How the Cloud can help your business

We have now been in lock-down for over 8 weeks and have had to adjust to working from home and working remotely.  Now, as we wait to find out how we are going to navigate returning to work and the likelihood of observing social distancing and a “new normal”, it might be a good time look at how the cloud can really help you with your business.

The word “cloud” is a word that is used all the time which can sometimes cause a lot of anxiety for business owners.  The cloud is a shortening for “cloud computing” which are servers, storage, databases etc which are on the internet making data accessible anytime, anywhere, from any connected device.  The cloud has many benefits, making it easier to work from anywhere rather than remoting into your local machine.  Let’s consider these:

Remote Access and Mobile working:

Cloud computing allows anyone to connect seamlessly at any time of the day from any location from any device.  This makes it easy and flexible for all your team to work at any place and time, being able to access the data whether they are in the office or working remotely.

Information sharing and collaboration:

Wherever your team is located, they will be able to collaborate on documents together in real time, rather than emailing documents back and forth and saving local copies on their machines.  This makes sharing of information and data simple and easy.

File Storage:

You probably store many files within your business, some of them large video or picture files.  These files can take up a significant amount of space on your hard drive which could cause problems with having enough space and is costly to keep upgrading the disc space.  The cloud allows you store these large files but still have access to them on a day-to-day basis.

Flexibility and Growth Planning:

The cloud can grow as your business needs grows giving you flexibility to be agile enough to adjust accordingly.  When software updates are required, these are usually done automatically which is much quicker and easier and saves time as there is no need to manually install the updates on every single local machine.

Data Security:

This is one of the most crucial things you can do in your business. The cloud is secure in many ways constantly backing up your data as you work. The cloud also gives more storage capacity and is more secure than keeping it on your own computer as there is less chance of losing information.   If a computer is stolen, for example, everything stored on it is stolen too. When those files are also stored on the cloud, downloading them to a new computer is simple.  There is a misconception that storing data in the cloud means it is backed up.  Unfortunately, people delete data, mostly accidentally, sometimes intentionally.  There are also threats from hackers and malware This means that even in the cloud, data can be lost.     We recommend using a 3rd party SaaS protection as a backup system.  We can manage the entire process for you and support you through the set up and with any issues after that.

Security:

Cloud storage is safe as the data is encrypted but Two Factor Authentication (2FA) provides an extra level of protection in the cloud.  If a hacker tries to sign into any of your accounts, it will be flagged up to you that there is a sign in from an unrecognised device and they won’t be able to go any further as they won’t be able to provide the second form of authentication.

Cloud-based computing is the future for small and medium sized businesses, Gartner forecasts that up to 60% of business owners will be relying on the cloud for hosting data by 2022, roughly doubling the numbers since 2018.  Considering the COVID-19 situation, this number is bound to be higher now.  On-prem servers can be very costly and time consuming with having to run software updates and manage email and file servers.  There are many cloud-based tools and applications that you can use within your business which can help you to consolidate separate applications into one multi-application and save a lot of time – the tools are out there and they work.

Our team at Ilkley IT can talk you through all the options available to you for your business.  We will take the time to understand your needs and make the best-fit recommendations to benefit your business to enable you to work from anywhere at any time.