Whether to improve mobility, increase agility or yield greater efficiency, cloud technologies come in all shapes and sizes for SMBs to use for their hardware and software needs. Here's a look at five benefits that your business can gain with the help of cloud technology.
- Reduce your risk and increase productivity
When a business uses cloud computing to power its server operations, it is gaining access to a network of systems with far more reliability than anything operated out of an office or IT department. Some of the largest cloud providers, including Amazon, Microsoft and Google, measure downtime in minutes for their networks year-round. An always-online, always-available cloud also means your employees can always access their files no matter where they are in the world, improving accessibility and productivity.
- Use the cloud to stop worrying about hardware
With a cloud environment, you don't have to buy server hardware ever again. A unique offering from public cloud systems is the ability to purchase computing power that is virtualised rather than a physical piece of equipment that may eventually fail, need upgrades or incur additional costs. The cloud simply allocates the equipment you need or offers computing power based on current system needs. This configuration is also scalable no matter how fast your business grows and often requires little to no downtime to update systems or install new equipment, as seen with Google, Amazon and other major cloud service providers.
- Backups and support are a breeze
The cloud offers a consistent, straightforward environment for backups and customer support. Backups are easier since a cloud environment is already off-site to satisfy the IT need for improved security. Furthermore, backups are handled through a virtualised environment, which can be copied into images or accessed without manually moving equipment or travelling to data centre sites. Getting support is also quicker since you don't depend on custom hardware with specific compatibility needs and can utilise the support networks offered by public cloud communities all over the world.
- A greener and more efficient platform
The cloud is a greener and more efficient way to compute. Many cloud platforms allow you to pay just for the computing power you use, saving on hardware costs for equipment that may only be used on occasion or when your servers are under high load. Most data centres are also designed with better energy efficiency than office servers. This, in combination with efficient hardware usage, can reduce an SMB's carbon footprint with little impact on server operations.
- A more agile and effective IT team
The last big benefit of using cloud technology is labour costs. While cloud platforms already provide efficient ways to acquire hardware for your server needs, few businesses think about the IT costs associated with a physical server configuration. Not only do your IT teams need to manually move hardware and visit data centre sites, but they also need to perform far more hardware maintenance and user support if issues arise. This can quickly add up in overtime costs if a specific piece of hardware is incompatible with a software update, for example. The cloud eliminates this by operating everything through virtualised components. If a piece of hardware fails, the system automatically adjusts to prevent downtime and accounts for the issue.
There are plenty of benefits your SMB can discover through a cloud platform. However, like any big business decision, it comes down to finding the right fit for your business needs to give it the best chance at success. Keep this in mind as you consider how to manage your software and server needs.