With all the doom and gloom surrounding a supposed impending global financial meltdown, it is obvious that these are testing times for business owners everywhere. Difficulty securing investment and ever increasing competition for customer cash means that all businesses need to keep a close eye on their balance sheets and cut costs where possible.
Of course, no one is suggesting that a knee-jerk, run-for-the-hills reaction will provide lasting solutions but certain underlying cost bases may need redressing – not in the least the often burdensome money drain that is IT.
An increasingly popular option is to look at cloud hosting as a means of driving costs down, although often used as a marketing buzzword, the “cloud” is an innovative infrastructure that has only just begun to have an impact. Below, we’ve outlined the three key areas where small businesses can profit.
Perhaps cloud hosting’s biggest trump card is its ability to keep costs to a minimum. For example, if someone has been running a successful blog that has a huge range of great recipe ideas and has found that traffic to the site has grown exponentially, they may be thinking of moving from free hosting to a type of paid server hosting.
A cloud hosting service offers a cost effective means of doing this because rather than fork out for a 12 month contact from an expensive fixed hosting provider, the website owner can see what sort of data requirement they will need and pay for it accordingly, increasing or decreasing as they see fit. By removing lump sum, upfront payments from the IT budget equation, obvious cost savings can be made.
As many small business owners will know, work can ebb and flow with inconvenient unpredictability. As a huge amount of IT resources and office-based business functions revolve around using the internet or IT resource, it is often very difficult to know how much a business will need at any one time.
Cloud hosting solutions can help in this regard because, as discussed above, they offer a great degree of flexibility. A website owner could anticipate that a seasonal occurrence, such as Christmas shopping, will see them take on more staff, increase the quantity of content on their site and expect more traffic to the site – all of which will put more burden on their technical resource.
The cloud is seen by many in the IT industry as the future. It is a relatively nascent technology and its full potential is yet to be realised, the research agency Gartner stated at the start of 2011 that cloud computing is rapidly being cemented as the “core fundamental” in many IT strategies. While this may apply mainly to larger organisations, who are looking to “move to the cloud” in a robust fashion, the sheer scalability of the technology means that it can be applied to a business on almost any level.
Jonathan is a blogger who likes to write on aspects of business, information technology and cloud hosting