The cloud is becoming a critical part of the business world. If you’re a small or medium-sized business then the cloud offers you great opportunities in both technological and economic terms. However, although this is a widely accepted reality, the extent to which the cloud will become central to Commerce in the near future is not understood by all. If you fail to adopt the cloud then you run the risk of your business being left well and truly in the dust.
Here are eight reasons why.
Capital expenditure can always have a detrimental influence on business performance if it is not kept keenly under wraps. And in commercial terms, hardware doesn’t really retain its value particularly well. Servers and data storage equipment are well known for ageing quickly, and depreciating in value rapidly, when it comes to the time to buy new equipment.
Continual outlays on hardware in particular naturally have a detrimental effect on the cash flow of a business, and cloud computing can make a big and positive difference in this department.
There is no doubt that cloud computing delivers an extremely flexible business model. The cloud offers the opportunity for companies to quickly and efficiently improve the computational processing power inherent within their networks. Instead of shelling out on lots of expensive hardware, the cloud is a software-based solution to processing power, which can be beefed up very easily. In the fast-moving world of modern commerce this is essential.
The platform-as-a-service model via the cloud offers companies the opportunity to try all hardware and software over a short period of time, in order to test new applications, programs and services via the company network. Once a decision has been made about whether to adopt these services on a permanent basis, it is then possible to commercialise them by renting for a longer period of time. This is not an option possible with traditional computing.
In the ultra-competitive modern marketplace, no one wants to see their business go down for a significant period of time. Thus, business continuity is extremely important. The cloud really excels in this area, enabling businesses to back-up huge amounts of data in an extremely cost-effective and reliable fashion. Having data centres based at an off-site location makes business continuity a considerably more secure process, and tends to be significantly cheaper than traditional methods of data back-up.
The importance of mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, in contemporary business cannot be underestimated. Technologies such as Bring Your Own Device are ensuring that mobile devices are part of everyday business operations, and having computer technology which can easily facilitate such an approach is absolutely essential for the future.
It is much easier to send simple instructions from such gadgets to cloud-hosted business applications, and the cloud offers huge advantages in this area, particularly as more and more complex applications are run via mobile-based devices.
Once upon a time, there were many misgivings about the cloud being a security risk. However, these have long since gone out of the window, as it has been broadly acknowledged that cloud computing in fact assists with security.
Important tasks such as updating security software, installing the right firmware and upgrading physical security can in fact be both time consuming and expensive when it is carried out at external data centres. The cloud ensures that businesses can simply rely on cloud providers to carry out these onerous tasks instead. Getting a top class cloud security model is in fact not as expensive as many people think, and is often superior to the traditional alternative.
There is no doubt whatsoever that sharing important business data with clients, employees, suppliers, or indeed anyone that you need to share it with, becomes so much easier when the cloud is utilised. It is considerably more efficient than spending time distributing documents in different directions, and prevents a lot of confusion caused by this rather haphazard approach. Cloud computing is simply the best way to deal with data, and will unquestionably become a huge part of everyday business operations for this reason alone.
Finally, the cloud makes it possible to look at huge datasets; so-called Big Data. Collecting, collating, categorising and analysing the data is already becoming a significant application for many big businesses, and will increasingly in the future give small businesses a potential source of advantage over rivals. Not only does the cloud give businesses an edge in this area, it is in fact the only feasible way of dealing with the vast amount of information which Big Data represents. If you want to keep on top of data in this new epoch of the information age, the cloud is your only viable option.
So for all of these reasons, the cloud is becoming a central part of modern business. If you’re not willing to adopt the cloud in your everyday operations, be prepared to be left well behind.