Think green: Invest in the cloud

clock • 5 min read

Switching to The Cloud can deliver significant cost, performance, and environmental gains

Your business has good reasons to spend on cloud computing. Whether your organisation already draws upon the cloud to some degree or has never dipped its toes into the water, the corporate advantages of a cloud-driven strategy should not be underestimated. Such a strategy could make your business faster and leaner, ideal for the twenty-first century world of work. However, you might not have realised that it would be beneficial for the environment, too.

Cloud has favourable costs compared to non-cloud

For a business, opportunities to trim outgoings while maintaining, or even enhancing, work productivity and efficiency can obviously have great appeal. These opportunities could be especially attractive to your company's CFO, who is tasked with not only holistically understanding the company's inner workings, but also assisting in both making vital financial decisions and executing them. A great CFO will analyse data and use it to project the company's financial future.

This reliance on data begins to explain why, this year, your business should not overlook the extent to which a comprehensive cloud migration plan would help your CFO. While both small and large enterprises have been amassing significant amounts of data for years, it has undoubtedly been an expensive endeavour. The history of such data storage problems as huge overheads and rising storage costs can be traced as far back as the late 2000s. They also come with a significant environmental footprint in terms of IT hardware and energy use.

Thankfully, recent years have seen a big change in how companies plan for and handle costs of data storage. While Opex and Capex are both cloud solutions that have come with significant overheads, today, it is possible to pay for cloud storage and cloud computing power both monthly and based on use. Furthermore, there are both public and private clouds that permit businesses to switch between Opex and Capex models. The elasticity and scalability of services in the cloud, particularly public cloud, has enabled businesses to link their costs much more closely to demand. Cloud services are also, almost by definition, more energy efficient than operating your own infrastructure.

Therefore, a wide array of businesses have good reason to, if they haven't already done so, embark on a cloud migration strategy. RedPixie, a major cloud computing firm, has observed: "If you look at the successful CFO, they have viewed cloud migration as an essential stepping stone to progression and growth." Recently, CFOs have realised that a hybrid cloud strategy is especially efficient and rewarding for malleable data - and RedPixie can put hybrid cloud systems in place.

You can avoid the need to purchase hardware

On your company's part, an extreme amount of financial expense could be required for purchasing and maintaining servers. You might deem this expense a necessary evil if you want to keep your company's data on your company's premises; however, the financial drawbacks of on-site storage don't stop there. MSPmentor has reported's report that, "in many small business and corporate environments, server utilisation rates hover around five or 10 percent".

Shared data centres, on the other hand, "can employ fewer machines to get an equivalent capacity"; this is because, "with the cloud, utilisation rates are typically 60-70 per cent". In other words, buying and looking after servers can be a very financially and energy inefficient manner of storing data. By opting for cloud, rather than on-site, storage, you would come much closer to paying strictly for the equipment that your company actually needs... and improve your data storage's eco-efficiency, too.

Having advised this, we would urge you not to excessively restrain the number of servers that you utilise in an off-site data centre. You might initially be tempted to go down this route in order to maximise the usual cost benefits of the cloud. Still, it's worth taking into account further advice from MSPmentor, which explains: "Data loads vary, but you must have enough servers to handle the peak times. The rest of the time these extra machines are sitting idly."

A server cannot reach peak performance unless its temperature and humidity are carefully controlled. Such control can be easier to achieve by a cloud provider at its own facility than a business which has no, or little, history of maintaining cloud servers. An efficient layout like rack-first, for example, can be easier for cloud providers to replicate. Thus, if your company stores its data with a cloud provider, it doesn't need to pay to carefully manage the climate. Meanwhile, the provider is in a position to ensure that the servers are run in an especially eco-friendly manner.

A distributed workforce is possible

With an extensive cloud solution, your company's workforce can be more united and integrated than it has ever been before... even when that workforce is distributed across a variety of locations. We aren't just referring to instances where your company might choose to operate separate offices in towns or cities that are several miles apart. We are also considering cases where your employees might want to be on the move, but maintain ready access to the company's computing services.

Let's consider the example of an employee who, on a particular day, will work from home rather than the usual corporate premises. With use of cloud storage, they can access their usual work documents on their home computer; therefore, they could start writing a document on the premises and then complete it at home. By staying at home, they might not need to spend money on car fuel; this would help the planet. Even the software that they use to complete this document could be cloud-based. Many accounting, marketing and customer relationship management applications for business use already are, Fresh Business Thinking observes.

Furthermore, by deploying cloud-based software, your company can avoid going down the more traditional route of buying multiple copies of the same application for installation on multiple computers. This route would be the more expensive one in terms of both money and time. Per-user, monthly and annual payment plans make it easier for enterprises to pay solely for what they need when they need it. Meanwhile, software updates are delivered automatically; this means that IT staff don't have to individually update the software on each employee's workstation.

This article was provided by RedPixie

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