Why are businesses moving to the cloud?
The shift to cloud computing has been nothing short of remarkable with more and more organisations moving to the cloud. According to Statista, firms now hold more than 50 percent of their data on third-party servers, an incredible statistic given that it was just 30 percent in 2015.
But what’s driving this shift, though? Why is cloud usage growing so dramatically? And what are the drawbacks? Let’s take a look.
The benefits of moving to the cloud
The benefits of moving to the cloud are tremendous.
Perhaps the biggest economic driver of cloud adoption is reduced costs. It’s often just so much cheaper than using traditional in-house services.
There are four main reasons for this:
- Economies of scale – it’s cheaper for cloud computing companies to make efficiency improvements because they have so many servers in comparison to a single business.
- Greater utilisation rates – most cloud service providers are running at between 30 and 40 percent (not the usual 10 to 15 percent of regular in-house systems).
- Greater flexibility, particularly when installing and updating new software.
- Reduced management and organisational costs of making IT network changes as these are spread across many customers not just one.
Firms are also switching to the cloud because of improved support. They want to have people on the phone immediately who can help them resolve technical issues, without having to wait for engineers to travel to them and fix problems. Most cloud service providers give customers the ability to file tickets with them and get quick responses often more or less instantly and certainly within an hour or two.
The cloud is also scalable. It’s easy to add new accounts or storage space because the physical capacity to do so already exists in a large server farm. It’s also easy to go the other way and reduce the number of licenses needed and keep costs closely aligned to your needs.
Then there are the access benefits. Employees can get into their accounts no matter where they are in the world, so long as they have an internet connection. They don’t have to go into the office and sign in via a legacy portal.
Lastly, the cloud facilitates real-time collaboration. Staff can log and work on projects together in real-time, including spreadsheets, documents and even building designs. More and more applications are being developed that enhance the way dispersed teams worth together.
The downsides of using the cloud
Unfortunately, there are some disadvantages of using the cloud. These include:
- Losing the ability to fully control your data as at some point you are storing it with another company (the cloud provider).
- Vulnerabilities in shared environments, particularly if people connect using their private devices remotely. You will need to have control over a wider range of devices and ways that people access the data.
- The need to protect yourself against poorly designed or insecure APIs and user interfaces.
What a good cloud IT provider should offer
There is considerable variation in the quality of cloud IT service providers. A good one should offer the following:
- A consultative approach to tailor the cloud infrastructure closely to your business needs rather than taking a “one size fits all approach”
- Certifications and standards confirming their expertise with a wide range of software and hardware providers
- Support for migration from legacy systems over to the cloud
- Service level agreements (SLAs), spelling out precisely what they will offer you
- Good reliability and performance
- A backup strategy to protect your data in all circumstances
- Growth and future planning to ensure your systems track your development
We have a wide range of clients of all shapes and sizes and would welcome the opportunity to discuss your cloud plans with you. If you are completely new to cloud computing, then we can talk you through the main benefits for your organisation. Please give us a call or drop us a line.