with Helios IT
Head in the clouds by all means but do keep your feet firmly grounded in business reality
Around a year ago I wrote an introductory article entitled ‘What is Cloud Computing ?’ What I didn’t mention was that around that same time we were heavily involved in implementing a raft of cloud based applications and services into our own business, including:
1. A web based IT Help Desk that automates all of the computing incidents that we fix
2. A PC/Server monitoring tool to constantly gather information on our clients’ infrastructure
3. Microsoft’s Hosted Exchange, now ‘Office 365’ for cloud based email
4. File storage on cloud based servers rather than our own
5. Voice (telephones) over the Internet also known as VoIP
It’s been a rewarding experience into just how viable cloud computing is as an alternative to the traditional computing delivered through the office small business server.
What we have achieved in practice though is the: overall simplification of our computing hardware and software, increase in our company capability, the spreading of risk and the overall reduction in our running costs.
• We have been able to reduce the number of servers from 4 down to 1 which means that we have less hardware to maintain (and potentially fail) and also cut our monthly electric bill by 30% in the process
• When we come to replace our server hardware we don’t need anything as capable again and can cope with a lesser server operating system, smaller hard drives, less RAM etc. With client servers where we have mixed an on-site server with cloud services we have reduced replacement server hardware costs by approximately 40%
• With offsite cloud based email such as ‘Office 365’ we have saved approximately £3-400/year as this Microsoft service has in-built anti-spam and negated the need for us to provide our own.
• Sending large or bulk emails through ‘Office 365’ is much quicker and easier as the email load is taken by the ‘offsite’ Microsoft servers and not your own onsite server. This is of particular value should you not be able to get fast upload speeds from your broadband line.
• Our day-to-day data files are stored off-site in secure, data centres and backed-up automatically negating the need for us to change tapes.
• Thanks to voice over the internet we now have 5 phones costing us what we had previously paid for 2 with fixed telephone lines plus none of the on-going phone system maintenance or traditional line rental costs.
Whilst the cloud has definite operational and commercial benefits we equally realise that not every business, application or situation is suited for the cloud. However, there’s no doubt that every business should at least prepare itself for a slightly cloudier future.
Garry MacDonald is Managing Director of Helios IT Ltd. To schedule your own free “27-Point Problem Prevention Network Audit” to speed up your network performance, improve your company productivity and lower its operational costs please contact Helios IT Ltd. by phone on 028 9094 5542, online or to email@example.com
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