With more and more SME enterprises – from sole traders to high tech companies with several employees – making cloud computing an integral part of their business operations, we take a look at why the cloud might be right for your organisation.
So what is the cloud?
Essentially the cloud is technology where your own computer becomes more like a terminal tapping into someone else’s computer, somewhere else.
Most of us already have experience of this – anyone using Facebook or LinkedIn for example has accessed someone’s data from their own computer using the internet – and therefore used cloud computing.
Other examples of cloud applications include ticket booking systems and online banking, which many people use in everyday life.
So how would a SME use the cloud?
The cloud is a network of servers, each with a different function. Some provide an online service, while others allow you to store and access data. Instead of the information being stored on the company’s hard drive, it’s on the cloud. All your business needs is an internet connection to access the data you’ve stored. It also means you can access that data from any location, not just the office.
Is that the only benefit?
Being able to access the cloud from any location has many benefits.
- Where organisations have a number of remote and mobile workers a key benefit is flexibility and efficiency. For instance, rather than emailing documents around and ensuring that everyone has the most up to date version, company policies and worksheets can be stored on in a single place on the cloud, and accessed from any location. This ability to communicate information effectively helps to maintains professionalism for those remote employees working with clients, and also helps productivity.
- For a small business, where space is at a premium, using the cloud means that instead having of on-site servers and IT infrastructure, the data and applications are delivered from a secure and cost-effective virtual space via the internet to computers and devices.
- As it is infinite in size, businesses can migrate as much or as little to the cloud – and never run out of storage space.
- As well as keeping overheads down, another benefit of using a good cloud provider is that software is regularly updated to the latest version, without you needing to think about it.
Should I move my business to the cloud?
Opting for cloud computing may seem like a big decision – sometimes it’s prompted by the need to buy or replace hardware, which may be a large capital outlay; or it may be that your business needs are growing but you don’t want to be locked into recruiting and managing an IT team.
Before you choose a provider consider the following:
- Think about the level of control you want over your data and its security, and choose a solution that meets your business’s needs. Not everything has to go on the cloud. You may wish to opt for a mixed model of cloud for sensitive things and localised computing for the day-to-day stuff.
- Your data might not be safe on the cloud if it’s not backed-up, so ask your cloud provider if they provide back-up services.
- Make sure your provider understands the Data Protection Act and is bound by it. Good UK providers will be, but be aware that laws are different in the USA for instance.
- Has your cloud provider got a contingency plan? What happens if they are acquired or worse, go bankrupt? Where’s your data then?
How Direct Voice and Data can help.
Direct Voice and Data offers a variety of cloud solutions including Microsoft Office 365, Cloud Storage.
Hosted Back-up and Hosted Anti-Virus. We always liaise closely with our clients to find the ideal solution for their companies’ requirements and budgets.
As well as cloud solutions, Direct Voice and Data offers a hybrid storage package, which provides storage on your premises with the option to migrate the data to the cloud at later date.
Remember – you get generally get what you pay for, particularly in terms of support, functionality, compatibility and customisation.
If you are considering moving to the cloud, talk to the team at Direct Voice and Data first.