Are you a small business owner still unsure if you should get on board with the cloud? While cloud computing might seem like the latest fad, it’s actually one of the most useful technological advances we’ve seen in years.
The individual components of a cloud network aren’t impressive on their own. Cloud networks are comprised of servers with specific hardware specs, software, security components, and other computer resources. What makes a cloud network impressive and advantageous is the way these resources are connected and used.
Cloud networks are extremely flexible, which is why major software companies like Adobe and Microsoft now host applications in the cloud. In addition to flexibility, cloud networks offer a variety of benefits to small businesses.
1. Cloud networks harness multiplied power on-demand
Cloud networks are designed to harness virtually unlimited computing power from a group of servers. Unlike traditional networks, which rely solely on a single server’s resources, a cloud network can pool together resources from multiple servers to increase the allocated resources on-demand.
Say your business runs a special promotion for Mother’s Day. With any amount of marketing, you can expect your website traffic to increase during your promotion. If your webhosting plan doesn’t have enough allocated resources to handle the spike in traffic, your website will slow down and might go completely offline.
Most standard hosting companies automatically disable websites that exceed their bandwidth limit. With a cloud hosting environment, your traffic spikes will be fully supported by the network. The moment your site experiences a surge in traffic, you’ll be provided with additional bandwidth up to a virtually unlimited amount (depending on your hosting company and your plan).
2. Cloud networks are excellent with data backups and restoration
Cloud backups and restorations are more reliable than manual backups when large quantities of data or multiple machines are involved. If you look at some examples of real clients who have experienced data disasters, it’s easy to see the benefits of the cloud. For example, a Portland-based IT Service company had to clean up $20,000 worth of damage done to an auto body shop by a computer virus. Had the auto body shop had a managed IT services plan, the restoration would have cost less than $1,000.
If your company is still performing backups manually with external hard drives (or not at all), cloud networks offer a better and more secure way. A cloud network can be programmed to perform automatic backups of all company servers and employee computers while connected to the network. Imagine all the time you can save when your backups are completed automatically in the cloud.
Most cloud providers offer options for hourly, daily, weekly, and monthly backups and will keep backups for your specified period of time. You’ll also get regularly scheduled maintenance and 24/7 server monitoring.
3. Cloud resources can be paid for on-demand
Just like an on-demand movie service, a cloud network provides resources on-demand and you only pay for what you actually use. For example, say you’re running your company’s network in the cloud and you host virtual video meetings on the last Friday of each month. On those Fridays, you’ll inevitably use more server resources than other days. However, you won’t need to pay for those additional resources unless you actually use them.
With a cloud network, the cost savings are enormous. With a standard server, you’re limited by that server’s hardware and software capacity. If you want access to computing resources that can handle hosting a video chat with your entire team, you need to pay for a server with that capability, whether you use the resources or not.
A cloud server that spins up resources on-demand will generally cost less money on a monthly basis and you’ll only be charged for extra resources when you actually use those resources.
4. Cloud networks allow businesses to hire remote employees
If your business hires remote employees, but requires them to be local so they can access the company network in person, you will benefit from a cloud network.
Cloud networks allow authorized users to access your company network from an internet connection anywhere in the world. When you have a cloud network, you can choose to hire top talent regardless of where they live. This benefit opens up the possibility of hiring the talent you want rather than having to stick to local applicants.
Cloud computing is becoming mainstream
Survey data projects that most businesses will move the majority of IT off-premise and into the cloud within the next couple of years. If you haven’t moved to the cloud yet, it’s a good time to get started. With a cloud-based network, you’ll have more time to focus on making your business profitable.