cash flow for the business. These payments may be beneficial when considering taxation and how IT costs are accounted for each financial year.
A cloud computing solution truly frees data from fixed positions such as a work desk. Data can be accessed 24 hours a day , 7 days a week, globally. It can be accessed from a variety of devices such as smart phones, tablets, laptops and desktop computers. This flexibility applies to many software programs, including word processing, email and file storage.
Closed cloud computing for data security
If data is highly sensitive, such as patent information or medical records a cloud computing solution can be established so that the cloud is closed – accessible only to selected users of a single enterprise. It is also important to note that the physical location of data centres can also impact the legislation that protects data- know where in the world your (and your customers) data is held.
Generally, if a business wishes to host its own IT software and hardware an analysis should be performed to identify how many users will be incorporated into the system. From here the business must implement a system that handles the maximum number of users. The issue for business is that the system will likely undergo periods of under utilisation during quiet periods, such as weekends/night time.
With a cloud system however, resources such as processing can be recruited via the cloud service provider, in live time, as resources are needed. The business benefit of cloud computing is that resources are never under utilised, rather the cloud service provider will allocate them in real time to ensure optimum utilisation during both quiet and peak periods.
Software is constantly updated
As the end user of software, some businesses tend to underestimate the importance of software management. Something as simple as a Windows update can increase performance, reduce security risks and simplify processes. Unfortunately updates can be neglected or be seen as unnecessary. The business benefit of cloud computing is that these updates occur automatically, without input from the business. Much like ensuring optimum hardware utilisation, optimum software management is achieved, improving a business’s IT solution.
Lower cost computers
Because resources such as processing and storage are managed by the cloud provider, businesses do not need to invest as much money into high performing computer equipment. The primary requirements for a cloud solution based PC are effectively an internet connection and a monitor.
One of the biggest cloud computing business benefits is the ease in which a business can expand its user numbers. With a traditional hosting solution business IT has a maximum capacity. To increase the user numbers additional capital must be invested into IT infrastructure, either to upgrade or replace the current system. With a cloud solution, an additional user can generally be added within 24 hours and with very little comparable cost. The dynamic nature of a cloud solution also means that users can be easily removed or replaced in the event of a business downsizing its operations or reducing the number of users.
Requirements for end user
Finally, the implementation of a cloud computing solution must meet the needs of the end user. While there are many benefits to implementing a cloud computing solution, there will be times when alternate IT infrastructure would be more beneficial and should be explored. Speed and connectivity issues can generally be addressed, however a cloud solutions biggest issue is its ability (or inability) to access data in the event of an an internet disconnection.
Overall there are a many benefits for implementing a cloud computing solution, however there are a multitude of considerations to be assessed before a business implements a solution.
Cloud computing business benefits
The primary, non-financial, cloud computing business benefits include maximum utilisation of IT resources, up to date software and hardware and the easy expansion or reduction of a business IT needs.
If you would like to know more about how cloud computing can benefit your business check out our Cloud Computing page for more.
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