Maybe it's getting a bit stale to keep saying, "Cloud computing is the way of the future." C'mon, the future? It's here already and the concept has been around since the 90s (back when someone thought it would be cool to draw a little picture of a cumulus cloud to represent a network)!.
To prove the point, here are six straightforward reasons why you should consider adopting a cloud-centric approach for your small to mid-sized business (and to feel good about your decision to sign up for a Planio account — hint, hint):
Show me the Money!: Going cloud saves you cash, big-time. Why? Most cloud-computing solutions are offered on a pay-as-you-go basis — your cash layout is limited to what you actually need. Whether you require (a) raw storage from an IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service: like Amazon's popular EC2 or S3 offerings), (b) a testing environment from a PaaS (Platform as a Service: like the one made by our friends in Berlin over at CloudControl), or (c) a comprehensive project management solution from an SaaS (Software as a Service: like, obviously, our beloved Planio), the money your organization spends is determined by your requirements. The need to purchase hardware, software and other associated expenses is rendered moot in the face of cloud services. This is a major factor to consider, as large capital expenditures can shoot down startups and SMBs before they even take flight.
No more IT Headaches: Adopting cloud-based services means that your IT hardware & software headaches will be a thing of the past. When you go cloud, you are essentially passing the buck to someone else and ordering another cocktail (metaphorically, of course). The absence of storage upgrade nightmares, 4am re-boots, and interminable software upgrades means that you have more time to manage your small business. And, as we all know, time is the most valuable asset.
100% Calamity Resistant: While not disaster-proof, using cloud services provides a formidable shield against the unexpected. If all of your hardware is in your company's server room in Los Angeles, for example, then obviously you'll be holding your breath (and probably praying) when the next earthquake strikes. Using a cloud-based data center means that your infrastructure is somewhere else — preferably in a nice quiet disaster-free locale. So when that earthquake/typhoon/hurricane/fire hits, you won't sweat knowing that your infrastructure backbone is based in a quiet air-conditioned facility in Frankfurt, Germany and backed-up to an equally pleasant facility in Nuremberg (home of the world's tastiest & tiniest sausages and earthquake-free since 1390 [since they started keeping track]).
Work is Where you Hang your Hat: Cloud services are remote worker-friendly. With laptop in hand, and an internet connection, your employees have the capability to work from anywhere on the planet. If you are a forward thinking company with internationally distributed teams, then the world is your oyster when it comes to using cloud services. The benefits of going down this route are considerable; for example, you and your employees save money on transportation costs, your organization saves money on communication (by the way, have you tried Planio's news, messaging and forum features yet?) and, if you contract internationally, you'll save your HR team a ton of paperwork. By keeping cars off the road you're even helping Mother Earth!
The Sandbox Effect: Remember being a kid and playing in a sandbox? Or maybe sitting on a beach? You could build all sorts of cool things and then, after you got tired of it, stomp on them to your heart's content. The cloud offers the same capability, except with none of the sandy mess. PaaS environments are a developer's dream... you can build servers, knock them down, test your apps, do stress tests in multiple configurations, and otherwise wreak havoc in a good way. The cost is lower and the competitive advantage that exists in such a highly-configurable environment ultimately results in a deployment time that blows traditional non-cloud methods out of the water.
The Best & Brightest at your Disposal: Even if you're a brand new startup with a handful of employees, cloud services give you access to a wide array of qualified IT personnel from the best companies in the world. For example, if you're a Planio user, there's no need to hire a Network Engineer to install, maintain, backup and patch your online project management software — you can simply pick up the phone (or e-mail/chat) and our team of highly-qualified Engineers & Developers will find a solution for you. Cloud computing levels the playing field and enables small players to compete with their more established brethren.
Cloud computing is here, right now, and it isn't going anywhere. If you're a small business owner, then you're probably cloud-based already or are considering it; if you're in the latter group, here are some quick stats courtesy of Gartner and the Microsoft Trustworthy Computing Group:
- 52% of SMBs using the cloud say cloud services enable them to add new products/services quickly and securely.
- 38% of SMBs spend less time managing security since adopting the cloud.
- 60% of server workloads will be virtualized by 2014.
Moral of the story? Don't miss the boat! err, cloud.
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Brian is a big believer in cloud-based computing! He uses cloud services for his data storage, VPN, daily writing, communication, and project management needs. He swears he is not a geek, though he does spend relaxing evenings with his iPad.