Company leaders around the world are migrating to online cloud management solutions for good reasons: Not only has the cloud proven to be safer and more disaster resistant but it can also save business owners significantly over time. Additionally, Cloud giants such as Amazon, Azure, and Google have ramped up their market offerings, allowing greater customizations and options for consumers.
According to a PC Magazine article, the cloud essentially means “storing and accessing data and programs over the Internet instead of your computer’s hard drive.” The cloud offers many benefits, including flexibility, disaster protection, data backup, and cost savings.
For owners of large and small businesses alike, the last benefit is particularly enticing. Across industries, the cloud can provide significant cost savings in:
- Capital expenses — Capital expenses in tax lingo refers to any cost incurred to purchase or enhance a long-term asset. These can include computers, servers, and any other hardware business leaders purchase to secure company data. By migrating to the cloud, company decision-makers can save on these on-site expenditures by letting their cloud service providers handle the costs.
- Operating costs — By moving data and operations to the cloud, company leaders may see savings by outsourcing costs associated with support and maintenance services as well as save internal time employees would otherwise spend on data protection.
- Indirect savings — When business owners move their companies to the cloud, they’re also likely to notice smaller amounts of indirect savings. For example, while company leaders must invest in backup storage and equipment that leads to redundancy expenses to secure their own data, they may also notice reductions in setup time and delays that would otherwise deter sales and operations.
Over time, these savings can significantly impact companies’ bottom lines. Furthermore — depending on business size and necessary cloud services — some realize additional cloud savings. Although these savings can sound enticing, you should also be mindful of the challenges they pose if you’re considering a move.
- Pay as you go — Many cloud providers offer pay-as-you-go or -use services, meaning customers only pay for what they use. How much will you use? If there are set limits, what happens if you go over a certain amount? Can you transition all your data to the cloud in one step? As more leaders take their businesses to the cloud, cost containment will likely continue to be an important infrastructure concern.
- Scalability — Cloud computing services make it much easier for business owners to scale and adapt more quickly to changing business demands. How will that balance out with the additional IT staff expenses or training time necessary for in-house employees to manage cloud apps, services, and users? It’s important for business leaders to be knowledgeable in IT and burgeoning technologies as well as to know where to store and how to secure backup data, whether through public, private, or hybrid cloud services.
- Shared resources and data security — When partnering with a cloud service provider, the technology, hardware, software, operations, and support resources are all shared rather than owned, meaning users share the costs of these features as well. Will you have to switch to a new cloud service provider if yours doesn’t update these offerings quickly enough? How can you be sure your data is protected when using shared services? Will your costs go up when your provider introduces new resources — even if you don’t use them? Security and costs will continue to be major concerns as more users share these resources.
- Containers — According to the CIO article, “Containers enable developers to manage software code, particularly software developed for cloud apps.” Although they allow more flexibility, it’ll be important for business leaders to hire skilled IT talent to develop these containers and map their contents to ensure business continuity as they move applications to the cloud. In addition, security plays another strong role here. Open platforms, such as Docker, allow Devops teams to to build, ship, and run distributed applications efficiently.
Keep in mind, technology is never “one size fits all.” You may have to factor in some additional cloud needs and uses when determining whether migration makes sense for your business. For example, some cloud computing service providers charge fees for shifting data storage back to on-premise models, so the cloud may not be the best choice for all business leaders. Your best option? Work with a professional to determine the tools to best fit your company.