Should Small Businesses Adopt Cloud Computing Services?
In 2010, Eli Lilly (a famous pharmaceutical company) spent just $89 to perform a task that could have traditionally cost the company over $10,000 to implement. This achievement was made possible through the adoption of a cloud computing service for the analysis of their drugs.
Maybe you had read this before and wondered like, “isn’t The Eli Lilly, a big company?” Of course, it is. But these success stories aren’t confined to the established companies alone.
Razorfish, for instance, was an average company, as of 2009, which focused on internet marketing. Due to the nature of their business, the company required advanced computational capabilities of storage, databases and other IT infrastructure. These components were both costly and took time to set up. Once the company made the step of adopting a cloud server, the profitability of the company increased by 500%, and the time required to set up decreased from a maximum of 6 weeks to 2 days.
Do you begin to see the broader picture now?
The good news is that Cloud computing is still a relatively new field in most countries. Even so, cloud computing has already been hailed as a practice that boosts the growth of most modern businesses across the world. Which begs the question: could cloud computing work for you? What are its benefits to companies? To get answers to these and more business-related worries, please consider reading a bit further.
First, What Is Cloud Computing?
The ideal definition of the term “Could Computing” when viewed from a business perspective is as defined by Devasena in The Journal of Operations Research and Application that was published in August 2014. Devasena defined “Cloud Computing” as the merging of “dynamically scalable” computational power that is utilized by several different clients over a network or the internet. In a nutshell, it is much like using a computational power that your company does not possess locally.
Traditionally, businesses used to purchase and install applications for their businesses locally within their computers or their LAN (Local Area Network) servers. These apps could be operating systems, Word-Processors, ledger applications, accounting application, CRM (Customer Relationship Management) apps, HR and other relevant business apps.
With Cloud Computing, businesses use platforms, software applications or a computer infrastructure that is installed on virtual computers not situated within the physical business environment. A business that intends to use a cloud computing service will only create an account with a cloud server, and then use the computational resources of their cloud server to process their tasks.
This nature of cloud computing helps to make business operations scalable, cost-effective and eases collaboration in businesses. Now, let’s look deeper into the benefits of cloud computing to enterprises.
11 Advantages of Cloud Computing To Businesses
Flexibility aspect of cloud computing businesses is assessed based on the ease of access to the computational infrastructure. Notably, the fact that cloud computing is done over the internet means that your computational resources are easily accessible from everywhere.
This feature would allow your employees to work on projects without necessarily being in their offices. Cloud computing will only require your employees to have internet enabled devices like phones or tablets. Through the adoption of cloud computing, you will enable your employees to have a balance between their working and social lives.
Besides, adopting cloud computing will also ease the process of outsourcing complex tasks. Since the modern world is increasingly adopting online services in increasing productivity, cloud computing will ease this process. It will allow you to hire reputable experts (who might be anywhere in the world)to help you in solving the complex milestones. This act will, in turn, increase your productivity.
Cloud computing works on dedicated servers that work are hardly switched off for repairs/maintenance. With this fact in mind, it could mean that choosing to go for a cloud computing service would make your services available always.
For multinational organizations or institutions with workers from different time-zones, adopting a cloud server would make such organization to be more reliable as employees would be free to contact the cloud servers at any time of the day. This feature would be better than the reliance on IT departments that operates within some limited time-spans of the day.
Scalability is viewed much from a tech perspective than a business view. Cloud computing enhances flexibility by increasing/decreasing the bandwidth of your hosted service as per the demand. Look, in the olden days, when a business ran its services over the internet, it was responsible for upgrading their hardware and software requirements to meet their business’ growing demands regarding bandwidth. With cloud computing, the bandwidth is easily scaled up or low depending on the needs of the business with little or no added cost.
4.) Cloud computing has no Up-Front Cost (Pay-As-You-Go)
In this point rests the secret to the rise of The Razorfish. Now, if you are currently running a Small to Medium-sized Enterprise (SME), then it is possible you do not have too much money to spend on technological infrastructure. Sadly, being the “information age,” there is a constant tendency of customers to prefer the most tech-savvy enterprises (like you would love to be).
Assuming there was no cloud computing service, you would need to spend time and consult with some IT expert for some advice on the appropriate computing specifications for your computer. Next, you would need to spend money to buy and update your computing infrastructure. So, it would cost your business both time and money before testing your system’s productivity. And even then, there might emerge additional charges from vendor software applications for data processing.
With cloud computing, on the other hand, all the computing specifications and pricing are placed beforehand and you are only charged once you evaluate the efficiency of the system. Also, once done with a task, you can comfortably do away with the service until a time you will require it again. This view is referred to as the “pay-as-you-go” aspect of cloud computing. This point, in my opinion, is the single most important reason that all SMBs need to adopt cloud computing.
5.) Increases collaboration
Before the emergence of cloud computing, jobs that required teamwork called for communication through emails and social application platforms. For tasks that needed collaborative working, this could often require attaching several threads of log files and other relevant files as an indication of the progress done on a job. Besides being hard to understand, this method of communication also consumed too much memory.
In cloud computing, however, a job that requires collaboration is stored within a central computing space. The same file is accessible to employees or experts who might be spread within a vast geographical region. Since they all process the data on a cloud computer with the same capability, this eliminates the problem of different computing capabilities for the workers. It also increases transparency and enables different employees to get real-time feedback of the progress of a job.
6.) Document And Version Control
This point is closely linked to the point of appropriate communication. You see, the aspect of controlling the version of a document/application within an organization is very much linked to the process of communicating the file within the organization.
Traditional businesses relied on emails to communicate the progress of projects. This means that only a single person would operate on a file at a time. Such an act led to decreased productivity, and an inherent inconsistency in production as the process of monitoring the version of a document was tedious. Consequently, it also increased the chances of duplication of files as a single file (with limited changes) was reserved within multiple computers.
7.) Automated Software Updates
In cloud computing, you will not need to worry about the installing updates of software applications as the cloud service vendor does these updates. The cloud computing server will perform the regular computational tasks of securing the computer resources, upgrading the applications and updating of apps. This act relieves you of the maintenance tasks and helps you to focus on tasks that are more important to the growth of your business.
There are several reasons as to why cloud computing could help your organization’s information to become more secure. First, the fact that cloud computing providers understand that they handle information from various clients some of whose data could be of high profile and confidential makes the servers invest a lot in installing safety measures for their clients’ information. As a result of this, some cloud servers offer free SSL encryption services to their customers.
Another vital security consideration is the advantage of backing up your files. Cloud computing has become reputable as it enables you to keep a backup of your files in the case of losing or destroying your files.
In a special sense, cloud computing also makes it hard for an attacker to attack your computer as much of its relevant information is not housed locally. Which means, should an attacker need to breach your organization’s security system; such a person has to breach the security of a cloud server as well. Such an act is highly improbable. This means that cloud servers avail you with the same protection as that availed to banks and other advanced institutions.
9.) Disaster Recovery
Once your business adopts a cloud server, you will not need to search for complicated disaster recovery or management applications. The cloud server will install and manage the enhanced disaster management applications that might be required in your company. As specialized service providers, cloud computers often respond to disaster management quickly and efficiently.
10.) Competitiveness Of Your Business
Technological improvements are constantly added to businesses to enhance efficiency, ease of use, as well as overall profitability. As noted from the features we have discussed before, the bulk of installing and updating applications always lie with the cloud server. It means that a good cloud server will keep your business’ applications updated and proficient.
As a consequence of having a good cloud server, you are very likely to remain updated technologically. This act will, in turn, increase your productivity and keep you competitive among your competitors.
11.) It Is Environmental Friendly
Thanks to cloud servers, your business will no longer need to have very complicated computing machinery installed within your premise. Also, even within the cloud server, your applications will only use the memory allocation and processing capacity they will require. Such an attribute will reduce the carbon impression of your company and thus save the environment.
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