Whether or not we’re aware, many of us use cloud networking in some form every single day. Many of our potential clients who seem reluctant to adopt cloud computing into their digital strategy are surprised when we point out just how often cloud networks are leveraged every day, and how much value these technologies bring to users.
Shall we name a few examples?
Many of us use social media throughout the day. The proliferation of social media has become so widespread that recent studies suggest over the course of a lifetime, a person might spend 5 years, and 4 months on social media! You might also be interested to learn that Facebook and other platforms are deployed through cloud networks.
Other cloud computing applications that help businesses run more smoothly and are used daily include:
- Google Drive
Obviously, you don’t have to guess that the Continuous team advocates for all businesses to adopt cloud computing internally to help improve productivity and communication. Some business owners or IT managers are still understandably hesitant to undertake the installation of a cloud network.
Today’s blog post is to help outline reasons why right now is the best time to take the initiative to implement a cloud network.
WAYS BUSINESSES USE CLOUD COMPUTING
It’s been made clear several ways most of us currently use cloud networks, but how does that translate into the business landscape? In most cases, a business isn’t generating revenue from their employees using Facebook throughout the day.
In fact, many IT teams have blocked Facebook and other social media platforms from being accessed at all from work machines.
So let’s talk about ways that businesses leverage a cloud network to increase productivity:
Backup and Disaster Recovery
Hopefully, the concept of backing up critical data isn’t a new and wild idea. Regular backups of customer data, trade secrets, and marketing information can help protect from the unforeseen – like a natural disaster.
A cloud-based data backup solution stores that information off-site, adding an additional layer of protection. An external hard-drive or on-site servers are just fine, except if both are under the same roof after an electrical fire breaks out.
Bonus Tip – We recommend testing your backup and disaster recovery plan often, the efficacy of a plan is only as good as the last test. For many businesses, once-a-quarter testing of a disaster backup and recovery plan is a smart play.
This is one aspect of your cloud environment where you don’t want surprises.
Testing & Development
If you work for a digital creative agency, or even if you have someone on staff that provides updates to a company website, or creates new digital assets, a cloud-based development environment can allow for better testing before changes go live.
Ask any developer or designer and they’ll attest that plenty of stuff can “break” that you don’t expect during a build-out.
It’s far easier to test in a cloud environment than scrambling to find bugs and fix them on the fly. It’s never a great plan to have your potential customers also act as the Quality Assurance team as well.
File Storing and Sharing
This is the most common luxury afforded to teams that implement a cloud network. Important company files, meeting notes, leads, and presentations can be accessed from anywhere in the world with an internet connection.
The business landscape is going through a shift, the idea that the entire team needs to be all under the same roof to accomplish essential job functions is fading away – and cloud computing is allowing remote workforces to become the new normal.
Businesses during a growth phase need to keep the concept of scalability at the top of mind.
Growth is good, it means more business and more revenue but it also typically means more overhead costs. Employees, hardware, inputs, and training are all very expensive but leveraging a cloud network is a smart idea during growth phases because cloud resources are scalable.
Many providers set up flexible contracts so that a business only pays for the services and accessibility that is needed at that time.
Reducing IT spending without having to sacrifice functionality of accessibility is a smart way to approach growth.
WHY DO PEOPLE HOLD OUT?
We’re not here to tell you that a cloud network is a silver-bullet answer to all your productivity concerns.
For many businesses, a cloud network has directly contributed to their team being more successful, but there are limitations one should know about when using a cloud network.
The primary concern for a company considering a cloud network is access to the internet. For the cloud to function properly, there must be access to the internet. This means if your remote workforce is suddenly kicked off the grid, or the business is experiencing connectivity issues, access to the cloud network will be hampered.
For businesses in certain industries, compliance issues can also be a deterrent to fully embracing a cloud environment. Laws and regulations like those stated in HIPAA, Gramm-Leach-Bliley, or Sarbanes-Oxley require businesses to control and protect data. Accessibility to certain data, and the methods under which it is stored become critically important.
Many providers have SAS 70 certifications, which provide some protection but ultimately, as a business owner the responsibility falls squarely on your shoulders if data stored in the cloud is compromised.
Concerning Cloud Security
We’d be remiss if we didn’t take a minute to discuss cloud security. The truth is that having data stored in the cloud might seem riskier given all the extra human elements in the equation that you can’t control.
But in many cases, a cloud network provides a more secure way to access and store data.
Have you had a chance to read Continuous’ guide to moving to a cloud? We provide the guide completely free on our website, “5 Critical Facts Every Business Owner Must Know Before Moving Their Network To The Cloud”.
On the subject of cloud network security, we have this to share from the report:
Just because your server is on-site doesn’t make it more secure; in fact, most small to medium businesses can’t justify the cost of securing their network the way a cloud provider can. And most security breaches occur due to human error; one of your employees downloads a file that contains a virus, they don’t use secure passwords or they simply e-mail confidential information out to people who shouldn’t see it.
Other security breaches occur in on-site networks because the company didn’t properly maintain its own in-house network with security updates, software patches and up-to-date antivirus software. That’s a FAR more common way networks get compromised vs. a cloud provider getting hacked.
INTERVIEWING A CLOUD CONSULTANT
If the benefits of the cloud seem obvious after reading this, but the technical implementation isn’t your area of expertise, consider bringing in an IT consultant to help. Continuous has been helping businesses run more smoothly with IT solutions since 1997, and we’ve seen firsthand how cloud networking can help take productivity to the next level.
Our guide offers critical answers to questions you should consider asking any IT consultant before you let them touch your technology.
We encourage you to download the guide for free and give it a read. If you’d like to schedule a free consultation, make sure you fill out the simple form on the Continuous Networks homepage.