Make It Easy To Work Anywhere And Anytime And Save Time On Admin With Cloud Computing

The “cloud” is a real 21st Century buzzword. Cloud computing is very exciting to some businesses but leaves others cold and fearful. Why is it that such an important technology causes such extreme reactions in people? Is the “Cloud” here to stay and how important is it in the lives of micro and small business owners all over the UK?

WHAT IS CLOUD COMPUTING AND WHY IS IT SCARY

Amazon Web Services defines cloud computing as the on-demand delivery of IT resources over the internet. This normally operates on a pay-as-you-go basis i.e. you pay for how much you consume. The most popular and accessible technology services on the Cloud are computing power, storage and databases. The Cloud user thus relies heavily on data centres and huge servers deploying IT resources somewhere remote.  In this situation the business owner can become a victim of hacking and witness unpredictable power outages and other failures or crashes which he/she is unable to influence. This is the first pillar of discontent among sceptics.

Some small businesses also maintain that it is quicker and cheaper to use one’s local storage than it is to use a wide-area network connection controlled by their Internet Service Providers (ISPs) or telecoms company. Micro and small businesses are worried that they might not have continued access to their data and other resources. The cost involved for bandwidth is also a very important issue: the pay-as-you-go system can be a double-edged sword.

COMMON BUSINESS USES OF CLOUD COMPUTING

Yet, with clever planning, cloud computing can benefit smaller organisations in various ways. Proper risk management regarding cyber threats (or internet-based threats) can help alleviate the fear of being hacked. In cases of power outages for data centres and servers, recovery doesn’t take long to happen. Customer service is always excellent in those situations. A proper IT strategy can also determine the bandwidth consumption.

As a business owner you and your team are probably already using some of the following:

  • Google Drive
  • Slack or Microsoft teams
  • Skype, Zoom or Google Hangout
  • A Chromebook
  • One Drive
  • Dropbox

These are all familiar examples of Cloud computing. Apps, media, and storage found on the internet are labelled as cloud-centric. One such cloud-centric device is the Chromebook, a laptop with just enough local storage and power to run Chrome OS (which turns the Google Chrome browser into an operating system). The beauty of it all is that almost everything you do is online on the Chromebook. It doesn’t have much local storage and is quite light, making it popular for education.

The Microsoft OneDrive uses a different approach to Cloud Computing: the local piece of software, Microsoft Office, found on the hard drive on your computer, uses a form of cloud computing for storage only. This is more a hybrid deployment of Cloud computing which proves to be very popular. Cloud-based resources and existing resources not based in the Cloud are connected for better performance and usability.

In the case of OneDrive and Dropbox files are synchronised. Your files exist online as a synchronised version of the local files on the hard drive on your computer. This is an important element of a backup service and offers peace of mind to the user as well as helping reduce admin time and labour on local backups. It is one of the reasons why Cloud Computing is well-liked.

Online networking, sharing of files and real-time communication among employees are other uses of Cloud computing e.g. Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox, Slack, Microsoft Teams, Skype, Zoom or Google Hangouts. Messaging each other is made easy.

The business owner is in possession of a cost-effective means of information exchange and communication with these Cloud-based applications.

CUSTOMISATION OR NOT WITH CLOUD COMPUTING

There are other myths regarding Cloud-based resources. Some say that there is not much flexibility with the Cloud-based applications. Others think that you need in-depth IT knowledge to use Cloud Computing. Some popular Cloud Computing models show a degree of flexibility regarding customisation whereas others do not require any in-depth IT knowledge.

  • Infrastructure as a Service, also known as IaaS, encourages a high level of customisation in managing your hardware and operating systems.
  • On the other hand, Platform as a Service, PaaS, helps you to be efficient as a modern business as you focus on the deployment and management of your applications only.
  • With Software as a Service, or SaaS, you do not have to worry about how the hardware, operating systems, and applications are managed. Focus is on the end-user. You should think only about the ways to use the piece of software. Examples of SaaS are: salesforce.com, Act.com or any web-based email service.
  • Desktop as a Service, or DaaS, offers you the possibility of having a desktop service without all the hassle in return for a fixed monthly fee. Business owners and staff can find this solution to be cost-effective and efficient.

ABILITY TO SCALE UP OR DOWN

Micro and small businesses have a lot to gain by using Cloud Computing. Not only is the Cloud easy to use, with the use of login details in some cases, with good anti-virus software protection and the right cyber security strategy, but its resources are also very scalable.

Amazon Web Services highlight four main advantages of using Cloud computing:

  • Agility – easy access to a broad range of technologies e.g. computing power, storage, databases, the Internet of Things, machine learning, and data analytics. Technology services can be deployed in a matter of minutes.
  • Elasticity – resources can be scaled up or down as the business grows or shrinks over time.
  • Cost savings – it is IT consumption-pay-as-you-go. Expenses become variable and are no longer capital expenses. This is better for smaller budgets.
  • Global deployment – you can expand your business globally with a few clicks.

Cloud Computing is here to stay. It allows you to work anywhere and anytime with an internet connection.

At Associate Planet, we can deploy the type of Cloud that suits you, your employees, clients and budgeting requirements. We are happy to have a no obligation discussion with you on how your business can become more efficient with the right Cloud computing services. Call Richard on +44 (0) 7831 196534 to find out the best working solution.

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