Get Your Head In The Cloud
Roy L. Smith wrote that the successful businessman is the one who finds out what the matter is with his business before his competition does. Failure to anticipate or react to competition, technology or changes in the marketplace can lead a business into the red zone.
When last did you hear the phrase “Add me on Mxit”, or “Beep me on my pager” (assuming you’ve ever seen one)? Remember Kodak? The logo behind your dad’s old pictures of him wearing a half-buttoned up shirt and aviator sunglasses as he gazed into the oblivion of the ’80s? Yes, that one. Kodak actually patented the first digital camera back in 1975 that used magnetic tape to store images up to 100KB, but continued to focus on traditional film cameras and ignored the massive potential of digital, completely disregarding that the market was headed in that direction. When they finally got onto the digital market, they were selling their cameras at a loss, and couldn’t keep up with their competitors that had seen this potential earlier on.
So how do we keep up?
One of the many ways in which businesses are keeping up with the ever-changing requirements of speed, security and efficiency are by Cloud Computing. You’ve probably heard this term before, right? But what does it actually mean, and what can it do for you?
Remember those old CDs you used to install your software (like Microsoft Office and Outlook) from, or that one USB flash drive that was “borrowed” but never came back? Well, those items are now only fit for historical museums thanks to the Cloud.
In essence, Cloud Computing allows you to forget about those things; simply sign in, and either download or continue working on that document! Cloud Computing has also made it possible to instantly share files, and work on the same file simultaneously with your team, all the while giving the users information on who, how and when the file was last edited. Pretty neat, isn’t it?
From a cost to the business point of view, you only pay for the Cloud Computing resources you have used that month. This means that it won’t cost your clients an arm and a leg for this innovative service. Plus (yes, there’s more!), the Cloud has the ability to expand and contract depending on the number of requests being processed at that time, increasing processing during those peak hours when lots of people are connected, delivering quickly and seamlessly at all times. Now that’s fantastic!
Additionally, Cloud Computing services offer advanced business intelligence tools such as complex data analytics, processing, and reporting systems. A lot of these are available online at low price points, giving you the ability to track and trace the expansion of your business, ultimately helping you to make more informed decisions about how to conduct your business. And with easy backup and recovery options, as well as disaster recovery solutions, the need to invest in large data storage infrastructures is eliminated, saving you a ton.
What’s the catch?
As with anything, there is always a downside.
In this case, one of the major concerns with Cloud Computing user data is security. However, Cloud Computing providers have their own policies, procedures, controls, and technologies that work together to protect cloud-based systems, data, and infrastructure. There are also configured security measures that protect data, support regulatory compliance and protect customers’ privacy as well as setting authentication rules for individual users and devices. These security measures are also constantly updated to keep up with security demands. But Cloud security is not always foolproof. A few recent Cloud hacking cases have illuminated that not all Cloud providers are as secure as they preach to be. As a business, it’s essential to know which providers to trust and to understand the security roles associated with different Cloud types.
It may be problematic to rely on another party for support when experiencing technical problems as most of these cannot be resolved inhouse. Losing this control may be an issue if a problem arises after normal work hours as, depending on the provider, around the clock technical support may not be available.
Another con is the possible downtime due to the Cloud’s dependency on a network connection and having to be always connected in order to use its applications, send and receive files. If there’s no Internet, there is, unfortunately, no work.
The best part of this whole story is the Cloud is now everywhere, and it’s never been easier to make use of it. Cloud Computing has had and is continuing to have positive impacts on businesses such as increased productivity, enabling a flexible workspace and enabling more efficient support and communication for customers.
Who said you can’t sip on a pina colada, while watching the sunset, in Barbados, with just your tablet in the other hand? Have your cake and eat it too! We could spend hours talking about the implications of not being current with the needs of your business, but more importantly, we would like to engage with you and see how best we can help you take your business to the next level.
Adapt, thrive, and become a business Icon.