Approximately 85 percent of enterprises have now adopted a multi-cloud strategy, with 41 percent of workloads being run on the public cloud and 38 percent on the private cloud. The market has spoken: cloud computing is here to stay.
All that being said, it may not be clear how cloud computing can directly benefit Canadian businesses. In real terms, this is what the cloud will do for you.
The Advantages of Cloud for Canadian Businesses
It’s easy – A cloud-based system does not require physical infrastructure. Your business does not have to maintain, upgrade, or update it. Your employees will likely take to it intuitively, as most cloud-based applications are no different from navigating a website. If there’s a system that “just works,” it’s a cloud-based system.
It’s secure - Modern cloud computing systems come with best-in-class security solutions. Always-on network monitoring, antivirus software, and DoS mitigation all work together to ensure that your business can continue going without interruption. This is especially important in the era of ransomware and other advanced malicious attacks. Where organizations were once tethered to on-premise deployments to avoid security risks, they are now flocking to more secure, cloud deployments. According to an article by David Linthicum on TechTarget, on-premise environments not only suffer more security incidents than service providers, they suffer more brute-force attacks.
It’s accessible – A cloud computing system can be accessed from anywhere, anytime on any device. Businesses today often find themselves employing people all around the world, both to reduce expenses and to gain additional expertise. Small business owners will find themselves able to better work from home, while on-site employees will be able to work from client sites and other offices. Modern business also takes place in the hands of many, literally. As more workers rely on their hand-held mobile devices for their personal lives, the expectation that business systems and software should also comply.
It’s scalable – “Scalability” is an advantage that cannot be underestimated. Many small businesses fold because of a lack of capital. This lack of capital can frequently occur during an expansion. Scalability in terms of the cloud means that you only have to pay for what you use—and that you can dial back your costs if needed. This reduces the amount of risk you take on when you expand.
It’s powerful – With a cloud-based system, you can gain access to processing, memory, and space resources that would be otherwise prohibitive to purchase outright. Even a small business will be able to leverage data analysis suites and productivity suites that were otherwise relegated to large enterprises.
Reducing Costs Through Cloud Computing
Most businesses are used to advanced technology costing more. When it comes to cloud technology, companies may be hesitant to invest. But cloud technology is different from older solutions. It doesn’t require a physical investment of infrastructure or costly software licensing fees. Instead, cloud computing services are offered on a subscription basis, tiered to meet the usage of the organization. An organization will not only reduce their costs by adopting cloud technology, but they’ll also be able to standardize their costs; they’ll know exactly how much they’re paying for their IT infrastructure per month.
Cloud solutions can encompass the entirety of an organization’s IT, which also includes VoIP telecommunications technology. By consolidating a system, an organization can streamline their operations and reduce their overhead. Managed IT services mean that an organization relies less upon internal IT staff—and that existing IT staff can be leveraged for more important, value add tasks. Cloud solutions also remove the need for frequent upgrades, patching, monitoring, and maintenance, as everything is handled by the managed service provider.
Getting the Best of Both Worlds in a Hybrid Cloud Solution
Many business owners held off on a transition towards cloud solutions because they were concerned about security. These are issues that have been addressed with the increasing adoption of a hybrid cloud solution. Hybrid clouds utilize both private clouds and public clouds within a single system. Through private clouds, an organization is able to better protect its most critical and sensitive data within a ”walled garden”—a safe within a safe. Through public clouds, an organization is able to provide superior accessibility, scalabilty and power for its more open applications and services. Merging the two infrastructures improves upon productivity, security, and cost.
Transitioning a Business and Its Data to the Cloud
Because of the proliferation of cloud technologies today, transitioning a company and its data to the cloud is no longer difficult. Experienced companies like CRGroup and Microsoft®, have created detailed processes designed to limit business disruption during this transition—and to ease the move for employees.
Once employees have been introduced to the new platform and trained on its use, the data will be imported and validated. This can happen all at once or it can be rolled out in stages. For small businesses, a single weekend is often enough time to easily transition the business to a new cloud-based infrastructure. For mid-sized businesses or enterprise-level businesses, it may be more advisable to transfer over employees department by department.
Many Canadian Businesses Are Already Using the Cloud
If you’ve stored your data on Google Drive, Dropbox, or Microsoft OneDrive in the last year, you’re already using the cloud. Similarly, if your business is already using Dropbox, online meeting services, or cloud-based document management tools like Office 365, SharePoint Online, your company is already using the cloud. Cloud technology has become pervasive; it’s everywhere that you find data. Though “moving to the cloud” may sound like a challenging task, it’s often no different from visiting a website. In fact, this is one of the core benefits to transitioning to the cloud: it’s easy to use.
But this also makes it even more critical for a business to transition early on. As companies shy away from transitioning to the cloud, business owners and employees begin using their own self-service cloud applications. Business documents are uploaded on private Dropbox accounts and on unsecured Google drives. The need for cloud technology on a productivity and accessibility level is already there. If the business does not transition, the vacuum will be filled with less than optimal tools.
Ultimately, cloud technology represents the future of business—in Canada and in the rest of the world. Though business owners may be able to delay transitioning to cloud technology, it’s almost inevitable that they will need to do so eventually. Many services are being transitioned for the cloud and are being discontinued as native products. For the best and easiest transition, business owners should enter into the planning stages now.
• Thinking of Migrating to the Cloud? Download your free Cloud Migration Assessment
• Big News for Canadian Businesses Moving to the Cloud: Microsoft Canadian Data-Centre Brings the Microsoft Cloud to Canada