Cloud computing essentially means storing and accessing your data and applications over the internet instead of on your own computer or server.
The cloud is not new but is fast becoming the new norm for all businesses and government bodies. For modern organisations involved in the construction and maintenance industries, or any organisation with a mobile workforce, ensuring their people have access to data and critical business systems wherever they are helps to ensure you are more competitive and your people more productive.
Reduced IT costs
Cloud computing cuts out the high cost of on-site hardware. Using infrastructure in the cloud means you do not need to buy new servers every 3 years and you don’t need to worry about maintaining them as they break, or scaling as your organisation grows. Additionally, the subscription-based payment model that is inherent with cloud computing allows you to “pay-as-you-go” which improves your cash flow.
Improved disaster recovery
Disaster recovery involves policies, tools and procedures to allow the recovery or continuation of your IT systems following a natural or human-induced disaster. All organisations, large and small, should invest in rock-solid disaster recovery. Cloud computing helps organisations implement the necessary DR for their business as it is designed from the outset with specific DR requirements in place. DR processes and tools can include automated backups, replication at off-site data centres, as well as automated processes which are regularly tested in order to recover your data quickly in the event of a failure/disaster.
Scalability and flexibility
Gartner’s survey on CIOs and IT managers revealed that operational agility was a top driver for taking on the cloud. Operational agility here means that your business can easily scale up or down as the demand for your cloud applications/resources increases or decreases. This ability to be flexible and scale at ease gives the modern business a competitive advantage, as well as removing the lead time and IT headache involved when doing this with internal resources.
Work from anywhere
Cloud computing allows you to work from anywhere as long as you have an internet connection. Today, people are more mobile in their jobs and may work from home or even have long commutes. Also some workers, like project managers in construction companies, spend a large part of their day on the road and on-site. Cloud computing helps ensure that people today are much more productive when away from the office by giving them ready access to the tools and data they need to help contribute to the effectiveness of the organisation.
Automatic application upgrades
With cloud computing, servers are all off-site in secure data centres. As vendors, we take care of these for you and roll out regular software application updates, including security patches, so you don’t have to worry about this. This saves customers time and you can rest assured you are using the latest application versions with the latest security measures in place.
Effective data security
Information security is the new competitive advantage! Protecting your company’s intellectual property is a fundamental and critical business practice all organisations must invest in. Cloud computing generally offers higher security protocols and measures than most organisations can implement themselves, especially small to medium ones who do not have the capacity to implement the required measures. Cloud computing vendors take care of data backups, restoration, applying security patches, maintaining servers, and have well tested disaster recovery in place. By using cloud applications you also minimise the risk of employees taking data with them when they leave, or by losing data on a lost or stolen laptop.
Cloud computing by its nature means that the software is installed and the IT infrastructure is ready to be used by new customers. Removing the IT setup time reduces the need for companies to engage their own IT Administrator or subcontractor. This not only saves on costs but also allows new customers to start gaining the benefits of the cloud application much faster and allows you to get on with running your business.