It’s that time again, your IT guy is telling you that you need to get new servers and invest a heap of time and money on upgrading your IT infrastructure. Every few years this scenario rolls around, and every time it’s a hassle and you tell yourself this is the year you move to the Cloud.
What are the differences between on-site servers and the Cloud? Does it even matter?
We take a look at some of thereasons the Cloud can benefits SMEs.
The problems with a growing business using servers is that they have to guess how much they will have grown by in the next 5 years. Say you have a staff of 20 and you think you will probably double your staff within 5 years to 40 employees. Typically you try to keep your servers for 5 years, so from the beginning you need to buy enough server power for 40 employees, even though you may not need it for another 2 years.
The Cloud means you only ever use as much as you need, paying per user means you can scale your IT as you need it, whether you are hiring new staff or downsizing.
Keeping your own servers on-site can pose a potentially huge risk. We always think about disasters in really big terms, like a huge fire wiping out the office, or a flood washing the building away, but servers can be damaged in some really boring ways. We heard of one example where the air conditioning in a building was getting some work done and the timing was adjusted. Sounds perfectly normal that the air conditioning automatically switches off when nobody is in the office, but it also affected the temperature in the server room. By the next morning the servers had overheated and fried, completely destroying all the company’s data.
Of course the flip side of this is that data isn’t always safe in the Cloud. That’s when you need to understand where your data is housed and what laws are applicable to it. You need to always make sure that your cloud provider has multiple data replication centres so your data is always protected.
Keeping up to date with technology can be frustrating and make you feel like you’re chasing your tail. By the time you do your research and decide on how to upgrade your server, it may well already be out of date.
A good cloud provider will always be investing in their IT infrastructure, so you know your cloud platform is up to date and compatible with your software.
If you’ve got your own servers, then you’d either be using an internal staff member as your IT guru or outsourcing to an IT company. Unfortunately servers aren’t just ‘plug and play’, they need someone to manage and monitor them.
Servers are often sold under the assumption of a once off, upfront cost, but in reality they require ongoing expenses in the form of IT support every month.
Support is usually included in the cost of your cloud platform so you’re not wasting your employee’s time and slowing productivity.
Most servers have a warranty of 5 years and then any issues are your problem. Around this time is when most problems start to happen and can be very costly to fix, there is also a much higher chance of servers failing after the 5 year mark.
A cloud platform will allow your staff to connect and work from anywhere using any device, they don’t have to be sitting in the office. This opens up opportunities for new services as employees can visit clients on site, increase engagement and get a better understanding of their client’s business.