5 Ways the Cloud Can Help Your Business

 Cloud Computing, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), or simply “the cloud” are all terms you may be hearing creep into tech-lingo at your place of business. Perhaps you’ve even heard the terms used by your I.T. provider, but what does it really mean to put your technology “in the cloud” and is it the right choice for you? In this article, we will look at 5 important ways the cloud can help your business by reducing the total cost of ownership and providing an excellent return on investment.
Simply put, “moving to the cloud” describes the process of taking resources that are normally delivered locally, placing them in a shared environment, and then accessing those resources through an Internet connection. For example, small businesses have traditionally utilized on-premise email servers running Exchange to handle their messaging needs. In a cloud environment, that Exchange server would be hosted in a large, redundant data center and users would connect to the data center as opposed to their local office.
While the cloud isn’t for everyone and every service, there are a lot of benefits to cloud-based products. We will concentrate on the 5 most common reasons we see for small businesses to make the move.

1. Shared resources means shared costs

When a small business has an application or files they need to share, they traditionally invest in a server that is housed inside their office. Whether this server runs Quickbooks, Exchange, or simply handles file shares, it is a necessity for your users. Taking the duties traditionally performed by this server and moving them to cloud means that when the hardware dedicated for your tasks is being underutilized, someone else can use those resources and pick up the tab.
Cloud computing in this respect is similar to shared office space. A small business may find that it is much more cost effective to purchase office space than to buy an entire building. When you have your own IT equipment, it can sometimes be like owning a building: You are responsible for maintenance, upkeep, and expansion. But when you lease an office, you don’t need to worry about how you will get electricity or who will clean the bathrooms. You pay for only the office space you need.
Similarly, with a cloud service you pay for only the resources you use, sharing hardware with other cloud users. Instead of having an underutilized server sitting in your office, using only a fraction of its processing power, you leverage the cloud to provide the same performance at a reduced cost.

2. Enterprise-Class reliability for everyone

Cloud providers such as Amazon and Rackspace are pros at providing highly reliable services. If you have an on-premise server and suffer from a power outtage or natural disaster, what happens to your productivity on that system? We’ll bet it goes pretty much to zero as most small  businesses don’t have the resources to provide a high-uptime, such as backup generators and disaster recovery sites. Remember that office building you own? You’ll need to build emergency exits and a sprinkler system if you want to protect it and its inhabitants. But you don’t need to worry about that if you leased the office space. Similarly, with a cloud-hosted service that duty gets put on someone else and you pay only for your small portion.

Cloud providers often spread services between multiple locations
Typically, cloud providers offer 99.9% or better up-time, much higher than what can typically be accomplished with on-premise equipment.

3. Scalable services that grow with your business

You’ve been there before: It feels like you just purchased that new piece of hardware and someone is already telling you it is outdated and time to upgrade. Now you are faced with the expenses associated with that upgrade, such as new hardware, labor to migrate your services, and less tangible costs such as down-time during a migration.
With cloud services, these costs are minimal. Resources such as storage space can be expanded on the fly, with little to no downtime. Your I.T. infrastructure can literally go from a single cloud server to 50 in a matter of minutes, given the right provider.

4. Accessible from anywhere

You may find that more often than not, your users are tied to the office. Whether it’s to access a file, an application, or even an email, sometimes you just need a direct connection to your equipment. With a cloud-based infrastructure and web services, many of those applications and files can be available to your workforce no matter where they are located.

5. Simplify backup and disaster recovery planning

Does your company currently have a backup plan? Maybe, but are you prepared to handle a major disaster such as a fire or flood? The benefits of hosting services in a data center really start to shine when you consider that, depending on the service, most backup and recovery tasks are handled by the service provider. For example, if you host your mail with a cloud provider like Microsoft, you can essentially wipe your hands of any backup tasks and rest assured that even during a disaster scenario your email will stay protected and available.

Learn More

At InfoTECH, we have been providing cloud-based services to small businesses for years. With partners like Microsoft, Google, Appriver, Rackspace, and Amazon we can tailor a solution to fit your businesss needs. Just give us a call at 337-896-3681 and ask to speak with one of our I.T. Specialist about your business needs!

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