Today, 90% of companies use Cloud-hosted software.1 Cloud services went mainstream back in the 1990s. Salesforce was the first company to offer Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) over the Internet.2 Nowadays, a company’s entire IT infrastructure (IaaS) can be hosted in the Cloud. So, what are Cloud services? And does your business need them?
What is Cloud computing?
In the past, software was installed on local computers or the company’s server. These days, software is hosted in the Cloud and is accessible from anywhere, on any device with an Internet connection. A Cloud is nothing more than a series of virtual computers running on servers distributed across one or more data centres. Three major advantages of Cloud computing are low-cost, scalability and reliability (sometimes called redundancy).
Private, public and hybrid Cloud
Cloud computing come in three basic types. First, a private Cloud is one solely dedicated to your organisation. Typically, a private Cloud has higher levels of security and privacy. Modern Networks offers a private network solution to commercial property customers, for example. Second, a public Cloud delivers a variety of services over the Internet to multiple companies. The public Cloud is affordable, scalable and highly flexible. And finally, a hybrid Cloud is a combination of private and public. A hybrid Cloud solution offers scalability with strong security, reliability and cost control.
Affordable and accessible
One of the obvious business benefits of Cloud services is you don’t have to install, update or maintain applications or invest in expensive IT hardware. That’s time, money and resources you can spend elsewhere.
For organisations with multiple offices or staff working remotely from home, Cloud services enable collaboration. Microsoft SharePoint provides a secure Cloud-based document warehouse easily accessible to everyone within a company, for example.
One of the main benefits of Cloud computing is the ability to backup and store data. At one time, any data stored locally on a laptop was gone forever if the device was lost or stolen. Similarly, any data stored on a local server was at risk from incidents like fire and flood. Cloud computing provides an easy method of data backup and storage. Microsoft OneDrive automatically backs-up all folders, files and images from your PC. Now you can access your desktop data from anywhere.
Cyberattack is a constant threat to even the smallest business. Today’s cybercriminals use automated tools that scan for weaknesses in IT systems. They attack indiscriminately whenever they find a security weakness. However, Cloud computing provides robust data protection. Microsoft 365 comes fully armed with an array of cybersecurity defences such as password protection, virus scanning, suspicious activity monitoring, ransomware detection and data encryption.
Cloud-hosted telephony offers numerous business benefits. First, you no longer have to buy, install and maintain a physical PBX phone system in your workplace. Instead, a third party provider will host your phone system in the Cloud, commonly referred to as VoIP (voice over Internet protocol). Second, Cloud telephony enables you to integrate business applications such as Microsoft 365 and CRM systems. This can help streamline your business processes and improve the customer experience.
Third, Cloud telephony offers an extensive range of advanced call features such as instant messaging, video calls, screen sharing, auto-attendant, call recording and voice response. Additionally, you get low-cost calls. Finally, Cloud telephony is great for mobile and remote workers, who can access all the advanced call features from anywhere, on any device with an Internet connection.
Since 2020, BT has stopped taking orders for PSTN and ISDN telephone systems. In 2025, BT will switch-off the old analogue (copper cable) telephone network. Instead, all customers will have to move to VoIP and SIP alternatives. So, now has never been a better time to invest in Cloud telephony.
In the past, an incident such as a building fire or flood at your workplace would have been a disaster. Your telephone hardware would have been ruined, and your business unable to operate. In contrast, a Cloud telephone system isn’t vulnerable to local accidental or malicious damage. Employees can simply work from home or anywhere with an Internet connection if access to the workplace is compromised.
Reduce capital expenditure
Cloud services reduce a business’s capital expenditure. The Cloud has replaced the need to buy, install and maintain expensive pieces of hardware such as on-site servers and PBX telephone systems. Instead, you only pay for the services you consume on a predictable monthly subscription. Additionally, operational expenses like Cloud computing are UK tax deductible.
Your Cloud service provider will layout everything you can expect from them in your Service Level Agreement (SLA). This will cover items such as service availability, maintenance, security, updates, technical support and response/resolution timescales.
In summary, a move to the Cloud can save you time and money that would otherwise be spent on expensive IT hardware. Cloud services enable a dispersed workforce to work efficiently together. Similarly, Cloud-hosted telephony offers a wide selection of advanced business features at less cost. The Cloud also plays a pivotal role in data backup, security and disaster recovery. Finally, Cloud services allow organisations to reduce capital expenditure; obtain the right IT systems affordably; and focus limited resources on core business activities.
To learn more about Cloud services for your business, contact us today.