What AV dealers need to know when you work in the cloud
by Anna Kucirkova
Is cloud computing truly better for your business than hosting data, email and applications on your own servers? This isn’t a clear yes or no question.
Yet, for many businesses, the answer is yes. The cloud computing market is hovering around a half trillion in revenue.
Cloud computing was enabled by faster internet connections, the proliferation of devices that can access the cloud and gradual improvements in cloud-based applications. After all, there isn’t much value of accessing the cloud if you can’t use it for critical functions like updating shared worksheets or logging the time you’ve worked.
Today cloud computing is what allows you to check your email, documents, and business critical applications from the cloud as long as you’re connected with the right services. For many businesses, the move to the cloud requires moving their data to the third party service providers. Depending on the service provider, you may have to go with the software applications they offer if you want the 24x7x365 access from anywhere. If you are willing to pay for a higher level of service, then they may move your legacy software applications to the cloud or get the licenses to make the programs you’re familiar with available on the cloud.
Many businesses see significant benefits from moving to cloud based systems. They give the responsibility to maintain the software applications and user accounts to someone else. You don’t have to maintain several servers, staff a help desk and keep several administrators on the payroll. Instead, you shift most of the IT responsibilities and infrastructure to a third party. This often results in a lower per-user cost for the organization than when it was supported in-house. The cloud service provider can staff a full help desk, system administrators and IT security staff and divide their cost by multiple clients. This doesn’t eliminate all IT costs, since your organization still has to maintain its routers, personal computers and mobile devices.
A side benefit is financial predictability. You don’t have to pay extra to upgrade a server’s software or overtime for key staff. Instead, you pay a regular monthly fee to the third party cloud service provider. They keep your software up to date. They scale the memory, bandwidth and resources your business accesses. You know what you’re going to pay at each service level, and you can budget for it. You certainly won’t have to pay for servers and memory space you aren’t using. A major point in favor of cloud computing is the fact that it makes enterprise level software accessible to small businesses that otherwise couldn’t afford to license the software.
Cloud computing brings a number of other benefits. If your business is damaged by a flood or fire, you don’t lose your critical files because they’re saved to the cloud. You can request for your data on the cloud to be backed up elsewhere in the cloud or a backup saved somewhere else, such as another data center on the other side of the country. This prevents the loss of critical data even if your own computers are fried or infected with a virus.
By moving most of your IT functions to the cloud, you could save money on utility bills and rent. If you’re able to remove the servers in the server room, you may be able to use it another way or let someone else use the space.