What is the cloud? A Simple Guide for Small Enterprise
What’s the cloud?
“The cloud” is a virtual repository for your website, business data and applications.
That virtual repository is made up of a cluster of off-site servers in a data center. A cluster of servers are operating in synch, meaning if one fails, another is set up to take over. Which makes for amazing reliability.
It’s a lot easier for small businesses with limited resources to migrate to cloud computing than it is to buy a server, get it up and running and install software on it. Since you don’t need to buy hardware and software, expansion is less expensive too.
Why does the cloud matter?
If your website isn’t available to prospective clients, you could very well lose a sale (prospects might think an unreliable website means an unreliable company). If your data isn’t available when a customer needs support, your reputation for customer service could be tarnished. Bottom line: when your data isn’t available, your brand suffers.
When your data is in the cloud, you can ensure that it is always available when you need it.
A trusted cloud provider will ensure your IT team can easily make changes appropriate to your needs. They can add resources if your site grows. They can replicate data. You can rest assured data in the cloud is secure.
What is the cloud used for?
Cloud computing includes a number of types of services, including:
- Online storage: Stores and backs-up files, making them accessible for sharing and synch across devices.
- Data backup: Stores data online, allowing files to be quickly recovered after a crash, attack, or other disaster.
- Software as a Service (SaaS): Web-based applications and services, such as Office 365, CRM, etc.
- Cloud hosting: Facilitates information sharing, from email, application hosting, phone systems and data hosting.
How does the cloud differ from my existing hosting?
We currently see a number of different hosting scenarios in our small business clients. These include onsite hosting and shared hosting.
Onsite hosting requires your team to buy hardware and software, setup the infrastructure, and manage all the ongoing requirements. It can be quite expensive, and requires onsite presence from the IT team. When a server goes down, the team needs to make themselves available in the office.
Shared services remove the hosting from the office, thereby removing the cost and management of hardware and software. It’s fully virtual and cloud-based…but the computing resources are shared. That means a single server isn’t dedicated to a single user, or even a cluster of servers. All users on the shared service rely on the same server resources. If one user experiences a peak in demand, all users on the server will experience lag-time/down-time. It isn’t always reliable, especially for a growing business dedicated to customer service.
How does the cloud benefit small business?
Cloud computing can give small business owners and their employees access to business data and applications from any mobile device at any time – and at a reasonable price. This type of access was previously restricted to much larger businesses, based on cost alone. The cloud provides small businesses with the same advantage of their larger peers, without breaking the bank.
Ready to move your business to the cloud?
If you’re ready to consider online data backup services and migration to the cloud, HostedBizz offers step-by-step planning and support. Get in touch to learn how we can help your business with cloud hosting in Canada!