Cloud Computing Advantages: 7 key reasons why you should migrate ASAP
Updated: Sep 25, 2020
With the concept of the cloud becoming more and more renowned and utilised ever since it's debut, it's natural that most people are at very least aware of what the cloud is, and what it does.
No, we are not talking about the fluffy white things in the sky, or the dark grey beast that brings on rain when it's the least wanted, we are talking about cloud storage.
The paradigm of cloud storage is pretty common knowledge and most people engage with at least one cloud-based application on a day to day basis, but there is a level of hesitancy when it comes to what it means for you and your business.
Things such as privacy, security, and compliance concerns have regularly been an adversary to the usage of the cloud. Although there has been constant improvement and development to optimise how businesses operate within the cloud or even the proven benefits of using a cloud-based solution, the idea of an entire company's infrastructure being off-site and loaded into the internet is concerning.
Even when the proof is in the pudding, it's enough of a concern that businesses (especially small to medium-sized businesses) have to pause and assess the benefits of moving to the cloud and if it's actually worth it.
To understand the move to the cloud, one must understand what the benefits for a business are when the cloud is in their corner, and the difference it makes compared to an on-site physical server.
So here they are:
1. The Need to Maintain a Physical Server
Probably one of the biggest headaches that comes from a business that has their infrastructure onsite is the fact that they are keeping their infrastructure on site. Using a server that is located within a company's own building requires constant attention and maintenance. The health and availability of the servers and services of the company are heavily reliant on the health and availability of the machines that the servers are hosted on.
This along with regular checks, scheduled tasks and the time and money associated with replacing and upgrading parts can be a hindrance to the flow and productivity of the business. Not only does it take up financial resources, but human resources as well. It takes up valuable time and valuable money, especially if you are a smaller business.
When a businesses infrastructure enters the cloud, a lot of the infrastructure issues that previously required constant attention are managed and taken care of post-migration. A great deal of monitoring, maintenance, and configuration are implemented rapidly after the migration is conducted.
Herein lies the return.
Since the upkeep is no longer necessarily the responsibility of the business, the floodgates are open allowing for the business to focus on more business-critical objectives and operations.
2. Hardware Costs and Software Licenses
When it comes to business, researching, contemplating, and implementing cost-effective solutions and optimising ROI is essential.
In order to consider hosting an in house server versus using a cloud-based solution, it's important to look at the full picture.
For a start there is typically far less outlay to a cloud-based solution. Hardware can be remarkably expensive, especially when it comes to future-proofing and ensuring it remains reliable and secure. From a software perspective, a perpetual license comes with a heavy initial cost and the ongoing cost of potentially having to upgrade to a newer version, each time an upgrade is wanted, which can be extremely prohibitive.
When price is a factor for a business, it is true that cloud subscriptions may be greater than on-premise solutions. But one should factor in the upkeep of an on-site equivalent solution to the cloud. Things such as licensing, initial cost, software licenses, perpetual licenses, etc can stack up quickly and unexpectedly.
Cloud services generally adhere to a monthly or yearly subscription. This allows businesses to budget around the costs and gives the accountants a static figure of pricing and puts everything on the table, which should encompass all the fees involved and should not come with unpredictable expenses.
3. Unpredictable Costs
With on-site infrastructure solutions there is a much greater risk of unexpected costs. Due to hosting in house servers it is the company's responsibility to maintain, update, and configure the requirements of the business.
Whilst it is true most companies have a form of IT support to handle any unforeseen issues, the expense is still the responsibility of the business. Call out fees for emergency IT can stack up quickly.
For example, if hardware breaks and a business does not have in house IT support they have to rely on an off-site IT company to find the solution for them. Not only will the business have to pay for a callout fee, but they will also have to cover the time used, potential replacement parts, and ongoing support to ensure that the risk is mitigated in the future.
Moreover there can only be so much done when a problem arises, this does not necessarily mean that it's a one and done scenario. Often there can be several issues happening at once which can be quite difficult to maintain in-house when there is already so much going on.
Up-scaling business infrastructure will also require additional hardware purchases, an undesirable expense that may not be counted for.
With the cloud, all expenses are placed on the services and can be assessed, calculated, and planned around.
4. The Additional Physical Impact
Another factor to consider when it comes to cost is that of the known costs or costs that may not be initially considered as a ‘hosting an in house server’ issue.
To have optimal server performance and ensure efficiency when navigating or using the internal systems and data for a business, requires powerful servers and places to store them. Where the servers are stored is essential to the performance and capabilities of the business. It can be extremely limiting for a mid-sized business to host in house servers as they may not have the space to store them or the requirements to do so effectively. These issues only increase as the business grows.
For example if a business is seeing steady growth in staff, locations, and clients, the efficiency of the connectivity or services will begin to take a toll on the server as this number continues to grow. Demanding the addition of new machines, racks, or even farms which can result in unexpected hikes in power consumption.
These factors can be unreliable and more importantly sneak up when least expected or have previously been overlooked.
With the cloud, all services have a set subscription cost and are paid either annually or monthly. This means when a business is looking at their finances they can budget with confidence as they are completely aware of how much their IT is costing them, and there is minimal risk that unforeseen expenses should exist when using a cloud-based subscription.
The minimising of costs for parts, man-hours, and updates are automatically null once a business puts their trust and their infrastructure into the cloud. Allowing for peace of mind without sacrificing the time necessary to ensure all is well with an on-site infrastructure.
Redundancy is an important consideration when it comes to infrastructure purely based on the fact that if your services are business-critical it is not optional. It is important to reduce downtime.
For example an email service is quite often identified as a business-critical service that cannot see any disruption ever. Therefore when identifying a service that
is so crucial to how the business operates it is the responsibility of the business to mitigate and consider redundancy when they are hosting their own servers.
When it comes to IT, reaching the holy grail of 99.999% uptime is often the star one is shooting for. With 99.999% uptime, everything would be seamless, efficient, and reliable. But reaching that position is extremely difficult when purely managed in house. One has to mitigate all points of failure to near impossibility.
The best result to ensure reliability is to replicate the infrastructure. Especially when considering recovery time and recovery point objectives, to ensure the best-case scenario recovery, having the data spread across more than one data center is essential. These setups are either active-passive or active-active, with active-active being the most resourceful for data recovery time. Basically where things such as traffic can be immediately provisioned.
Any backup site or server would need to remain secure and compliant in all the same ways that the principal site/server is.
All these factors result in potentially business-critical services taking longer to get back to running at full efficiency should any unforeseen disaster or corruption of data hit a business.
This is an expensive process for not only time but also the resources of a business, even prohibitively so and may also require manual intervention.
However, in cloud infrastructure this is a relatively common setup. This makes achieving the gold standard of reliability extremely simple for hosting companies or hosting a business's own solution among a number of cloud-hosted sites.
With cloud services the entire process boils down to just a few clicks, and any difficulties that arise from a business's own onsite infrastructure can be easily mitigated and handled by the automatic processes and operations in place within the cloud.
It is hard to argue that one of the goals for most businesses is to maximise clients, profits, and services and that when growth happens, it is a bad thing.
Growth is a sign that a business is working and that customers are satisfied with what a business is offering. But growth in itself comes with a lot of changes and challenges that one must adapt to in order to cope and keep pace with the rate of the business.
For on-premise servers, when a company begins to grow more space is required and therefore more consumption of resources is needed. Although not many will argue that a bigger office is a bad thing, the time involved with setting up new servers to cope with the change is a time consuming and labouring work.
This can result in more disruption to the business, more IT staff to adjust and manage the process, installation of new hardware, and even the purchase of additional space.
There are certain environmental procedures and conditions that have to be met in order to optimise the performance of onsite servers. More man-hours put in to ensure the full functionality of the servers, and also the issue of licensing.
For many businesses a perpetual license is the go-to and covers all the bases, but the fact is in comparison to cloud the costs of maintaining a perpetual license can seem irrelevant.
With the cloud, one has the ability to increase or decrease resources as required and with ease. additional licenses can be purchased when needed and when those licenses become surplus they can be immediately ceased by simply ticking a box.
This is important to consider in situations where a business may have temporary staff that require access to certain resources, but only for a limited time or alternatively during a merger between two companies where there is a sudden influx of staff.
With the cloud mergers can be made without the requirements of any hardware and easily adjustable to meet the conditions of almost any situation a company may face. Limiting resource consumption and more importantly, headaches.
7. User-Friendliness and Compatibility
Cloud solutions are designed with ease of use in mind, use modern portals, and meet modern expectations.
On-premise solutions are often more technical and come with a very steep learning curve if you're not an IT person. Although in many ways moving to the cloud is advantageous for a business in terms of cost reduction and administration, these things may not directly affect a user themselves.
A primary focus for the user is on their own experience.
For a start, a user has far greater ease of access.
They can access any cloud-based solution from any compatible device with internet access. There is no need for proxy or VPN and for administrators they may not necessarily have to go to a server or remote into a server, it can all be done online from any place with the connection.
Most on-premise solutions require users to have a strong level of skill in order to use them or alternatively have access to a rapid response IT team either in house or off-site to make changes or fix problems.
With the cloud a lot of changes can be created and edited without necessarily having to know what HTML is being registered, or how the mail route works for their emails. Data is also constantly and automatically updated, monitored, and reviewed minimising the risk of catastrophic loss and ensuring peace of mind for the business.
This data can also be in most cases, universally accessed with any internet-enabled device and is automatically updated on all devices registered within the cloud.
Above all the user does not have to be a technical genius to understand or even use the cloud, as most cloud services are designed with ease of access for the user in mind.