A Cloud Pleaser: Spend Less Time at the Office

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Cloud computing offers a wonderful solution to all your online data storage needs. Switching to cloud technology enables you to ditch your servers, reduce your hardware costs, close your IT department and spend less time in the office.

Cloud Computing: The Basics

According to the Computer Security Division of the National Institute of Standards and Technology; “Cloud computing is a model for enabling convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction. This cloud model promotes availability and is composed of five essential characteristics: on-demand self-service, broad network access, resource pooling, rapid elasticity, and measured service.”

Cloud computing enables the user to store share and access databases online. This means you can access your files anytime, anywhere. When you provide your own servers, their size determines the volume of data you can store. On the cloud you can use as much space as you like, and only pay for the space you use. Further, when you live in the cloud, all of your security and updates are automatically taken care of. This is a far cry from the traditional system where you have to set up your servers, maintain them, install software updates and keep your security updated which adds up to Doug from IT working late on a Friday afternoon.

How Being in the Cloud Saves You Time & Money

Since you can access all of your online databases anytime and anywhere, you don’t have to be in the office to work. Whether you are in a conference in Beijing, or on a beach in Bali, you can access your information, conduct teleconferences or share files. This means less time at the office and (you guessed it!) more ‘you’ time.

In addition to their increased flexibility over traditional solutions, cloud services have very little downtime, giving you far more access than the usual office bugs allow. It also means you don’t have to have an IT maintenance employee (sorry Doug!) or pay for expensive repairs. Your firm becomes more efficient as you no longer have to devote time and resources to maintaining your computer infrastructure.

The cost savings occur in three areas:

  • Upfront server costs
  • Software licenses 
  • IT maintenance costs.

These cost savings associated with cloud computing are especially advantageous for smaller firms who would not otherwise be able to afford the powerful computer infrastructure they have access to through the cloud; as a result, it puts small and medium business on a par with large corporations who can.

“With the cloud, individuals and small businesses can snap their fingers and instantly set up enterprise-class services,” says Roy Stephan, Director of IT architecture and engineering, Intelligent Decisions.

Using a cloud database means increased flexibility as you get to piggyback on the technical improvements made by the cloud provider rather than utilizing your own outdated technology to save costs. Plus, if you can access your online databases from your mobile devices, so can your employees. In fact, they will probably prefer it. Personal devices are increasingly being adopted as the hardware of choice by employees who have access to cloud technology. Many larger companies are seeing this as a boon and a way to reduce hardware costs. They provide employees a stipend while the employees are responsible for providing the hardware of their choice and voila… everyone’s happy!

Running Risks

Of course into each cloud a little rain must fall, and this cloud is no exception. The inherent risk of cloud computing is security. With employees accessing the online database from mobile devices, there is always the risk that your cloud database may not be entirely secure. You must establish protocols and ensure that all passwords and devices are secured. Clouds have been hacked, but the risk to the small and medium business is relatively low.

Security risks aside, moving to the cloud is a no-brainer, and it’s especially advantageous for the small to medium enterprise where time and cost savings have the greatest impact.