Last week, The New York Times gave prominent placement to an article called “The Era of Cloud Computing.” Of all the statistics presented, this one stood out the most: “Industry analysts at IDC figure that if largely cloud-based things like mobile apps, big data, and social media are counted, over the next six years almost 90% of new spending on Internet and communications technologies… will be on cloud-based technology.”
Now, every business owner has heard about “the cloud” and how it’s supposed to revolutionize the technology industry and change the way we interact with computers, networks, and data. But until very recently, the cloud was a nearly inexplicable entity — “a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma,” as Winston Churchill famously said in 1939.
That’s all changing now that consumers are beginning to understand the function of the cloud (Google, Netflix, Amazon, and Facebook all rely on it), the price of cloud storage tumbles (the cost of a gigabyte on Amazon Web Services is now 1/100 of what it was a few years ago), and the use of smartphones and tablets (which, with limited local storage capabilities, live and die by access to the cloud) skyrockets.
So are small to medium-sized businesses really being empowered by the cloud? As the aforementioned New York Times article stated, “Without the cloud, it would be almost inconceivable to fund a start-up like… SynapDX, [which looks] for clues about autism in 880 children across 20 states… ‘Without the cloud I’d need $1 million, plus staff, just for the computer,’ said Mark DePristo, a vice president of SynapDX. Instead, his company spends $25,000 a month on computing,” adding computer power when necessary — and employing 22 people who use a handful of laptops and an Internet connection.
Yet questions about the cloud still remain? Can it really deliver a boost in productivity? Is it easy to leverage in the right way? Will an upgrade in Internet connection speeds be required? Will that negate any cost savings? CMIT Solutions understands that the cloud is not a one-size-fits-all solution — and in many cases, it doesn’t fit at all. Consider these points before you consult an IT professional about exploring the cloud further:
- Acknowledge that hybrid solutions might make the most sense. For businesses that have adopted the cloud, a mix of remote and local infrastructure might make access to the information you need seamless, whether you’re on your PC, laptop, smartphone, or tablet.
- Understand that, in some cases, the cloud can help you save money. In the software realm, cloud offerings, or Software as a Service (SaaS), can often have the most immediate impact on a business. Need to run expensive packages like Microsoft Office or Adobe Creative Suite? Instead of paying hefty up-front costs, being stuck with only a few licenses, and losing valuable time to the lengthy installation and update process, services like Office 365 and Creative Cloud can afford you increased levels of productivity by providing up to five licenses for separate devices — and even potentially lower your monthly or annual costs.
- Appreciate the fact that fully utilizing the cloud might require an increase in bandwidth — and the increased cost of that might not be feasible. In some areas, standard Internet connections might not be equipped to handle the bi-directional traffic required to take full advantage of cloud solutions. If a significant upgrade is in order, the economics of migrating to the cloud might not make sense for your company.
- Whether you migrate to the cloud or stick with local infrastructure, the day-to-day IT worries and security of your data and systems is best left to a professional. If you do decide to explore cloud options, ensure you work with competent, trustworthy IT service providers who are committed to the security of your information and provide you with end-to-end support. Cloud services deployed in a secure and integrated way by trusted IT professionals who understand your specific business needs can deliver more mobility, faster scalability, heightened security, and a better return on investment to your company.
Is cloud computing right for your business? Which cloud vendors should you trust? Can you adjust your workflow to take advantage of the benefits of cloud? Contact CMIT Solutions if you need help answering these questions. We know the cloud inside and out. We test and vet the solutions we provide. We take care of the details so that you can focus on growing your business and providing better service to your clients — not worrying about the ins and outs of IT.