If you ask five people for their definitions of ‘the cloud’, the chances are you will receive five different answers. So before working out what – if any – cost savings can be made through switching to cloud computing, we should be clear what is meant by the term ‘cloud computing’.
Put simply, any service which is hosted on a server in a remote location will be part of ‘the cloud’. Whether you’re aware of it or not, the chances are you access the cloud on an almost daily basis. As soon as you log onto Facebook, Twitter or your Hotmail account, you are using the cloud.
Now we know what we mean by the cloud, what savings can be made by businesses choosing to switch their operations from local hosting to a remote provider?
The biggest and most immediate saving that can be made by making the switch to the cloud is on physical IT equipment. Server rooms require a large capital investment, and are expensive to maintain. They say once every eight years you should consider updating your servers.
By switching your business’ server needs to a remote hosting service, you are removing the need for this equipment in the first place. It will have been purchased in bulk by your provider whilst all software and hardware maintenance will be undertaken centrally. You will be sharing the cost of all of this with countless other consumers, which cannot fail to save you money.
All employees require to access cloud based services is a web enabled device and a live internet connection. This increased accessibility to business information reduces the need for workers to be on site. Instead, they can work from home or in-transit to meetings. This not only increases employee’s efficiency and output, but gives employers increased scope for reducing overheads.
One of the biggest challenges faced by businesses is when they need to quickly increase or downsize their operation. With an on-site server room either option is an expensive process.
By using cloud based servers, you simply pay for the space you need. Should your storage requirements increase, then adding more space onto your agreement is far simpler and cheaper, than adding servers to your existing on-site server room.
Likewise, downsizing your server requirements with a cloud provider can be done instantly, and does not leave your business with redundant expensive IT equipment on-site.
One of the advantages which will be a by-product of running your servers remotely is the savings you can make on your energy usage.
The benefits of employees being able to work from home, or whilst on the move has already been previously explored. However, an added saving can be made by not having to run superfluous servers. Even when there is no data being stored on them, servers require power to run them. This is an unnecessary and easily removable cost.
Economies of Scale
When implemented properly, and with enough research and consideration, the money savings possible for businesses thinking about switching to the cloud can make a persuasive case alone.
By achieving the economies of scale (being able to achieve more, whilst paying less) described above, even the most reluctant of CEOs will be able to see the clear financial benefits of moving their operations to the cloud.
What savings has your business made with cloud computing? Let us know in the comments section below.
About the Author: John Rogers has worked within the IT sector for nearly seven years and is a regular user of cloud based services. He recommends New Voice Media.
License: Creative Commons image source