Cloud-based computing and its amazing capabilities are currently hot topics, with many companies wanting to transition to the Cloud, whilst others are left wondering how this technology can improve their businesses.
We spoke with C4DI member David Gilbey, Director and IT Specialist at Just Gilbey Ltd, to uncover the benefits of the Cloud and find out whether the move truly is for all businesses.
How is the Cloud helpful for small businesses?
“The Cloud provides small businesses with a cost-effective way of accessing enterprise functionality,” David explains. “It’s scalable, readily accessible and doesn’t require the high level of maintenance that an onsite server would.”
So, what is cloud computing? Well, at its most basic form, it’s a service that allows you to upload files to a remote server and download them again from wherever you are in the world. It’s extremely useful for a wide range of things, including working collaboratively, backing up vital information and storing and managing files. In fact, you’ve probably used cloud-based services in your day-to-day life, such as Dropbox, Google Drive and iCloud.
“Although it can be very useful for businesses of all shapes and sizes, you shouldn’t just jump straight to the Cloud without considering a few key things, first,” David points out. “I feel like a lot of people are pushing the Cloud to businesses, even when it’s not quite right for them.”
Think about your current server and system requirements.
The first thing you should think about before making the switch to Cloud is what functionality and services your current systems and servers provide. This is especially crucial if you do have your own server.
“You should look at the whole picture before moving to the Cloud. As the technology is constantly developing, some businesses may have to change their workflows in order to take full advantage of the benefits of the service. This is simply not feasible in the short term for some firms as they would need to immediately retrain staff and adapt the way they operate, which can be costly.”
Your internet connection can play a huge role in deciding whether to transition to the Cloud.
Your office’s bandwidth and speed of your internet could also sway your decision to move to Cloud.
“Everything you do, everything you send and receive, upload and download is going to require a quality, reliable internet connection. Take into consideration the number of computers in your network, too,” he continues. “A slow connection could mean reduced productivity in your office after you switch to the Cloud. You may even need to get Fibre Optic Broadband.”
Of course, Cloud-based work isn’t all or nothing. Many businesses are currently opting for a hybrid service, instead.
“This is a brilliant stepping stone that enables you to experience the best of both worlds,” David enthuses. “For example, you could choose to store some things in the Cloud, whilst having a backup stored locally.”
Is the Cloud right for you?
Three things to consider if you are wishing to progress to the Cloud are:
What you require from cloud-based services.
Your current server functionality.
The quality of your internet connection.
If you are thinking about migrating to the Cloud, Just Gilbey start with a deep dive into your business’ IT. After a closer look at what you require from the service, David can then point you in the right direction of what could suit you.
“When used correctly, the Cloud is a brilliant opportunity for small businesses and startups,” he adds.