Cloud computing: your frequently asked questions

Cloud computing: your frequently asked questions

Cloud computing has seen a prolific rise in adoption in the last few years. With growth accelerated further by the recent COVID-19 pandemic, cloud technology is currently being used by a whopping 88% of UK businesses (Cloud Industry Forum report). The reported reasons why businesses are so quick to adopt cloud? Flexibility, affordability and scalability (Cloud Industry Forum report). The trio of benefits that cloud offers enables businesses to speed up growth and boost resiliency.

The unprecedented opportunity with cloud is clear, but many businesses still have queries and concerns. So, what are the most commonly asked questions by small and medium businesses in the UK?

  • What types of cloud are available?

Cloud solutions can be either public or private, with most businesses utilising public. A public cloud platform like Microsoft Azure pools resources in data centres, and users access them via the internet. Businesses can adopt a hybrid cloud, enabling them to benefit from a public cloud whilst still storing resources in their own local data centre.

  • What are the main benefits of adopting cloud?

As mentioned, flexibility, scalability and affordability are the three main benefits of cloud. Businesses can rely less on physical and on-premise infrastructure when they adopt cloud computing; improving their flexibility, opening them up to remote working and driving down costs of maintenance and hardware. Cloud solutions like Microsoft Azure enable businesses to pay only for what they use, meaning they can scale as required without any cost commitments.

  • What are the disadvantages?

Though there aren’t many risks or downfalls, some cloud solutions can be complex in pricing and have hidden costs. IT teams may also struggle to adapt to cloud and businesses may need to invest in training for employees to help them navigate a new solution.

  • How do I know if cloud is right for my business?

As a flexible and scalable solution, cloud can work for almost any business; regardless of size and industry-type. The key to ensuring that it is right for your particular business is to embed its use within the wider business strategy. Consider your IT requirements and demands, the complexity of a migration, and also your growth and development plans. Once you have evaluated how cloud will work for your organisation now and in the future, you can adopt and/or scale up the use of it.

  • What about security?

Cyber attacks are always in the news at the moment, and IT security has never been more important. Cloud solutions like Azure put parameters in place to secure and restore data if the worst happens. Features including encryption, identity management and multi-factor authentication provide a layered security approach to keep Microsoft users safe.

  • What kind of training does my workforce need to manage and work in the cloud?

This depends entirely on what kind of cloud solutions you decide to adopt. If you are looking to go as far as rebuild infrastructure in the cloud, then the employees responsible for managing that will need training. Most cloud providers like Microsoft provide training and certifications to support IT staff as users with understanding and becoming proficient in the solutions. We can help you with any training requirements in addition to advising on the right cloud solutions for you.

  • How much does cloud cost?

Most modern cloud solutions offer scalable pricing, with schemes in place to lower costs depending on volume. Azure offers transparent and competitive cost options, claiming to be five times cheaper than its closest competitor. Migrating on-premise solutions to the cloud enables businesses to eradicate maintenance and running costs associated with physical infrastructure. Organisations can also pay as they go, so there’s no need to put down an upfront lump sum if you’re unsure of usage.

  • How do I develop a long-term cloud strategy?

Outlining your technical and business objectives is the first step. Identify why the need for cloud has arisen and how a cloud solution will embed within your business strategy. Once you have aligned the use of cloud within your wider strategy, it becomes easier to map out how you can scale the use of cloud to support business success.

Adopting cloud offers businesses the ultimate opportunity to modernise and improve their flexibility and resilience, whilst enjoying cost savings. Talk to us to find out how a solution like Azure could work for your business.