Use of cloud-based IT services has exploded in recent years. Cloud computing is faster, more secure and more powerful than ever, making it suitable for all businesses, regardless of their size, industry or location.
Put simply, cloud computing involves accessing IT services on-demand over the internet. It could be a CRM platform such as Salesforce, accounting software such as Xero, or productivity tools such as Microsoft Office 365. All of these solutions do not require infrastructure or maintenance and can scale up or down as needed. The traditional alternative is to have programs running locally on computers and using a physical on-premise server stack to store shared data. This is often costly to implement and cumbersome to manage.
Cloud based office solutions have revolutionised the ways that we work and have helped to level the playing field for new, small and medium businesses in particular. The combination of this rapid adaption by organisations and improvements to cloud solution products has resulted in exciting changes for the business world.
Work from anywhere
Cloud computer involves delivering services over the internet, so that physical on-premise servers and equipment are not required. This means that teams can technically work from anywhere with an internet connection. More and more products also have a mobile application as well as a traditional desktop program which shows how conducive cloud computing is for a remote and mobile workforce.
Most cloud computing solutions work on a subscription basis and require no large upfront costs. Unlike a traditional business environment which requires capital for hardware and physical structures such as server stacks or filing cabinets, cloud-based IT solutions are managed as an ‘operational expense’ and a much smaller amount is needed. As this subscription is spread out over months, cloud computing is more inducive to a smaller business’ cash flow.
This model also allows for easy business scaling. As the business grows the number and size of subscriptions can increase as well. In some instances A.I. can be used to dynamically scale, allowing companies to only pay for what they need.
Web-based IT environments have transformed the way that businesses mange their disaster recovery. Key business applications can be stored and accessed securely from the cloud, an off-site location. This means that should a business premise become unreachable, data and systems can continue to be accessed and business can theoretically operate as usual. This quick data recovery helps to reduce business downtime and loss of revenue in case of emergency.
Moving all systems to an online environment means that it is easier for employees to work together and to manage version control. Instead of having individual files on separate devices, a cloud environment works as a shared environment where the same documents can be viewed and edited collaboratively by different people at once, wherever they are working from the office or remotely. Cloud IT systems also help to maintain a consistency of data as all files are stored in one central place and generally use the same file formats and conventions.
Cloud-based IT solutions can help business to innovate. Along with improved flexible work environments and low setup and maintenance costs, they can produce improved business analytics by collecting data from many sources including supply chain logistics, purchasing habits and user behaviours. For any business, big or small, that wants to accelerate their creativity and product innovation, a cloud environment is vital.
In summary, the agile nature of cloud computing means that the business world is changing. For large businesses, cloud computing is important for continued growth while the op-ex model and built in flexibility means that small and establishing businesses can quickly access tools and systems that allow them to be competitive in the market. All businesses can benefit from operating in a cloud-based IT environment and those that haven’t embraced the technology may soon find they get left behind.
If you’d like to find out how your business can benefit from cloud-based IT solutions, contact us at efex, an Australian-based provider of business technology.