Transferring operations to the cloud has ensured it’s been ‘business as usual’ for many companies during the recent crisis. Being cloud-enabled has allowed firms to continue to collaborate across different geographical parameters and time zones.
In particular, the cloud has become the ‘go to’ solution for businesses who have had to concentrate on effective virtual team building to keep employees connected whilst working from home.
What is cloud computing?
Cloud computing describes the process of storing and retrieving programs and data via the internet rather than via a hard drive. The cloud offers a host of advantages – from reduced spend on IT and speedy installation, to flexible pricing and increased scalability.
Cloud based software has had a measurable impact on business productivity both for large manufacturers and small businesses.
How does the cloud improve business continuity?
Business continuity means making sure that an organization can continue to operate and make money throughout downturns or negative events. For this to happen it’s essential that remote teams can fully function and access applications from wherever they are. There are several ways the cloud acts to improve business continuity – we’ve outlined some here.
1 Improved collaboration
The cloud allows team members to share and edit files outside of the company firewall, across any number of devices. By providing teams with the right tools, members can communicate, collaborate, and work together cost-effectively.
The ability to meet virtually and share information in real-time means companies can reduce their time-to-market, improve product development, and continue to create better customer engagement strategies.
2 Instant software upgrades
In a cloud-based environment, organizations can run the latest versions of their software, immediately as they are released. These upgrades put new features into employee’s hands so they can become more productive.
For example, if a company can see immediate upgrades to their applicant tracking software, this will instantly put them in a more competitive position when it comes to hiring new staff.
Unlike with cloud based apps, existing hardware upgrades tend to be few and far between. In the cloud, upgrades are released far more frequently and take less time to roll out.
3 Always-on availability
The majority of cloud providers offer a very reliable service – many maintaining 99.99% uptime. Since the connection is always on (as long as there’s a reliable internet connection), employees can get to the apps they need from anywhere, and even work with them offline in some situations.
Cloud computing costs are flexible according to how much capacity is required. When more capacity is required, companies only need to commission it for those times. When less capacity is required, such as at low peak times, capacity can be decreased.
Employees can access data and applications no matter where they are, and they can take their work with them on smartphones and tablets in their homes or whilst working out in the field. By enabling employees to work more flexibly, companies also get a welcome boost to productivity. The ability to collaborate in real time also means team members can share insights like remote learning best practices in real time.
6 Lower costs
With no requirement to invest in equipment or build out a data center, businesses don’t have to spend excessively on hardware, facilities, or any other aspects of operations. During recessions (like the one we’re experiencing right now), cloud computing offers a flexible cost structure thereby limiting business exposure and enabling companies to continue to operate profitably.
7 Ability to add and withdraw capacity quickly
If extra capacity is needed quickly – e.g. when you’ve taken steps to promote your website and see a spike in traffic – capacity can be added swiftly so that servers don’t crash and the company doesn’t lose sales. When the promotion has finished, capacity can be quickly reduced to keep costs down.
8 Facilitate M&A activity
The cloud accommodates faster changes so that merging two companies is much more efficient. With traditional computing, changes might take years to complete in terms of migrating operations and decommissioning data centers. Now, companies can be up and running on the same IT stack in next to no time.
9 Reduction in environmental impact
Having to build fewer data centers and keeping operations more efficient means less impact on the environment. Companies who adopt cloud computing are improving their carbon footprint and boosting their green credentials.
10 Easy to backup and restore
According to recent reports, 73% of organizations fall victim to natural or man-made disasters. From malicious hacking to malware, these occurrences severely impact business operations.
In the event of a disaster it’s far easier to recover and restore operations in the cloud than with traditional computing. Business continuity no longer has to rely on backup options that involve tapes, disks, or flash drives – all of which have a high probability of data corruption.
Cloud computing enables backup in real time or at scheduled intervals – so making the old school night-time backups obsolete. And these backups can be automated with servers configured accordingly.
The introduction of cloud-based SD-WAN has minimized networking disruption even further for inbound and outbound call center software, ensuring that it performs more effectively.
When it comes to data security, the data that’s stored in the cloud is nearly always kept in an encrypted form. Hackers find it difficult to access the data because files look like gibberish rather than meaningful information.
Even before the pandemic, companies were seeing the benefits of adopting cloud computing. The remote working shift has now brought into sharper focus the need to find an effective way to ensure business continuity and keep project collaboration on track.
Given the unpredictability of world events, being enabled in the cloud is becoming ever more critical. Because of the cloud, businesses are finding they no longer need to shut down operations – or take a hit on profits – because they can adapt to shifts in working practices.
Cloud enabled companies have the flexibility to continue to give employees access to shared information, so they can continue to work at full capacity.
Bio: John Allen, Director, Global SEO at RingCentral, a global UCaaS, VoIP and auto dialler software provider. He has over 14 years of experience and an extensive background in building and optimizing digital marketing programs. He has written for websites such as E-Spirit and Pandadoc.