Matt Newing, Elite Group Founder, Talks Cloud-First Strategy and How Your Business Can Benefit from the Power of the Cloud.
Whilst the term ‘cloud-first’ may sound like just another IT buzzword, it’s certainly no passing fad. Indeed, cloud technology is quickly becoming the future of business IT – and already bringing a plethora of benefits for businesses willing to take the dive. Office technology is increasingly moving away from on-site hardware and towards cloud computing, allowing businesses to take advantage of off-site hosting to optimise everything from office phone systems and desktops to data storage and application usage. As fixed line technology becomes increasingly redundant and outdated, your business needs to look to the future, embracing cloud computing to remain dynamic and competitive in a ‘cloud-first’ world.
At Elite Group IOM, we’re constantly evolving our products and services to stay ahead of the curve and provide the best possible service and value for money to our customers. Whether that’s moving away from the ISDN and embracing VOIP technology or investing more in cloud hosting, we’re always one step ahead of the game when it comes to new technology. As part of our latest innovation, Elite Group IOM is embracing a ‘cloud-first strategy’ across the business.
But what exactly does ‘cloud-first’ mean? Or ‘cloud computing’ for that matter? Don’t let the IT jargon put you off, cloud technology isn’t as complicated as it seems.
Many people have heard of it, but few people actually know what it is. The ‘Cloud’ is a rather abstract term that refers to an overall idea rather than a single, physical object. Indeed, if you’ve ever used Google Drive or Facebook, you may have used the Cloud without realising it. In technical terms, the ‘Cloud’ refers to a series of external servers that can be accessed via the internet, as well as all the data that’s stored there. These servers and data centres are located at different points across the globe and are designed to store data, run applications and host services. This allows businesses to store data off-site, taking advantage of advanced technology and security without the associated costs or IT management.
In essence, a cloud-first strategy means considering cloud-based technology above all others, moving away from on-premises hardware and software and towards hosting software, applications and data in the Cloud. It prioritises investment in cloud-based technology, utilising shared, publicly hosted infrastructures instead of building and hosting private storage facilities and systems. In the long term, the strategy can involve replacing business IT with cloud-based alternatives when upgrades are needed or proactively migrating to the Cloud to reap the rewards sooner rather than later.
Traditional, on-premises hardware is often expensive to maintain and inherently difficult to scale either up or down. It doesn’t allow for the flexibility and agility that modern businesses need to thrive. This is what makes a cloud-first strategy so successful. By utilising the power of the Cloud where appropriate, businesses can boost collaboration, productivity and profitability. The operative phrase here being ‘where appropriate’; many businesses can confuse ‘cloud-first’ with ‘cloud-only’ and opt for cloud-based technology in every instance. This, however, can be counterproductive. For many businesses reliant on in-house technology, looking at cloud-based solutions on a case-by-case basis, as a cloud-first strategy suggests, is a more cost-effective and productive way to modernise with cloud technology.
By hosting your applications, data and services off-site in the Cloud, you can outsource complex and even day-to-day IT management to a third-party cloud provider. This enables your business to reduce in-house maintenance and take advantage of 24/7 expert support, so you can get on with running your business, without having to worry about your IT
By outsourcing your IT management to industry professionals, you can be sure that your systems, applications and storage are frequently optimised and regularly updated with the latest technology and expert support. Cloud providers can also monitor your systems 24/7, reducing the chance of downtime or system errors.
On-site hardware and software are expensive to maintain and have a limited shelf life- it needs to be continuously updated to remain fit for purpose. Choosing to host your data off-site allows your business to benefit from the latest tech and upgrades for a monthly rental fee. The best bit? You only pay for exactly the service you need.
One of the best advantages of cloud technology is the inherent scalability it brings to any business. If your company is still reliant on fixed technology, growing your business and its IT provision is significantly more difficult and costly. Hosting your systems and applications allows you to easily expand your IT as your company grows and develops, so you always have the equipment you need, when you need it.
By utilising cloud technology, your business can benefit from better collaboration across your company and between your colleagues. Cloud computing allows you to easily share files and documents, which makes collaborating and co-authoring projects simple and constructive- especially as these can be accessed from anywhere.
With your data, applications and systems hosted with an off-site provider, cloud computing can provide your business with built-in business continuity and disaster recovery. In the event of any disasters – including flooding, local infrastructure failure, fire and so on – you can be sure that your employees will be able to carry on working from any location, with the data and information backed up off-site.
As well as offering disaster recovery, the ability to access important files and applications from anywhere means your business can accommodate and promote remote working. COVID-19 has shown the very real benefits of building flexible working options into your business. Having the right technology to continue business operations from any location has never been more important, and cloud technology has become an essential part of remote working.
Opting to host your data with a cloud provider allows you to benefit from advanced security and regular updates that ensure your data is protected. Automatic updates on software like anti-virus and firewalls also ensure your cybersecurity is kept up to date and that your system has the latest protection.
Studies have shown that hosting your data off-site in the Cloud is better for the environment than operating and maintaining your own in-house IT. Some cloud providers even run their network of data centres and servers on renewable energy, allowing you to significantly reduce the carbon footprint of your business.
With the cloud set to continue revolutionising business IT, it’s essential that your business transitions from outdated technology to cloud-based solutions. By taking advantage of the benefits of the Cloud, you can ensure that your business remains operating at optimum productivity, retaining a competitive edge in an increasingly digitalised world.
It’s safe to say that the age of the private data centre is quickly coming to an end; cloud-based technology is no doubt the future of the IT and unified communications industry. As part of our cloud-first strategy, we made the decision to exit our data centre services and migrate customers to the Cloud. By investing more in cloud hosting, we’re choosing to future-proof our products and services against redundancy, whilst simultaneously safeguarding our customers from outdated and increasingly obsolete technology. Instead, we’re now able to pass on the benefits of the Cloud to our existing and new customers, offering innovative services and staying ahead of the curve. All of these things, of course, are essential to surviving and thriving in an increasingly digitalised world.
Alongside this greater investment in cloud computing, we’re also focusing more on our managed and professional services to help simplify this complex IT management for Manx businesses. When you choose to outsource your IT management to Elite Group IOM, you can rest assured that our team of experts will take care of managing, maintaining, and optimising your IT, software and cloud hosted solutions, proactively monitoring your existing solutions for technical issues and security vulnerabilities.
By partnering with Elite Group IOM, you can ensure that your business IT and cloud computing is in the best possible hands, so you can focus on driving your business forward without worrying whether your business IT can keep up.
Elite Group IOM is one of the island’s leading IT and unified communication providers, supplying reliable and professional IT and telecoms services to organisations seeking Connectivity, UC & Voice, Cloud Service, IT Software and Security solutions.
For more information on how Elite Group IOM can help your business flourish through technology, contact us today.
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