Seeing through the cloud- What cloud computing can do for your business

By Anita Jaynes on 28 August, 2015

In this blog post Swindon headquartered Excalibur Communications and IT for Business discuss the benefits of cloud computing.

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Cloud Computing- An Introduction

The term “cloud computing” is everywhere. You can’t seem to read about IT or watch a presentation without being faced with the term. Everyone’s talking about it and everyone is promoting it as the new way of working. So what is the cloud and what can it do for your business?

Cloud computing represents a complete shift in thought. We have gone from hosting everything on premise and managing it yourself to outsourcing complete infrastructures and letting a provider manage them. That shift has taken a while, but has proven its worth time and again.

Businesses now realise that there are other, smarter ways of working. Rather than spending valuable capital on trying to be self-sufficient, businesses can achieve more with less. Rather than trying to be all things to all men, businesses can now focus on their core objective, making their offering as valuable and as marketable as possible.

No longer does a business have to dilute their resources to cover every business function. By using cloud computing, you can effectively outsource essential business support functions and concentrate on what you’re good at.

That not only saves time and a lot of money, it also frees up resources that can be better used to build your business

What is cloud computing?

Essentially, cloud computing takes your traditional IT department and server rooms and outsources them. Rather than managing them yourself, you simply rent what you need over the internet. IT can now be considered more a utility than a department. A utility where you pay for what you use and no more. It’s a very cost-effective way of working.

Cloud service models

Infrastructure as a Service

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) delivers cloud servers, a network, virtual machines and a range of other solutions to give you a customised computing environment tailored to your particular requirements. You as the customer still have to configure, secure and manage this solution but the hardware and network is provided by the vendor. Amazon Web Services and Rackspace are examples of IaaS.

Platform as a Service

Platform as a Service (PaaS) delivers a specific platform from which you can operate the services you need to run day to day. You manage the applications within the platform and the data and the vendor takes care of everything else. GoogleApps uses the PaaS model.

Software as a Service

Software as a Service (SaaS) is the third cloud model and undoubtedly the most popular. Here you lease specific apps within the vendors environment, leaving them to manage everything apart from customer data. Microsoft Office 365 is an example of SaaS.

Why use cloud computing?

Any business wishing to compete in the worldwide market knows they need the systems in place to support that endeavour. IT spending is increasing all the time, often out of proportion to other capex demands. Running an IT department is expensive, time consuming, complicated and fraught with challenges. For smaller or more streamlined businesses that’s something they neither want nor need.

There are several key benefits to cloud computing.

Cost

The single most cited benefit to cloud computing is one of cost. The setting up and maintenance of a corporate network is an expensive undertaking. One that puts unnecessary strain on SMBs. By not having to invest in IT infrastructure until you’re ready, huge amounts of initial investment can be channelled where it will be better used.

Choice

Enterprise platforms used to be restricted to enterprise customers, or those organisations who could afford the huge expense involved. Now, with SaaS, a smaller business can access the same productivity tools and the same platforms as a much larger enterprise.

Scalability

With cloud computing, it is possible to quickly scale up and down as your business requires. Many vendors offer per seat licensing, meaning you can access the applications you need only for as long as you need them.

Reliability

Building effective redundancy into a corporate network takes a huge amount of planning and resources. By using the cloud model, you get to benefit from someone else’s hard work. Most cloud services come with SLAs in excess of 99% uptime and a range of other assurances, including full redundancy planning.

Collaboration

Having a single cloud solution running the same version across the business, available anywhere at any time aids collaboration in a way few other solutions could. It is now easier than ever to collaborate on a piece of work, regardless of where in the world you might be at the time. As long as you have a stable network connection you can contribute.

Security

There are naturally security concerns around cloud solutions and why wouldn’t there be? Along with handing off the cost and responsibility of managing an IT infrastructure you’re also handing off the ability to control your network. However, despite fears that data loss and breaches would be rife, quality cloud vendors have proven to be more than up to the challenge of keeping your data secure.

In conclusion

Cloud computing has proven its worth and its reliability over the past decade. It offers tangible benefits for small to medium-sized businesses that no other IT solution even comes close to. Alongside unified communications, cloud computing is changing the way we work for the better.

The ability to access enterprise-level solutions at a fraction of the cost, to hand off the expense and responsibility of running an IT network and to be able to collaborate seamlessly from anywhere in the world are just three reasons why cloud computing is proving itself in the marketplace.

If you want to know more about cloud computing and how it could directly benefit your business contact Excalibur today.

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Telephone: 01793 438888  Email: info@ex-c.co.uk