Whether you know it, or not, chances are you are probably already using cloud computing for your everyday transactions: Checking email on your phone, updating your Facebook status, doing internet banking while out and about; all of these are based on the internet – and that is, quite simply, cloud computing.
Cloud hosting is fast becoming the norm as more and more businesses opt to use cloud-based computing to operate their businesses, and with good reason. According to a recent Vanson Bourne report, businesses who use the cloud showed a 20.66% improvement in time to market, and process efficiency increased by 18.80%. More than that, it helped improve cash flow and businesses showed an overall increase in business growth of 19.63%.
In case that’s not enough to convince you, here are 9 solid reasons why cloud hosting is the best way forward:
- Security – The threat of theft, ransomware and viruses is real and apparent for most South African businesses. Losing your laptop is one thing, but losing access to the business data on your server can often mean significant financial loss and business disruption, if it doesn’t bring your business to a grinding halt. “Security at our data centre is paramount,” says Michael Osterloh, founder and MD of HostAfrica, a growing cloud hosting company based in Cape Town. “This is the real deal. High tech security safeguards our hardware, and aggressive software security measures keeps the integrity of data sound, so you don’t have to worry about losing data or connectivity.”
- Daily Auto Backups – You can rest easy knowing that your data is safe, without the huge insurance bill and disaster recovery plan that most small to medium-sized companies find difficult to afford. Your data is backed up off-site on the Cloud servers, giving you constant assurance and access to your business’s most recent data.
- Save on Hardware Costs – “Our ERP platform improves business efficiency almost immediately and is super affordable,” says Heinrich, “but up until fairly recently a company would have run our software on their local server that costs anything from R20,000 to R100,000. Now, you can run our software, plus your other applications, on the cloud for a fraction of what you were paying on your server insurance alone.” Says Michael: “Cloud computing cuts out the enormous capital outlay of hardware. It’s like ‘pay as you go’ but for servers, so you get the full benefit of our robust and secure data centre, plus ease of setup and management, all for an affordable monthly subscription.”
- Save on Monthly Technical Support: Cloud servers are taken care of by the hosting company’s technical team, so you can say goodbye to your hefty IT maintenance contracts, techie call out fees and monthly licence fees, and start investing that saving elsewhere. Studies show that there is a 15.07% reduction in IT spending and maintenance when hosting on the cloud.
- Freedom to Work from Anywhere – Nowadays, if you have a device that is connected to the internet, you’re effectively at work. That also means you can offer more flexible working arrangements to your team for a better work-life balance, while still being productive. A study showed that 42% of workers would swap a portion of their pay for the ability to telecommute and would even be willing to take a 6% pay cut to do so. “Your team wants flexibility. You want productivity. Now you can have both,” says Heinrich. “Keeping track of your team’s productivity, while working remotely, is possible with cloud hosting that offers anywhere-access, and ERP software that facilitates time- and job-tracking, like BOS. You can manage your business from the Bahamas if you want to, and still remain profitable, productive and keep customers happy.”
- Flexible for Growth – Cloud-based services are amazingly flexible when it comes to accommodating your varying needs, as you only pay for the server and infrastructure that you require at any given time. “If you have an online store,” says Michael, “and have a product on sale, and expect an increase in web traffic, you have ample provision to increase capacity, without spending a fortune on hardware that then sits idle during off-peak times. Once you are done, you revert back to your initial capacity and save costs. No server crashes. No lost sales.”
- Get More Done with Less, for Less – You are not paying for servers, maintenance, insurance or support – so you get maximum functionality and productivity with less IT infrastructure, and lower costs.
- Reduced Downtime – Most cloud providers are extremely reliable and maintain a 99.99% uptime. The connection is always on and as long as workers have an internet connection, they can get to the applications they need from practically anywhere. “With South Africa’s penchant for power outages, we’ve made sure our data centre can operate independent to the power grid for up to three days,” says Michael. “That means you are online, and can run your business, even when everyone else’s power is off.”
- Though You be Small… Moving to the cloud gives small businesses access to enterprise-class technology. Cloud-based business applications, like BOS, mean small businesses can run with the big boys, and disrupt the market, while remaining lean and agile.
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