There may be no form of revolutionary technology subject to more suspicion than the cloud – and public cloud in particular. From a certain perspective, this is understandable. Historically, the progression of technology has been slow and painstaking, but there’s an argument that the three centuries of the Renaissance have nothing on the last fifty years. We’ve seen clones, satellite TV, electric cars, a guy landing a rocket on a comet, a guy landing himself on the moon, the internet, and Chilli Heatwave Doritos arrive in this time.
But for every legitimately life changing development, there’ve been three or four underwhelming flops touted as the next big thing. The Nintendo Power Glove. The Segway. Laser Disc. New Coke.
So treating the public cloud with a degree of caution is understandable, particularly given early concerns around security and flexibility. Equally, if you’re running your own business, it’s hard to change when you’ve been using on-premise IT solutions for years – particularly when dismantling your comms room seems like an expensive process that could pose certain risks to your data, and things appear to be humming along in decent, if unspectacular, fashion.
sticking with your on-site solution isn’t the smart play
However, sticking with your on-site solution isn’t the smart play. Cloud technology has been around for a while, and it’s had plenty of time to outgrow any teething issues that may have arisen in the early going. Here are three reasons you should consider ditching your comms room and making the leap to public cloud.
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1. It’s cheaper.
They may still be widespread, but there’s no getting away from the fact that comms rooms aren’t exactly a bargain. Upfront expenses are substantial enough: servers can cost thousands of pounds, and if you’re looking to expand, you’ll have to buy more of them. It doesn’t stop there, obviously. The day to day operation of a comms room can cost plenty too: you’re powering the main servers, the backup servers, and paying operations engineers to make sure your entire IT infrastructure doesn’t crash at a moment’s notice.
Using hosted services is better… but not much better. Their fee structure may seem superficially cheaper, but it also tends to lock you into a system of pre-set license packages, none of which will ever really meet your precise requirements. If you need to set up a system for 6 users, you’ll typically have to buy five or ten licenses at once – either slightly undershooting or massively overshooting what you actually need.
Public cloud represents a significantly smaller investment – and with potentially greater returns. Firstly, you don’t have to pay any setup fees at all. With Amazon Web Services, you can get set up within half an hour on a pay as you go price plan – with no long-term commitment, ‘admin fees’, or hidden costs. Secondly, you won’t have to deal with long, drawn-out software updates that prevents your employees from accessing business-critical applications at inconvenient times. Finally, public cloud is typically available on a per-user, per-month basis, allowing you to scale your IT usage to the precise needs of your business: if you need one new license, you won’t have to buy four you don’t need; if you need to scale down, you can do so without sacrificing other user licenses.
2. It’s safe.
[easy-tweet tweet=”There may be no more pervasive – and damaging – myth about the #cloud than of its #security vulnerability” user=”ifollowoffice” usehashtags=”no”]
There may be no more pervasive – and damaging – myth about the cloud than the myth of its security vulnerability. The truth of the matter is that most of the stories of cloud-related ‘safety flaws’ can be attributed to the aforementioned growing pains in the technology’s early history – or simple human error. No matter how robust security gets, setting your admin password to ‘password’ will always be problematic for your business.
People still believe that the cloud is unsafe, however, because it’s out of sight – if you feel like you don’t have control over it, you don’t feel like it’s safe. Put simply, however, it’s better if your employees are nowhere near your security protocols. The technology cannot afford to be unsafe: its existence and continued success cannot afford to suffer regular security breaches. Public cloud companies spend more on security than any other kind – and they’re always incentivised to stay up to date with it.
Cloud security is now as safe as on-premise, if not more so: with increasingly sophisticated encryption and authentication, organisations of all shapes and sizes are using the technology instead of relying on rusty server rooms. Some of these include Netflix – and the Pentagon (so if the cloud is truly unsafe, it’s quite possibly a threat to global security).
3. It’s flexible.
The on-premise solution was built with the understanding that the overwhelming majority of employees would be working 9-5. It’s not really built for anything else. Downtime is scheduled outside of office hours, preventing employees from checking emails or accessing vital applications – inhibiting the possibility of flexible working.
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With public cloud, it’s possible to liberate your employees from the fetters of the office. All of your applications are available from any device – at any time. Employees can work on holiday, on public transit, or from home – recent tube strikes (and proposed tube strikes) have made this latter opportunity more appealing to business owners than ever.
The true promise of the cloud – beyond security, flexibility, cost, or anything else – is exactly this: that organisations will no longer be limited by their IT, but freed by it.