Cloud computing is here to stay in a very, very big way.
As surprising as this might sound to techies and Silicon Valley residents, the term ‘cloud computing’ still raises questions for many people.
As more and more businesses move online, whether it’s to launch a website, build a customer base, or create a collaborative platform for employees, so too grows the need for cloud computing services.
For this reason, and to help explain the many benefits cloud solutions can offer, I’m going to spot three frequently asked questions raised by our clients here at Webspace:
1. What is cloud computing, exactly?
2. How can it help my business?
3. How do I get started?
1. What is Cloud Computing?
Cloud computing has fundamentally shifted the way we think about traditional IT resources.
Without even realising it, you’re probably using cloud computing right now. If you use an online service to edit documents, send emails, watch video content, stream music, play games or store files, cloud computing is likely making it possible.
If your organisation runs one or multiple servers (or PCs) on-premises to support your IT systems, imagine cloud computing as instead using someone else’s server(s) via the internet to perform the same function.
To narrow it down, the cloud-for-business model generally falls into three categories:
1. Private cloud: dedicated servers for your business use only
2. Public cloud: a network of servers drawn from a shared pool of resources (physical servers or virtual servers)
3. Hybrid cloud: a combination of the two
Therefore a simple way to look at it is outsourcing your IT infrastructure (Infrastructure as a Service). The tools required to store, manage and process all that important information that drives your business.
2. How can cloud computing help your business?
There are several benefits to adopting a cloud-first strategy.
The primary benefit of cloud computing is that you can tap into a supply of computing resources at will, rather than invest in the physical hardware required to generate it yourself.
The cost model is consumption based, meaning you only ever pay for what you use. This then eliminates wastage/overspend and ensures that you have the right amount of computing resources readily available.
No upfront investment and operating cost of physical hardware (rental space, cooling, electricity, maintenance etc.), especially when hardware will likely be superseded very quickly, is an important advantage in today’s digital economy.
Speed and Scalability:
Example: If you’re an online retailer your business may experience peak periods of demand (Christmas, Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, etc.). To complement this, cloud technologies scale in a way that allows your online store to support sudden increases in traffic. This means your total IT spend grows when it’s required to work harder, then shrink when it’s not.
If you’re not an online retailer but your plan is to grow your business, simply provision more resources minus the investment in hardware. Or, if you’re a small-to-medium sized operator with no immediate plans to grow, outsource your IT services to focus more on what you enjoy; running your business.
More consumers in leading market economies are moving online to source goods and services year on year. Therefore businesses need an online strategy to compete in today’s constantly evolving digital economy.
Leading cloud technology companies – AWS, Google, Microsoft Azure – require a global presence to service their large customer base. Consequently, their integrated cloud platforms are built within regional bases of operation and across multiple availability zones (AZs). This guarantees little-to-no service failure while offering the lowest latency possible.
You can, therefore, bank on continuous, fast and uninterrupted delivery of services to your customers (and your business) around the world, all year round. Not only do your employees gain access to collaborate on projects from anywhere on the planet, you can also serve your customers from anywhere, anytime.
In addition, this makes data backup, disaster recovery, and security management much easier and less expensive. This is because data can be mirrored at multiple redundant sites on the cloud provider’s global network.
This is precisely how the world’s largest tech companies provide uninterrupted services to their billions of customers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
3. How can you get started in cloud computing?
To conclude, cloud computing reduces overall IT spend, time to scale IT resources, and risk of IT service failure. As a result, the cloud allows you to focus on your business more and ensure you’re agile enough to provide services your customers want, and your business needs, quickly and cheaply.
Business IT systems architected in the cloud makes it a lot simpler to leverage advanced web technologies. There are also many business tools that are built on the cloud which pay forward those benefits we have already discussed. Therefore, we recommend public cloud to our clients when developing a cloud-first IT strategy.
Examples of where your business can begin to develop a cloud-first strategy are:
1. Create new online apps and services
2. Store, back up and recover data
3. Host websites and blogs
4. Stream audio and video
5. Deliver software on demand
6. Analyse data for patterns and make predictions
7. Develop scalable mobile applications
Our goal at Webspace is to educate business owners and managers on the many advantages cloud technologies can offer. We, therefore, understand that the rapidly changing technology landscape broadens the knowledge gap between traditional business and IT departments.
This is where Webspace fills the gap. Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org, visit www.webspace.net.au or fill out the contact form below for a free consultation on how cloud computing can help your business better compete in today’s digital age.