Because of technology the business world has rapidly evolved, but traditionally a company’s backbone has long remained the same. Advances and changes manifested around products, research and development, and marketing, rather than core business process. However, as the world becomes more reliant on technology as a whole and fast fiber networks (such as these) in particular, this is changing dramatically…
Businesses worldwide are spending billions to change the way they work, moving entire infrastructures online. Whereas previously companies ran applications or programs from software downloaded onto a physical computer or server in their building, cloud computing and mobile technologies have allowed access to the same applications or programs through the Internet. Private, public and hybrid cloud solutions are growing in popularity, particularly for SMEs, in fact CRN estimates that SME’s will spend close to $100bn on cloud computing services by 2014.
In a challenging economic climate, businesses need the capacity to be both flexible and competitive, and for many that comes down to their IT infrastructure. Seemingly simple functionality, like on-the-road access to edit and save documents on the go, could mean the difference between success and failure when closing business deals.
Responsive IT Infrastructure
The ability to rapidly respond to changes in demand, economy and customer needs have been spotlighted throughout the global financial crisis. There are many examples of businesses that have failed to respond to the shift online and as such have become casualties of the recession. This highlights the need for an adaptable structure, one that will not only bend with how the company itself works but also with other shifts in the industry and the wider economy.
Cloud computing is the ideal solution to provide this flexibility. Once all information has been moved to the cloud, a company is free to access it from anywhere, provided there is an Internet connection. This is essential for SME’s who have staff working remotely as it allows businesses to grow with regard to flexi-time management and telecommuting. Essentially, staff are free to work whenever, whenever you choose with accountable monitoring and without having to go through the administrative bottlenecks of setting up VPNs.
Expanding small businesses can find the cost of relocation prohibitive too. Along with all the other costs, the need to move or change servers, plus the added floor space required to house them, is a big expense. Couple that with an almost guaranteed need for some downtime to facilitate the move and the costs skyrocket. Cloud computing takes away the need for physical server space. Data is hosted remotely via the cloud infrastructure, instantly reducing the cost and hassle involved in office moves and therefore allowing businesses to be more flexible. It also means a company can easily setup multiple offices in different locations, all working quickly and securely from the same server.
Dynamic, Secure, Scalable
While business forecasting is great in the long term, companies, in particular those working primarily online, can experience sudden and unexpected increases in demand. To combat this, cloud hosting offers unrivalled security and scalability. Due to the vast capacity of remote cloud servers, the instant a company needs more bandwidth, a cloud-based service can immediately meet demand. In fact, InformationWeek recently found that for 65% of businesses this was one of the top reasons for moving to the cloud.
Disaster recovery is greatly simplified with cloud-based services too. Providers can take care of most issues, and they tend to do so much faster, on average issues are resolved in 2.1 hours, nearly four times faster than businesses that don’t use the cloud. This is particularly beneficial for mission critical applications. The knowledge that those essential apps and programs can be restored in just a couple of hours is a solid argument for mission critical cloud usage.
By working on a monthly subscription fee, cloud computing services can save an average of between 20% and 40% of annual IT costs. The need for updates is also removed as it’s all carried out by the cloud host, reducing the workload of internal IT departments and making processes quicker as all machines work to the same versions.
All of this leads to agile, highly competitive business, providing owners and managers with the ability to focus on customer needs and processes. Working and strategy planning in order for them to offer the best experience and continue to expand operations smoothly, without fear of downtime or loss of revenue.