Using Cloud Computing

We recently posted an article to our website about cloud computing, which in essence means accessing computing services remotely, rather than via your own servers. 

There are advantages and disadvantages to this method of storing your data and applications. A sensible approach is to use the positive aspects of it to your advantage, but be more cautious in those areas where it is as yet unproven or has risks which are yet to be fully addressed and resolved. 

The most effective uses for the cloud are often those where off-site facilities would be of positive benefit, such as back-ups and business continuity which you can read about in How to Help your Business Survive Disasters. However, there are a number of other situations where the cloud deserves serious consideration, such as;

  • Where mobility is key. If you have remote workers or are often out of the office, cloud solutions can help you access stored files, data and software applications.
  • For ‘Software as a Service’ applications. For example, smaller accountancy firms often use cloud solutions rather than having to purchase their own Sage packages.
  • New business start-ups. All software and kit needed can be rented for a fixed, regular payment and then expanded as necessary, rather than investing capital in purchases.

Where you have to be careful with the cloud is applications that promise better service than is currently available with existing servers, but at a fraction of the cost. If you’re thinking of using it to save money as opposed to enhancing your operational abilities, think carefully. We’re not saying it won’t, but there are some costs associated with it that you might not have expected, such as service rental costs and upgrading broadband connections. 

There are also risks associated with it. Your data would be under someone else’s control rather than yours and everything you did would require a link outside the office, via your broadband connection. If your broadband went down or was running slow, you would have issues accessing files, software and data, rather than it just being limited to your internet and email. 

Our advice is generally to use the cloud for certain applications rather than seeing it as a complete solution, unless you are a new business start-up. Some of the potential applications could include providing remote working capabilities and as part of your business continuity and back-up arrangements. 

Visit the website for more details on the range of cloud computing services P&L Networks can provide. 

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