Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Cloud Computing – important points to consider

According to CIF's estimates, 75% of UK companies will be using at least one cloud service by the end of the year. The adaptation of your business to cloud computing is easier and more beneficial than you would first think. Via cloud technology, your business can save on IT costs, increase market share and avoid the setbacks of an on-premise IT infrastructure, such as the need for regular renewal.  

Fasthosts' guide to switching and using the cloud lists the following noteworthy points:

  • Know where you are – It is always important to evaluate your business’ current IT infrastructure. Once that’s been done, compare and contrast your current needs with your future requirements. Doing this will enable you to see clearly what is essential to stay on-site and what can go to the cloud.

  • Pick the “right” cloud – There are several types of cloud services (public, private, hybrid, on-premise, off-premise) and it is vital to pick the right one. However, if you have thoroughly considered step 1, this shouldn't be an issue.

  • Find a plan – By plan we mean your preference to pay. Cloud services are flexible, offering business to pay monthly, per licence, per user or simply by the amount of space they use. This does not only affect your direct costs, but in the long run, it has an effect on your indirect costs. Think about labour vs. productivity.

Now that you have put down the foundations of adapting to the cloud, it’s time to think about further points:

  • How can it make me work better? – Having an internet-enabled device (laptop, smart phone, or tablet) is all you need to access the cloud and everything on it. Now you and your colleagues are able to work from home or on-the-go and also connect with each other in real-time.

  • How secure is it? – First and foremost it is important to find a trusted provider and to ensure that data sovereignty remains under your control. If this is done, take a deep breath, your data is going to be safer than it would be on your internal servers. After all it is going to be protected with latest security measures and looked after 24/7 by IT professionals.  

  • Is the cloud environmentally friendly? – Switching from on-site servers and hardware to hosted services will significantly reduce your company’s carbon footprint. Apart from this, the switch will also result in decreased energy usage, saving on utility bills.

  • How is IT easier with the cloud? – Simplicity is, without doubt, one of the major advantages. There’s no need for visits from IT professionals to fix problems, there’s no need to worry about taking care of the physical hardware and there’s no need for manual updates, everything is done through the cloud.

  • What if something goes wrong? – Cloud computing offers simple and effective disaster recovery. Since cloud services back up data in real-time, there’s no need for back up processes on a regular basis. 

  • Does it really help to grow my business? – With the help of cloud services there are no more restrictions. You have 24/7 access to all your data, so you may work anytime, anywhere.

It is worthwhile to bear in mind that the aforementioned points constitute only a segment of Fasthosts’ Introduction to Cloud computing, for further information read the full version.

About the Author:       
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry.