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What actually is “The Cloud”?

Posted November 27th, 2014 by Cambridge Online

What actually is “The Cloud”?

It’s a term that we have all been hearing more and more of when discussing the future of personal and business computing. But, what actually is “The Cloud”? For many it is the future on how we operate and do business.

Here at Cambridge Online, we are part of the G-Cloud Framework which is a secure Government approved cloud service. Our Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2015 and CRM products are all available on a cloud platform (Microsoft Azure) but what does this actually mean and what would the benefits be of moving to the cloud be for SME’s?

Firstly, it has the flexibility to change as you change.

Scalability

While the economy continues to recover, businesses are seeing the need to expand their operations. Normally this means investment in new IT infrastructure and personnel and both are time consuming and costly. If the SME’s chose to base their systems on our cloud-based service, they could quickly and cheaply scale up their requirements when it suits them and have the experts on call whenever it was needed.

Flexible Working

Having systems that are based within the cloud such as ERP’s and Finance systems, it gives SME’s the ability to work from anywhere and everywhere that has an internet connection which provides ultimate flexibility and working practices. This results in the opportunity then to be given to the employees to be more flexible in how and where they work. They have the ability to access their systems from home, or while on the road, travelling for business purposes.

Being part of a cloud based systems also gives you the chance to reduce costs.

Reduced IT Costs

Making the move to cloud computing should reduce the costs of managing and maintaining IT systems for SME’s. Instead of purchasing costly systems and servers for their businesses, SME’s can reduce their costs by using the resources of the cloud computing service provider. This also means that if they choose to do so, they can use cheaper PC’s because all the processing power required to run their systems is based in the cloud.

Reduced Capital Expenditure

Something that not every knows is that cloud computing is pay as you go which means there is no need for capital expenditure at all. And because cloud computing is much quicker to deploy, SME’s then have minimal project start-up costs and predictable ongoing operating expenses.

Reduced Staffing Costs

Cloud vendors employ teams of experts that are dedicated to ensuring continuity of service. This means SME’s no longer need as many staff to keep their systems and servers running.

Reduces Energy Costs

SME’s that use cloud computing services only use the server space they need which decreases their carbon footprint. Using the cloud results in at least 30% less energy consumption and carbon emissions than using normal on-site servers. And again, SME’s get the most benefit because for small companies, the cut in energy use and carbon emissions is likely to be 90%.

And maybe most importantly, it gives you peace of mind.

Stronger Security

In the early day, many people had concerns about how secure the cloud service actually was. As cloud computing has grown, businesses have gained a much better understanding of how it actually works and this has given many people’s concerns have been put to rest. The finance system aspect was specifically cause for some strong apprehension.

For many SME’s cloud computing actually improves their company’s defences rather than weakening their IT security. This is down to the vast amounts of money cloud providers spend on securing their infrastructure and keeping their customers data safe. These service providers can afford to invest in the latest solutions and preventative approaches whereas the relatively few individual business can to the same degree.

Always up-to-date

Every single provider of cloud computing is responsible for server, software and network management. Upgrades are provided at the vendor-end and not in-house which saves SME’s both money and time. When the cloud provider invests in new solutions, these are made available to all their customers at no extra cost which when you are working with “real time” data through ERP’s and finance systems, is of particular value.

Continuity of Business

In the event of a disaster, whether fire, flood, theft, technology outage or snow and ice, with their systems ERP’s and finance systems on the cloud, the SME’s have the option of allowing their employees to work from different locations. They can log on as normal, access their work desktop and continue as they would have done any other workday. It also means that vital documentation and records are not lost.

Call the Cambridge Online team today on 01223 422600 to speak to members of the sales team in more detail about how moving to the cloud could be good for your business and also how Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2015 and CRM can increase profitability in the long term. 

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