Cloud computing has become one of the most commonly used phrases when talking about everything from smart phones to corporate IT infrastructure, yet in the world of the SME, very few people seem to know what it means, or more importantly, what it can do to enhance their business. In its simplest form, cloud computing is the process by which IT services, applications and data are stored on servers in a remote location such as a data centre and delivered over a network, in most cases the internet.
The benefits of using the cloud for SMEs are many. It saves on the need to purchase expensive hardware and software, giving them access to the latest technology and computer programmes without the huge costs associated with buying them outright. Through a ‘virtual desktop’ a computer’s desktop space can be expanded beyond what is physically available and is useful for workers who may need to utilise many different programmes at once. In this respect it allows smaller businesses to compete on a more level playing field with much larger organisations.
As the data is stored remotely, it is perfect for businesses that need to access their data on-the-go, and allows for features such as automatic data backup and easy restoration in the event of a disaster, something which is absolutely crucial for every business. Simply ask yourself how long you would survive if you couldn’t access key data, client information and financial records –the honest answer is not long at all.
Cloud computing also delivers economies of scale as any good cloud provider will allow you to expand or reduce your server space in line with the current requirements of your businesses, making it a far more cost effective option in the long term.
You only have to look at the picture in America to see that the move to the cloud is the way forward. Google spent $1.9b on data centres to host their cloud services in the second quarter of 2015 alone, while according to the technology research group Gartner, the nationwide spend for this year is expected to hit $143b.
Certus Technology Group launched their own data centre in 2011 in response to the huge growth in demand for cloud services in the UK, and were fortunate enough to find the perfect home in Next Generation Data’s (NGD) world-class facility in Newport. Not only is it highly secure but thanks to a quirk in the original design, it is also earthquake proof! It means that our clients know when they entrust their data to us it is 100% secure, and that they can access it 24 hours a day without any disruptions or unscheduled downtime.
There is no doubt that cloud computing is the future, and in Wales, we are lucky enough to have one of Europe’s largest Tier 3 facilities on our doorstep in the form of NGD. For SMEs UK wide it should no longer be a case of asking ‘what is cloud computing’ but more ‘what can it do for me’.