Cloud computing is now a familiar term in the world of IT, but what does it mean for your business, and how can you make the move smoothly and effectively?
Cloud computing is best described as a new way to organise and control your digital information, by using internet-based services to provide and store your applications and data. You can access computer services, regardless of what hardware you are using or where you physically are at any given moment. There need be no more downloads or software installations which take up valuable computer memory, and it allows you to access all your information using the internet alleviating the need to store it on PCs. Rather than purchasing expensive software, you can instead use cloud-computing to rent it for short periods of time. Cloud is not as complex as you may think, in fact the chances are you are already unwittingly using it. Google offers online software like word processing, email, photo sharing and web creator software already and has billions of users.
Microsoft offers the Windows Azure platform – a consumption-based service. A consumption-based service is a scheme in which customers pay according to what exact resources they use, just like other utilities such as electricity. Other big name corporations like Novell, Amazon, Cisco and IBM are also offering a variety of cloud-based solutions, and new companies are quickly appearing that offer quicker, easier and improved ways to employ cloud-based solutions.
For smaller and medium sized businesses, making the transition to cloud computing can appear to be an excessively daunting task, with worries over the security of information or fears over prolonged internet disconnections. Unfortunately those who fail to get to grips with it could risk falling behind their competitors. Here’s three easy ways to help with a smooth transition:
Select the right provider
It is important to do some assessment work on which provider would be best suited to your company. Important criteria to think about include choosing a provider who has the ability to use the existing technology you already have to your advantage. With careful organisation, whole databases can be moved to the cloud in minutes, providing the structure of the current technology is suitable.
Education and Communication
Everyone involved in your business must have a level of understanding about why it is necessary to move operations to cloud computing. Make sure they know about all the benefits it offers and how it will help them with their work. Ensure they realise that there will be an impact on certain individuals by making the move. Invest time in communicating the cloud message, whether it is through meetings, podcasts, emails or social networking. It’s worthwhile creating a formal statement about moving to cloud, in order to convince any concerned members of staff.
If you are intending to move a lot of your work to the cloud, you should think about some staff training. This is especially relevant if your staff will be required to use the monitoring tools that your cloud provider has in place, or if there are certain processes that are likely to be altered as a result of the transition.