What’s the primary trait shared by all successful companies? Positive cash flow. Admittedly, that’s a lousy answer. Still, companies that manage to provide products or services for less than customers pay will stick around. That’s the tricky part, though. There are only two basic ways to do that: charge more or spend less. You can’t keep raising your prices whenever your profit margins slip, so you have to find ways to trim your budget, making your business leaner and more efficient. Fortunately, cloud computing provides five easy ways to do just that.
Buying, maintaining and upgrading physical servers can quickly eat up an IT budget. Even if your business is too small to need racks of servers, just one file server can cost thousands of dollars. Enter cloud computing. With no initial investment, you can deploy any type of server you need.
The biggest benefit cloud computing offers e-commerce businesses — and any other field with predictable ebbs and flows in sales — is the ability to dynamically scale servers. Gone are the days when a company had to maintain spare capacity in its servers in case users began flooding the website. Now, when there’s a traffic spike or a lull, cloud hosting clients can scale back resources, saving money by only paying for capacity currently in use.
The monthly fee your company pays for its cloud services covers the costs of maintenance and hardware upgrades. That frees up more money for expanding the business’s product line or increasing customer support staff. IT staff employees are expensive, because they’re so valuable and a necessary part of any company with in-house servers. With cloud computing, however, you’re paying for a small portion of the host’s staff and are effectively splitting the cost with the cloud host’s other clients.
Cloud hosts often have multiple physical data centers in geographically distant locations. The host mirrors client data at multiple sites, so if there’s an outage, disaster or server failure, your server will be back up and running quickly, often within just a few minutes.
Even if you’re not using cloud hosting or infrastructure as a service (IaaS), your business can benefit from cloud backup. Decades ago, when companies backed up their files locally onto reels of magnetic tape, IT departments made sure to keep full copies of all data off-site. By doing so, they mitigated the risk of fire, natural disasters or a costly mistake. If anything happened to the local data, someone could retrieve the tapes and restore everything. Now that the cloud’s available, nobody has to haul around physical storage or spend hours overseeing the backup process. Instead, businesses can store data on cloud servers and access it at any time.
In order to keep your business competitive, you must find ways to reduce your expenses without reducing the quality of your infrastructure. By subscribing to whatever cloud service meets your needs, you can maintain an inexpensive, flexible, robust infrastructure and focus more on your primary business goals than whether to hire a new server administrator.