Business heads to the cloud
According to the Cloud Industry Forum (CIF), the impact of cloud computing on business can no longer be ignored with nearly half (48%) of UK organisations now using some form of cloud computing. Other reports this year have also suggested that cloud computing is likely to be adopted by more and more companies, with business chiefs citing it as the top technology priority for 2011.
Interestingly the CIF research also revealed the main reason for using ‘the cloud’ is flexibility, particularly among smaller companies (those with fewer than 20 employees) with 63% of them citing it. According to the CIF, 94% of cloud users said they were satisfied with the technology and while 52% had yet to invest in it, all bar 2% of them had every intention of doing so.
What is cloud computing?
Cloud computing is basically a fundamental change in the way we use computing technology. Instead of having costly hardware and software on your premises, all your digital files, records, software and programmes are stored offsite with a cloud service provider and you access them via the internet. With broadband becoming ever faster, and data storage now available in terabytes, this provides the platform for software as a service (SaaS) and infrastructure as a service (IaaS). This means that you no longer have to buy software licences. You simply pay for storage and time, usually per user.
In practical terms, this translates into numerous benefits for SMEs:
Cloud computing can be a very cost effective option for SMEs. No capital outlay on hardware and software licences. This means that companies can be up and running with their business IT literally in minutes. Installing servers and other hardware can typically take weeks. For start-ups this is a significant benefit. For existing businesses, it takes away a lot of the headache that comes with continually having to upgrade hardware and software.
Cloud has great elasticity. As your company grows, cloud computing can grow with you. You can increase the number of users as required and you can increase storage capacity. Your cloud infrastructure also supports your company’s internal processes and procedures and IT networks.
Freedom and Flexibility
Access your data and software wherever you are. You can go on holiday or on a business trip and access your “office” from anywhere there is an internet connection – even if you are on the other side of the world! This applies to anyone in your team whether this is employees who want to work from home occasionally, remote workers or freelance staff. Having access to the company’s IT networks helps teambuilding and also helps you to manage the workflow of your teams.
A good cloud provider will look after your data security. You will no longer have to worry about backups or data loss. No more taking tapes off the business premises. No more worrying about whether you have backed up data. A good cloud provider will also ensure that your data is safe from cybercrime, hackers, and viruses, and will minimise spam to your email accounts.
What are the pitfalls?
Cloud computing sounds too good to be true, and it does offer many benefits for SMEs. But there are a number of key concerns. This is mainly down to finding the right cloud computing service for your business. No one size fits all and it is important to really understand what it is you are trying to achieve with your IT. It is worth spending time on either developing a new IT strategy or revising and upgrading your existing one.
Here are a few key questions you should ask?
How do I find a Reputable Cloud Provider? The market is already seeing an increase in cloud computing providers, from large brand names such as Google, to SME providers like Netmetix. You need to look for a provider that can fulfil the needs of your business. One that has a good reputation, a good track record, and one that is responsive when it comes to customer service. Ask how long they have been in business? And where possible find out about the level of service they have provided to their existing customers.
Where will our data be stored and how safe is it? Ensure that your provider has put measures in place to protect the cloud servers from fire, flood, and theft. Also make sure the back-up processes are rigorous. Check where your data will be backed up to and how often.
Technical support. You should receive a service level agreement (SLA) that sets out all the terms and conditions of your cloud computing service. Ask what the penalties are for downtime. Most cloud providers offer a guarantee that you will have access to your data and services at least 99% of the time. Ask how your provider will compensate you should they fail to provide this.
Netmetix is delighted to announce the launch of Cloudmetix, a complete IT infrastructure solution which provides everything you would expect to see in a Local Area Network (LAN), including software, storage, rigorous back-up and an extremely high level of anti-virus and IT security.
Underpinned by ten years solid experience of offering IT solutions to our clients, Cloudmetix is a robust system ideally suited for SMEs, giving the flexibility, freedom and scalability you need to grow with your business and to adapt to its changing needs.
As Microsoft IT Certified Partners we have the best technicians in the business, who have all gone through a rigorous training programme.
Taking the next step
There’s no doubt that the evidence is compelling – ‘The Cloud’ is here to stay and increasing in popularity as flexibility and efficiency become the main watchwords of businesses, irrespective of the sectors in which they operate. If you want to know more, then our sales team would be happy to have a no obligation discussion with you.
Alternatively, why not try cloud computing for yourself.
Cloudmetix 30 Day No Obligation Trial
If you are looking at moving to cloud computing why not try it first.
With Cloudmetix you can have a 30 day trial period with no obligation.
Simply call us today or email: Stephen.firstname.lastname@example.org