Just like the pundits predicted, cloud computing is the Next Big Thing in IT. Google’s new Chromebook 11, Dropbox, Adobe’s Creative Cloud – cloud computing is going mainstream. Theoretically, you could run an entire business in the cloud alone, making huge savings on computing costs and promoting mobility.
But can it really done? And if it can, is the technology robust enough?
Yes, you can run a business in the cloud
The answer as to whether a 100% cloud based business is possible is an unequivocal yes. Some businesses are already doing it. The trend away from on-premises, physical servers towards cloud based SaaS (Software as a Service) is particularly prevalent amongst small businesses and start-ups where the running costs of an internal IT department are prohibitive.
Even just the two most well-known cloud services – Google Apps and Dropbox – provide what most data driven businesses need: the ability to create, modify and share documents, and somewhere safe to store them.
Naturally, the needs of the business become correspondingly more advanced as it scales up, but it’s perfectly possible to start a business with just a laptop, an internet connection, and free cloud services. Once you do take off, professionally managed cloud solutions can take you the rest of the way.
The advantages of a cloud based business
The most obvious benefit of basing your business in the cloud is cost. But it doesn’t end there. Cloud computing also offers:
- Dedicated support
- Data security
- Disaster recovery
- Enhanced collaboration capabilities
- Ease of mobile working
Traditionally, setting up a business meant shelling out for hardware, software and the IT professionals to set up and maintain it. By using cloud services, all that is outsourced, meaning you only pay for what you actually need e.g. IT support when something is wrong rather than keeping a full-time member of staff.
Regular backing up and data storage in a second, separate location is also left to professionals elsewhere, on servers that are almost certainly more secure than anything you could afford alone.
And in age of flexible working, the importance of being able to access documents and data from any location across a multitude of devices cannot be overstated. Home working, working on the road, real-time collaboration – cloud computing enables the kind of flexibility pre-broadband businesses could only dream of.
Are we there yet?
For small businesses, these advantages make extensive use of cloud-based SaaS a no-brainer. Larger businesses may be put off by high profile hacks like the recent Adobe and Microsoft incidents. They are more secure than your internal servers would be, but their profile also makes them more of a target.
Security will always be an issue. But the enormous cost and flexibility benefits, and crucially, disaster recovery, far outweigh any potential drawbacks in our view. And there is always the option of a hybrid: outsource most IT to the cloud and maintain internal services alongside where applicable.
Entire businesses are being built in the cloud. Contact us today and see how we can send your business skywards.