Cloud computing has made a major impact on the way we do business. As cloud technology has matured, both security and reliability have improved, giving businesses more confidence in utilising the cloud for their mission critical operations.
Applications like accounting software, file sharing, ERPs, file storage, project management and CRMs, have streamlined operations, and in some instances become commonplace. The next stage of widespread cloud adoption will see businesses with their entire IT environments in the cloud, including files, email and applications.
This trend is resulting in a decline in businesses utilising on-premise servers, especially small and medium sized enterprises. In fact, according to research from the International Data Corporation, global IT hardware budgets for on-premise infrastructure are expected to decline by 4 per cent in 2016, as service providers and enterprises move to the cloud.
What is driving cloud adoption?
The main drivers behind moving to the cloud are the cost benefits, increased agility and mobility, plus simplified IT infrastructure. Businesses no longer have to host, update, maintain or backup their IT environment, eliminating the need to invest in on-premise servers, expensive hardware and support costs.
While security was once a concern for businesses looking to adopt cloud, security measures and technology have improved, and in many cases, having your data in the cloud is more secure than having it stored in an on-premise server.
Public, private & hybrid clouds
There’s more than one type of cloud. When looking to move your IT environment to the cloud, there are a number of cloud options, including public, private and hybrid.
Public clouds, like those offered by Amazon, Google and Microsoft, offer advanced technology. However, they can be expensive and many businesses are finding them to be more complicated and to a large degree, impersonal. If you want personalised service you usually have to agree to a hefty upfront maintenance agreement.
The main benefit of a private cloud is the provision of shared IT resources across multiple applications and/or locations, which contribute directly to increased productivity and bottom line cost benefits. However, one trap businesses can potentially fall into is opting for a hosting service rather than a true cloud provider. Asking for an upfront fee is a common indicator of hosting services.
As the name implies, hybrid clouds use a combination of on-premise, private and public cloud services. This option can expand capacity quickly but it can be very complicated to set up and run, resulting in a greater potential for things to go wrong, more downtime and more costs involved. The other element to consider is the on-premise equipment required can be expensive, and likewise, the ongoing maintenance.
Cloud computing is proving to be a game changer for many businesses. But before you migrate to the cloud, do your due diligence. For instance, consider all the costs, including set-up and migration fees. Also, make sure the option you choose offers adequate security measures, like secure data centres, protection from unauthorised access and viruses and good backup and recovery measures. If you’ve done your homework, moving to cloud can be one of the best things your business has ever done.
Andrew Tucker is the CEO of ITonCloud which helps businesses simplify and automate their IT systems by leveraging the cloud. With ITonCloud businesses have their entire IT environment in the cloud, including email, files and business applications, making it easy for your workforce to access anywhere, anytime, on any device with comprehensive security. Using ITonCloud’s proven and state-of-the-art cloud desktop platform eliminates the need for businesses to invest in on-premise servers, expensive hardware and support.