Cloud computing is one of the most significant changes to business along with the industrial revolution, computerisation of business and the roll-out of major railways connecting vast parts of our country. A historical note of personal significance is that a distant relative was John Whitton, “The Father of Australia’s Railways”. History lesson over!
However, Cloud Computing is not a new concept. It has been around for many years, but modern advances in technology are far-reaching into everyday life and business, changing the way we work.
The most common type of cloud-computing platforms are those that are available to share documents and email. The biggest players are Google with Google Drive, Google Business and Gmail, Microsoft has OneDrive, Outlook/Live and Office 365. Specialist systems like Dropbox’s file sharing service, CapsuleCRM’s contact management system and Quickbooks Online and Xero’s accounting systems have revolutionised their industries. These are just few of a massive ecosystem of cloud-based systems and apps.
The cloud is rapidly growing in popularity as the functionality and availability of tools and data storage grow. Your business needs will determine which solution is best for you.
The benefits of cloud-computing are many, and unique to the user, but this quote from Tieney Smith of TechSoup best captures the benefit of cloud computing from his article “A Walk in the Clouds”;
“Not only are many organizations able to realize cost savings (by) not having to run and maintain their own servers, many cloud tools enable new levels of sharing and collaboration, which can transform how we work. We live in a world where there is an increasing need to partner with other organizations to achieve real impact. Using the right cloud tools can help us break down the barriers we currently face and be the more open, effective, and resilient organizations that we need to be.”
Remember when it was time for your business to replace the office server, it was not unusual for a small business to spend upward of $10,000 on a server solution which would last 3 to 5 years and then need to be upgraded. Nowadays, business of all types and sizes can avoid this substantial outlay and still have access to the best technology available for their business.
The difference is, there is no need to have office space dedicated to server equipment, customised cooling systems, software upgrades, manual daily backups and routine maintenance to ensure it works without interruption. All of this is the responsibility of a reputable third party who specialise in providing cloud services to customers. All you need is a computer, tablet or smart phone and a reliable internet connection
Following on, employees that have access to any internet enabled device will be able to access their files. Enabling them to work from anywhere, anytime, increasing productivity and often reducing job stress and increasing job satisfaction. The absence of cloud-enable systems is more commonly becoming a “deal-breaker” for new employees when considering a change in jobs.
Lower the chance of loss
Loss of data from catastrophic computer failure is a very real threat when using in-house servers and computer systems. Well managed cloud servers go along-way to eliminating this risk. Reputable cloud service providers, have data stored in multiple data centres, with independent backups of each location and redundancy built in to minimise the risk to close to zero percentage.
One of the greatest things about the cloud is that it’s available anywhere. This means, of course, that employees can work on the same files at work and at home without having to carry them back and forth, but it also means that multiple employees at multiple branches can work on the same file, even simultaneously.
The practical result of this is that you can be working on a file at your office and your client or team member can be view that file at the same time, seeing real-time changes as they occur. It enables quicker decision making, decreasing the need for convoluted meetings or travel. Enabling all stakeholders to have ready access to files has a substantial impact on increasing team productivity and results.
Private and Public Server
Whilst the most common form of cloud server has been the public cloud server which is available to anyone, generally by subscription, it is becoming more common for business to use a private cloud. A private cloud, is a system where shared files are available to people from a closed group, such as a business. The private cloud is designed by the business for their specific needs, not a one-size-fits-all solution like a public cloud.
Real Balance Business Consulting has the experience to help you get started with cloud computing. This may include policies and procedures for cloud use, client user terms, cyber insurance and disclaimers from liability.
If you would like additional information, or if you are ready to get started, please contact us and we will be happy to discuss how best we may help you experience cloud computing and see how it will benefit you and your business.