According to the latest EU figures, more than 40% of UK businesses are now using cloud computing services – with more than 70% using the cloud for email, file storage and office-related software.
So, it’s here to stay – and for many businesses it’s delivering great results and benefits. But is it right for your business? To help you make that decision, let’s try and nail down the facts and the main advantages and disadvantages. First of all, let’s just define what we mean by cloud computing.
In a nutshell, cloud computing is the delivery of computing services – servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics, intelligence, telephony and more – over the Internet (the cloud).
Cost: No need for ongoing expenditure on hardware, software, onsite dedicated server rooms, or on associated running costs. Typically, you pay a fixed fee for what you use
Productivity: Your staff can access systems instantly from anywhere, making remote, flexible and collaborative working possible, as long as they have an internet connection, leading to an increase in overall productivity
Performance: Whether you’re growing or consolidating, cloud services enable you to be more dynamic because they are constantly updated, giving your employees the latest tools, technology, and protection, with the option to expand or reduce your computing requirements as required
Business continuity: Reputable cloud providers have exceptionally robust systems and processes which ensure a high level of uptime which leads to improved business continuity. Also, as cloud systems are not located at your business premises, and can be accessed from various locations, they can play a positive contribution to your business continuity plans
Downtime: With cloud computing systems only being accessible via the internet, any internet service outages will lead to downtime, potentially interrupting your ability to do business until the connection is restored
Security: Moving to the cloud means that your security – and that of your customers – is only as good as the security arrangements of your cloud service provider
Data compliance: GDPR regulations, as well as specific industry regulations, may mean that not all cloud service providers are appropriate. Always check where the data is stored and what data compliance commitments the provider gives to ensure you don’t breach regulations
Dependency: Outsourcing to the cloud can result in a dangerous dependency on third parties and loss of internal expertise. As a result, selecting your provider and considering your failover position is business critical
Hidden costs: Moving from one cloud platform to another can be difficult and potentially expensive, so, again, comprehensive due diligence is vital.
Of course, every business is different and the cloud isn’t right for everyone. It could be that using the cloud for some of your computing services, but not all, is what is best for your business. This is where the knowledge and advice from your IT provider is vital, especially because as your business develops, your needs will change.
At The PC Support Group we are big advocates of Office 365 and everything that comes with it, but there are other alternatives that may be better suited to your needs. So, if you have never used the cloud previously or would just appreciate a friendly chat about the best options for your business right now leave us a message here and we'll contact you back, call us on 03300 886 116 or you can email us on email@example.com