Setting up a full computing system in an office can be pricey, especially for small businesses, which are always looking at ways to save money and space. If you’re fed up with paying endless IT costs, barricading your IT closet and shunning the ‘traditional’ way of doing things won’t necessarily do your business any harm thanks to the growing popularity and improving security of the Cloud, which is fast becoming a more viable means of hosting and managing data for small companies with big ideas.
Why are so many businesses still storing their systems in the IT ‘cabinet’?
Despite the many benefits to migrating to the Cloud, many people are still skeptical. It’s understandable. Sending your data to third parties and losing an element of control is off-putting, especially if you need to make sure you comply with all those pesky data protection laws. But this really shouldn’t concern you too much. These companies look after masses of data, and pride themselves on their multi-layer, military-grade encryption (for those who are interested, a more detailed explanation of what is meant by ‘military grade’ can be found here).
With the sophisticated security systems they have in place, they should do a better job of looking after your data then you would.
The real question is, why would you want to store your valuable company data in what is essentially a dark corner or cupboard in the office when your information will, in most cases, be much more secure sitting behind multiple layers of impossible-to-crack coding in the Cloud?
The cost-saving benefits offered by the Cloud
Few small businesses are blessed with the sums of money sufficient to support expensive hardware and software licenses. Just a few years ago, these budgetary restrictions might have stopped some businesses from ever starting up. At the very least, small enterprises would have had to dedicate whole rooms to servers that housed their data and powered their company. These units filled up valuable office space and incurred plenty of budget-draining servicing and maintenance costs.
The Cloud works differently. You don’t need to invest in expensive hardware to run ‘cloudware’ (a name commonly given to software that is hosted and run on a remote server). In many cases, cloudware providers won’t charge an initial start-up fee – and if they do, it’s likely to be minimal. Instead, businesses pay a far more manageable monthly subscription, saving them large sums of money, particularly in those all-important early days.
According to a recent Hurwitz white paper, the total cost of ownership for cloud-based services versus those hosted on-premise was 55% lower; add to this the fact that there are no infrastructure costs involved in running applications in the Cloud, and the potential savings really begin to stack up.
Although after a while a monthly subscription fee will eventually overtake the one-off bulk fee you’d normally pay for on-site computing but even then running costs are surprisingly high for non-Cloud services. And the convenience and scalability offered by working in the Cloud more than justifies the long-term cost: all software updates will be taken care of, you won’t need to pay to have any faulty gear replaced, and, should you want to cancel or upgrade your package, this can usually be done online with minimal hassle. Put simply, cloudware is a great choice if you want to safeguard your business against any obstacles or surprise expansions it may encounter as it grows.
Finding a compromise
For those who, even after working their way through our very convincing argument for cloud adoption, still have their concerns, this whitepaper from GFI.com is worth a read. The report suggests a ‘hybrid’ halfway home between on-premise and the cloud; a model which maximizes the strengths of both systems and presents minimal risk.
The point reiterated by this piece is that decision makers need to adapt their system to fit the needs of their business. Indeed, it’s crucial that companies aren’t swayed by trends and are not tempted to invest in cloudware purely because it’s seen as the ‘thing to do’.
Finding the right solution for your business
Moving to the Cloud is a big step, so all plans need to be strategically thought through. This is no time for knee-jerk decisions. You’ll reap more rewards in the long term if you can accurately pinpoint the area of your business that will be the most improved by a new cloud-based system, then expand your adoption from there on in.
In a nutshell, don’t blindly transfer over to the Cloud for the sake of cutting costs – make the move count.
Ultimately, the cost and deliverance benefits of moving to the Cloud should outweigh the cons, and quite simply the hassle, of setting up or retaining an on-site computing system and continuing to bury your data in your dusty, and somewhat dated, IT cabinet.