As technologies emerge and trends change, organizations face massive paradigm shifts involving the tools and methods they use to conduct business. Right now, we’re in the middle of one of the most significant shifts in decades; more and more businesses are relying on cloud computing.
Cloud computing is a very broad term describing the usage of off-site computing. Essentially, when you use a cloud-based service, you are using someone else’s computer to store and process data. Just for reference, let’s say you are using Bob’s computer.
Bob basically rents some of his computer’s resources to you. Depending on the cloud provider, they might sell computing resources based on storage, processing power, bandwidth, or just how many accounts you need. In order for Bob to keep you as a customer, he needs to have these computing resources readily available. They need to be safe and secure. On top of that, Bob needs to sell you the computing resources for less than you’d pay for purchasing them yourself, taking into consideration the cost of managing, maintaining, and protecting your IT investment.
Those last few points are all the difference. Uptime and security are crucial for small business success, and businesses either need to proactively manage and maintain their IT or be prepared for unexpected costs when problems occur.
Bob can do something that most small businesses can’t. He doesn’t just manage the computer he’s renting to you. He’s managing hundreds or thousands of virtual computers, located all in one data center. This brings the costs-per-unit down. While keeping everything secure is still not necessarily an easy task, Bob is able to control the infrastructure as a whole and invest in higher-end solutions that a small business might not be able to justify for a smaller IT footprint.
This tends to mean better security, better capabilities, and even cutting-edge solutions that keep your business in line with your competitors for less money.
So why does this sound so good?
This is Nothing New
If we look back at the late 1890s, long before businesses were worried about computers crashing or malware infections, they were concerned with generating their own electricity. Factories required onsite generators that were expensive, inefficient, and difficult to maintain. In some cases, staff needed to be kept on hand just to keep operations moving. If a generator failed, productivity would stop.
At the turn of the century, in Chicago, the Edison Power Company changed all that. They were able to provide reliable, cleaner electricity to factories for less money in the long run. The cost per unit was cheaper for the Edison Power Company because they could manage and maintain their infrastructure and focus on the specialized staff and equipment to do so. In just 20 years, utilizing the power grid was commonplace and the paradigm shift made its full course.
The Cloud is Essentially the Same Thing
Where businesses today wouldn’t imagine producing their own electricity in-house, years from now many businesses will likely have the same thoughts about their IT infrastructure. With a rapid shift from on-premise servers and infrastructure to cloud-based IT, and the explosion of mobile computing, many businesses are moving away from servers and even traditional desktops altogether. Services like email, document management, line-of-business applications, and much more are all being delivered through the cloud, with more features and security at lower costs.
This future isn’t far off – many businesses have been virtualizing their servers and desktops for years, and replacing expensive in-house systems with cloud-based solutions where the responsibilities of managing and protecting the infrastructure are no longer on their shoulders.
It’s time to take a serious look at your infrastructure. Your next major upgrade or replacement could be your first step into a more reliable, cost-effective cloud solution. The experts at ActiveCo Technology Management would be happy to review your needs and help guide you through this shift. To learn more, give us a call at (604) 425-3433.