Why We Love Cloud Services (and You Should Too)
We know, we know. Every day, we talk to business owners and IT professionals clinging to their old servers, old processes, old ways of doing things.
Some are worried about reliability or security—can I really trust a third party to care about my business as much as I do, and protect my data as well as I would? Others are just plain worried about their jobs—will my skills translate to the new cloud future? Will there be enough work to keep current staff busy? Plus, if business still seems to be going pretty well … if it ain’t broke, right?
Well, we’re here to tell you that most of those old fears about cloud services are unfounded in 2018—if they ever had much merit in the first place. But more than that, when you let fear, uncertainty, doubt, or even just plain complacency make your business decisions for you, you’re risking a lot more that a couple of jobs. The cloud can make your company more agile, more secure, and more cost effective. If you don’t take the opportunity, you can bet your competitors will. And that could mean the beginning of the end.
But we’re not to scare you into letting go and jumping into the cloud! Instead, let’s focus on all the reasons why we love it—and why you should too.
Lower (and More Predictable) Costs
When you house and maintain your own physical infrastructure, there are a lot of associated costs you might not think about. The value of the floorspace or power usage. The amount of time and labor your IT staff has to dedicate to the upkeep.
Plus, any time you want to upgrade your system, you need a sink a large capital investment up front to cover the cost. A few years ago, the local news had a story (which later made the rounds around the Internet) about how the Grand Rapids Public Schools were still using a 30-year-old Commodore Amiga (!) to run the HVAC system in 19 schools. Many businesses and even government organizations similarly cling to long-outdated equipment and systems because there’s “no money” to upgrade.
But in the cloud, you simply pay a low monthly fee for all the services you need. Setup and installation costs tend to be minimal. Now, instead of heavy capital expenses at irregular intervals, your telecom becomes a manageable, predictable operating expense that you can depend on and plan for.
You’re not even really paying extra in the long run for the convenience, either, since economies of scale on the part of the cloud services provider allow the total cost of ownership to be lower in most cases for businesses.
Security, Reliability, and Uptime
The security of your data and reliability of your network are among of the biggest fears companies have about cloud services. But the truth is usually the exact opposite, and the switch to the cloud is actually a substantial reliability and security upgrade for most businesses.
On the security front, a quality cloud provider will have systems that are constantly upgraded and monitored for unauthorized breaches. They’ll also generally have multiple backup servers and systems spread out over a wide geographic area, meaning that even if, say, a tornado knocks out an entire data center, you’ll stay up and running with minimal (if any) downtime or loss of data. Plus, if anything happens off hours, most cloud providers offer 24/7 support.
Meanwhile, how secure is your on-site system—really? If the system goes down at 3 a.m. on Sunday morning—or, say, the sprinkler system at your office malfunctions and ruins a bunch of equipment—how long before anyone at your company notices? How long before it gets fixed? Every hour you’re down represents significant lost productivity, income, and reputation with your clients and customers.
With physical hardware, it’s much more difficult and expensive to add capacity during times of unexpected growth—or to reduce capacity and expense during a period of contraction. If your forecasts aren’t right on the money, you could end up with a congested network that doesn’t meet your needs, or conversely pay for way more than you need. Of course, if demand typically fluctuates throughout the year, you’ll need beefy enough systems to handle the rush—even if it only lasts two months per year.
But cloud services scale much more easily, quickly, and affordably. Rather than making purchasing decisions based on where you think you’ll be in five years, you can add or subtract as you need, and only pay for what you need right now.
With aging hardware, certain data, applications, and tools might be locked to a specific physical location or set of locations—namely, your offices. An employee who needs to work from home or on the road might be forced to work with a limited set of applications or restricted access—if they can even get in at all.
With the latest cloud services, you can knock down those walls (real and artificial) and make the entire world your office, whether they work off a laptop, tablet, or even mobile phone. Unified communications as a service (UCaaS) tools can take collaboration to the next level, putting real-time document sharing, virtual meetings, and integrated communications in the hands of employees, no matter where they are or what device they’re using.
More Productive Use of Time
Be honest: How much time does your IT staff spend just keeping systems up and running? Patching and fixing network systems when they break? Monitoring the system? Upgrading security? This may be essential work, but it contributes only indirectly to the core business. It’s time and effort spent in service of maintaining the status quo—or more bluntly, keeping the bottom from falling out—rather than on adding value.
When you free your IT team from the burden of this responsibility, you can put them to use in ways that more directly benefit the bottom line. While your cloud provider worries about the 24/7 maintenance tasks, your internal team can be directly helping your sales force and strategizing for the future. Plus, the fact that the cloud tends to offer faster and more reliable services, with a broader suite of collaborative and communication tools, means that all your employees can be more productive.
Now, if you want another suggestion for how to use your time productively, we suggest you use the next couple of minutes to call TelDesigns and set up a consultation. We’re not just another telecom company, and we’d like a chance to show you how we can save you money, get your workforce on the same page, and boost your productivity and efficiency with customized services to meet your business needs.