Lightbulbs refracting the cloudsCloud computing is more than just “using someone else’s computer” although, in essence, this is technically correct!  In the past 5 years cloud computing has come a long way, and because of this is possible to get almost anything ‘As A Service’.  This means users no longer need to purchase the computing power as a capital cost and ‘own’ IT equipment.  The cloud offers the benefits of being able to pay monthly for the services you use, so you can pay for what you need now, and increase this only as you need to. In it’s simplest form, if you use web based email, or storage, you are using the cloud.  In it’s more complex incarnation, entire enterprises can migrate all of their systems to the cloud, and it can even run complex computing workloads, such as those used for Artificial Intelligence.

Given that it is possible to do almost anything in the cloud, what does this mean for everyday businesses?

Established Businesses

If you are a business with existing systems, it can be difficult to know where to start with the cloud. Typically, the best time to evaluate cloud computing solutions is when something needs to be replaced.  Let’s say this is your email and file server.  You can quickly and easily buy a cloud service for email and shared storage (using Google or Microsoft for example).  But have you considered how you will migrate you existing data to the new service?  Or how you are going to manage the new solution?

An important consideration to make before you make the first step to the cloud, is to evaluate where you may be in 5 years time.  This will help you put a cloud strategy in place that ensure you make the correct choices about the cloud systems you use to make sure you get the best out the integration options available.  This need not be onerous, but it will make you think about which of your in house systems you may move to the cloud in the future.

It is not given that you have to move everything, or anything at all to cloud computing.  It all depends on what your requirements are.  So Speak to us on how we can help you evaluate which parts of the cloud are right for you.

The Startup

If you are starting a business, the cloud makes it easy to get all of the systems you need to run your business from the cloud.  For example:

  • Email and Productivity = Google G Suite or Microsoft Office 365
  • Accounts = QuickBooks, FreshBooks, Sage and others
  • CRM = HubSpot, Zoho, Freshdesk, Zendesk and others
  • Collaboration & Communication  = Slack, Skype, Google Hangouts and others
  • Web Hosting = AWS, OVH, WordPress and others

As you can see, there are a variety of options, and only a few have been listed above.  Some of them are freemium, and some are paid.  But which ones are right for you?  This really comes down to what you need to get out of them, and also, what integrations you need.  Some cloud computing systems play better with specific other cloud systems.

Speak to us on how we can help you make the right start with the cloud.