How cloud computing brings value, flexibility and innovation to your business
In this article we explain the benefits of moving to the cloud:
- What is the cloud?
- Why should I move to the cloud?
- What do some key cloud services terms mean?
- The tangible advantages of moving to the cloud
Watch our short video for a quick overview:
For more details, read this article to gain a clear understanding of how cloud computing can improve your business performance and answer your questions on cloud computing.
What is the cloud?
Cloud computing means technology services and infrastructure that are provided over the internet. Data is stored off-site, minimising risks and costs. The traditional alternative is “on-prem” (on-premises) infrastructure, meaning hardware in your offices or on the premises of an outsourced computing provider. Cloud facilities and services can include servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics and intelligence. Customers access cloud services and manage their accounts using a web browser.
IaaS and SaaS
These abbreviations stand for Infrastructure as a Service and Software as a Service. IaaS and SaaS are two of the most common ways to gain value, flexibility and capability from the cloud.
IaaS means renting IT infrastructure (servers, virtual machines, storage, networks and operating systems) on a pay-as-you-go basis. SaaS means that the cloud provider hosts and manages software applications and underlying infrastructure on a per-user subscription basis. They also take responsibility for software maintenance, upgrades and security patching.
Different types of cloud
Public cloud – such as Microsoft Azure. Microsoft owns and manages all the hardware, software and other supporting infrastructure.
Private cloud – a single organisation has exclusive use of cloud computing resources. A private cloud can be located on-site in the company’s data centre, or a third party can host it. The private cloud’s services and infrastructure are maintained on a private network.
Why move from on-premise to cloud?
Hosting on-prem is relatively expensive. If you have servers, storage and data processing hardware, software, applications and infrastructure hosted on your premises, you’ll know this. It takes time, expertise and money to maintain and update these resources to keep pace with market demands and growth. When you migrate to cloud computing, you cut IT capital and operating costs and gain the flexibility to scale technology as your business needs change.
Cloud computing has been hailed as a revolution in IT. When you consider the benefits it can bring, it’s not surprising that so many organisations have been eager to upgrade to the cloud. To help answer the question, “Should I move to the Cloud?” here are some specific benefits.
8 advantages of moving to the cloud
Cloud infrastructure, software and services take away the traditionally high operating costs of IT. Customers pay on a subscription basis for the service. You can dispense with your maintenance overheads and redeploy your IT team on more valuable digital development activities. Powerful and robust IT is the engine room of a business: cloud computing means you can access the latest technology infrastructure and software affordably.
Pay for what you need
Cloud computing means you can pick and choose the applications, services and features you need and only pay for them. This is a great alternative to buying an inflexible system or software package with additional update costs. Using Microsoft’s Cloud platform, Azure, you can continue to use familiar tools and software, maximising user productivity.
Flex up or down
When you need to increase server capacity, add users or manage an increase in demand, you can instantly add more capacity in the cloud. If those requirements change, you can flex up or down. You don’t have a long-term commitment to infrastructure costs, which is inevitable with on-prem facilities. Instead, you flex capacity and services to fit your current business needs precisely.
The biggest cloud computing services, like Microsoft Azure, use a global network of secure data centres, with the latest generation of fast and efficient computing hardware. That means you get fast and reliable performance, with the network sharing demand and load across multiple sites so there’s always enough power, storage and bandwidth for everyone who needs it.
Stay up to date
Updates are automatic, with no downtime, so there’s no impact on business performance and no requirement for local upgrades or maintenance. All your Microsoft systems will be fully integrated and compatible in the latest versions.
Your teams can access and make use of faster and more effective productivity features and functions as soon as they are available. Companies can leverage their investment in Microsoft products such as Outlook, by having the capability to complete day-to-day tasks all within one application and eradicating the need to use multiple systems and time-consuming processes.
Microsoft’s cloud data centres are monitored 24/7 by 3,500 cybersecurity experts and intelligent systems that prevent and protect from security breaches. Microsoft invests over one billion dollars annually in security development. This means your data and transactions are safeguarded by industry-leading protocols and software. Protection is applied automatically and continually updated to stay ahead of threats. You can also rely on compliance with data transfer and protection legislation including GDPR: it’s easy to control, process, store, audit and erase your data securely.
Reliable, optimised technology
The scale and sophistication of the Microsoft cloud means that maintenance and updates are carried out with no loss of service to users. Microsoft uses only local servers for your business needs. Recovery and back-up servers are instantly available and provide extra peace of mind for data security. Using automated processes, the cloud monitors and continually optimises its server speed and performance. With up-time guaranteed by Microsoft, your team can always work fast and effectively to deliver excellent customer response and experience.
Innovate and adapt
Constant access to the latest versions of tools and apps in the Microsoft cloud means your team always benefits from technology innovation. That helps them collaborate and carry out tasks faster and more efficiently. Inbuilt analytics and reporting dashboards generate business intelligence that helps you predict demand and shape customer experiences.
Access from anywhere
Cloud software, services and infrastructure are accessible from any device. Your teams may increasingly be deployed in the field, on client premises, at home or in the office. Cloud computing brings secure, anytime access to mobile or desktop devices so employees can use any combination of locations and technology that suits their workstyle.
They can collaborate effectively whenever and wherever they are, supported by a single platform and all the business apps they need. They can access real-time data and intelligent insights. That means employees in every area of your business can be more responsive to customer demands.
Should I move to the cloud?
“We’re investing in the latest and best digital technology to enhance functionality in the future for our business. Our new cloud-based Microsoft Dynamics solution is far more reliable, agile and easier to develop and refine.”
Sandi Leonties, Change and Innovation Manager, Lewisham Council
Talk to an Xpedition consultant or your Account Manager if you’d like to understand exactly how moving to the Microsoft Azure cloud can reduce costs, enhance efficiency and support innovation in your organisation.
Alternatively, watch our free on-demand webinar to discover how you can position yourself to maximise the benefits of digital transformation for your organisation.