What is Cloud Computing and how is it relevant to the success of my business?
Cloud computing refers to the on-demand availability of your business systems and data that is hosted remotely in a data centre. For businesses engaged with a cloud provider, this means that their compute and data storage needs are handled externally and made accessible on their endpoints via the internet.
Why is this important?
Outsourcing these functionalities to a cloud provider allows businesses to leverage an existing, extensive IT infrastructure and management capabilities, avoiding the need to build this internally. By utilising the economies of scale that come with the cloud, businesses benefit from both a functionality and a cost perspective.
Businesses often experience rapid change; subsequently, your IT infrastructure must support this. Whether this is a sudden increase in staff or simply a rapid growth in business data, your IT needs to respond to these changes. An over or under-performing system is costly and scaling your on-premise infrastructure up or down is also an expensive endeavour.
Cloud compute, or storage is an on-demand service in which you pay only for what you get. If your needs increase, your cloud provider can increase the resources allocated to you and vice versa. There is no need to go through the frustration or time of shopping around for a beefier server and a technician who knows how to install it.
Cloud hosting enables your staff to access the resources they need to work regardless of where they are or which device they are using. If an internet connection is present, staff can work from home, on their commute or remotely at a client office as productively as they do at their desk. This is increasingly important for a workforce that values flexible working arrangements or during a global pandemic.
Cloud solutions traditionally provide a higher level of redundancy over on-premise. In the case of a power outage, hardware failure or other crisis, a cloud solution could failover to a geographically separate redundant server almost instantaneously, where otherwise your business may be facing a significant, costly outage window. Can your business afford to cease work for 24 hours or more?
Considering what has been discussed above, you could be forgiven for expecting all of this to come at an expensive premium; however, the economies of scale associated with cloud solutions also make them relatively cost-effective. On-premise options require a significant upfront capital investment followed by ongoing costs that can be pretty sizable and vary unexpectedly. Furthermore, management of these systems requires an investment of time and expertise (which may not already be present within the organisation).
Transitioning to the cloud shifts these costs, frustrations and risks to the provider and consolidates it into one reduced, predictable operating expense. Management and hardware failures are handled externally, and their enterprise-level expertise is available regardless of the scale of your operations.
Making the Transition
Despite the simplicity that comes with the cloud, someone is still needed to design the right combination of storage, applications, networks and eCommerce resources that meet your current needs and have the flexibility to grow with your business. If you are interested in learning how RBC Group and Ducentis can support you in the design, transition, maintenance of your onsite and offsite computing infrastructure, please:
Author: Michael Higgins – MIS Engineer