The rise of cloud services has many business benefits, but what five cloud-related benefits could your organisation never do without?
Could you leave your smartphone at home for a week without telling people? Could you unplug from the world just like that? In some ways, cloud services are much like smartphones because we depend on them for our business. Many organisations would struggle to compete without them. Here are five things we couldn’t live without because of the cloud.
1. Online storage and backup
Remember when the entire workforce would come to IT’s door, wielding pitchforks and burning torches, demanding answers about server outages? Those requests are surely a thing of the past. Switching to cloud services does mean giving up a certain amount of control over your infrastructure, but IaaS also takes away the headache of losing everything.
Everyone’s work can now be synced with to-the-minute updates, so a drop in Wi-Fi or a computer crash isn’t the catastrophic event it used to be. Protecting against major disruption server outages is coming along quite nicely too. Netflix, for example, is proactive about preventing the problems the end user experiences during server outages. One way the video-streaming company does this is through “chaos engineering”, which injects controlled failure states into their servers and tests the servers’ ability to reroute traffic to unaffected servers in an attempt at predicting future server outages.
IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) is also extremely affordable these days, and pricing should crash even further with cut-price online retailer Amazon offering its pay-as-you-go pricing model.
2. Accounting software
Companies, such as Xero, Intuit and MYOB, have transformed computer accounting with their cloud software products. Small businesses couldn’t survive without these products, which simplify accounting tasks such as tax, compliance and payroll. Well, they could – but it would mean paying for more professional help. Further, the cloud ensures the software stays up to date with all the relevant changes to tax and compliance law, meaning you’re never out of date.
3. Connectivity and productivity
Now that employees are no longer tied to their Cat6 ports, IT professionals don’t have to pull their hair out trying to work out where to seat everyone and waste hours handling cable management. Cloud also enables employees to use software on multiple devices, or even bring their own device (BYOD) to work. This means staffers can work remotely or on the go. Businesses would hate to go back to a time without that across-the-board productivity.
4. More obvious ROI
No longer does a business have to spend $10,000 on a server rack and spend the rest of the financial year wondering if this thing will ever pay for itself. Most cloud services have a monthly subscription fee, allowing more accurate return on investment measurement. It might seem like the costs pile up with these subscription services, but you’re getting better value in the long run.
Any company can utilise the cloud to quickly scale its services up or down depending on the market. Just purchase a few more laptops, or take out a few more subscriptions, and the company can mobilise a whole new division. Conversely, the organisation can reduce its spend on storage and software to suit the slower working periods.
While the cloud does have some security concerns, it offers tremendous business benefits, such as reduced costs, increased productivity and connectivity. The old data centre in the office might be a thing of the past as more companies look to survive almost entirely off the cloud.