The prospect of the second UK national coronavirus lockdown (also known as Lockdown 2 Electric Avenue, Lockdown 2 Electric Boogaloo and Lockdown 2: Lock Harder) has already prompted dozens of British businesses to finally make the shift to the cloud.
This has only served to further accelerate the trend towards cloud computing which was already happening well before “lockdown” was even in a twinkle in 2020’s eye.
For most businesses, regular lockdowns have only underscored the benefits of migrating to the cloud. But they’ve also shown that the decision to be “on the cloud” isn’t something for your resident IT geeks to suggest.
It’s a high-level business decision which more and more business owners are realising it’s smart to take sooner rather than later.
Cloud computing is the catchy term used to describe on-demand computing services and resources.
Gone are the expensive software packages and racks of onsite servers of yesteryear. Replacing them are services like Microsoft 365 – a whole suite of collaboration and productivity software which is hosted by the software provider at a central server.
The cloud computing model allows even small organisations to use the best modern software without expensive and time-consuming set-up, server maintenance and operating costs.
Combined with successive lockdowns, it was the need to set up a secure, efficient remote working environment for their team which prompted many business owners to finally take the plunge and get on the cloud.
One major reservation of people who felt opposed to remote working as a concept is that it may reduce security. But in reality, if you’re on the cloud, security is often increased.
That’s because the major cloud software providers take on the responsibility for security themselves. This means it’s in their best interests to invest heavily in it – and they do.
This level of security investment is almost always more than any other organisation would be able to devote to the task. This doesn’t mean you can simply skip on your own sensible cybersecurity practices. But it does mean that remote working can be just as secure as working in the office.
One of the major design goals of almost any cloud computing service is to integrate all the various tasks, IT processes and programs which any business needs to use on a given day.
If you’ve never used cloud computing before, it might be difficult to imagine a situation where you and all of your team can track your hours, make sure everyone is working as productively as possible, collaborate together and assign tasks to the people best suited for them – all in just a few clicks.
If you do use cloud computing, this is par for the course during your working day.
If you and your team are on the cloud, everyone can quickly and easily access what they need even when working remotely.
But, more importantly, fears that being outside of the office might hurt collaboration have proven wildly overstated. Microsoft Teams, for instance, is an entire-business communication platform which includes group chat, team chat, file storage, videoconferencing and more.
On top of this, Teams is designed to integrate with Microsoft 365 so that everything your business does is smooth, integrated and collaborative. No matter where individual members of your team are.
Buying and setting up their company servers used to cost most organisations a whole lot of money. There was also the need to retain the – often expensive – expertise needed to maintain, update and repair those servers if they broke down (which they tended to do at the worst possible time).
Being on the cloud means there is no need to pay for anything other than the software you need when you need it.
There is also the advantage that you avoid what happens when current solutions reach the end of their product life. For instance, support for Windows Server 2008 was retired this year.
Think of all of the money that used to go into buying servers, setting them up, maintaining them and then buying all of the pricey software packages your company needed on top.
This has all now been replaced by one license fee. When compared with the costs of old-school solutions, even the biggest on-demand software license starts to look a whole lot more appealing.
Of course, you should always be sure that you’re using the right license for your business’s scope and needs. But with so many businesses realising the benefits of cloud computing, the market continues to expand to provide ideal solutions for companies of every size.
Almost 1000 business owners in the UK turn to us when they need advice or action on an IT problem.
Let’s chat. Book a meeting with our Chief Geek Gildas Jones via his bookings page and discuss how migrating to the cloud works and how to make it happen.