The news has been saturated with cloud-related data security stories; it’s no surprise that business owners are more reluctant to move their operations and processes online than they might otherwise be. In a recent survey from Microsoft, 60 per cent of SME owners who hadn’t yet moved to the cloud listed security as their main concern.
Understandably data security is a major worry, but cloud technology shouldn’t make businesses feel uneasy. In fact, Microsoft also found that 94 per cent of SME owners who had made the big move gained security benefits that they hadn’t even thought about beforehand. The strict standards all cloud-service providers have to adhere to, combined with a solidly implemented, company-wide security policy, means that moving your operations to the cloud is a cost-effective, logical step that all businesses should consider.
If you’re still hesitant about migrating to the cloud, let me take you through four of the biggest benefits:
1. It’s A Money Saver
Improving cost-efficiency is pretty much top of the agenda for most businesses; and guess what, it’s one of the biggest benefits of moving to the Cloud. Cloud technology can manage all of your equipment updates, restores and security software, freeing your IT staff from time-consuming, repetitive admin tasks and reducing your IT budget by up to 80 per cent. Once your IT team has been relieved of responsibility for these mundane tasks, they can use their skills to take care of issues that are more pertinent to the success of your business.
The scalable nature of cloud technology is often glossed over, but it’s a crucial selling point. Businesses change constantly as employees come and go, for example, and with the Cloud you can control the technological impact of such changes easily. Whether you require more storage space or need to set up new accounts for your employees, cloud technology allows you to alter your software with almost immediate effect and very little time or effort.
3. Disaster Recovery
No matter how stringent your precautions, disasters do happen. But with cloud technology you can rest assured that your data is safe, knowing that if and when disaster occurs much of the work you would have to do is taken off your hands. Hosting your servers in the Cloud ensures that your data is safe from physical threats such as fire and flooding, while data encryption in these servers means that in the unlikely event your most sensitive data falls into the wrong hands, it is impossible to read.
With increasing numbers of employees working from home (the ONS estimates 4.2 million did so in the first quarter of 2014 – almost 15 per cent of the UK workforce), it is more important than ever to keep your processes easily accessible so that productivity is unaffected. This is where cloud-based systems come into their own: your employees can access a virtual office from which they can work at any time, and anywhere they have access to the Internet.
Legislation supports flexible working, with employees who have served more than 26 weeks given the right to request flexible hours. It makes sense to put in place the support structures you will need early on so productivity remains as high outside as it does inside the office.
Given the benefits listed here, it’s unsurprising that the global market for cloud applications is set to increase hugely over the coming years, with predictions that it will increase to $45.6 billion by 2017. It may seem like a big step now, but implementing cloud technology will future-proof your business and help you move to the next level.