Monday, June 22, 2009

Maximizing Technology Dollars

Using Cloud Computing to Lower your Tech-Spend

Regardless of your industry, it’s likely that you are feeling the squeeze from today's challenging economic climate. In an effort to stay in the black, several small businesses are cutting back on their non-business critical expenses; one of those expenses can be technology. Driven by cost cutting, several small businesses are exploring cloud computing as a way to trim the fat from their technology investment.

What is that cloud computing?

More likely than not, you are using a cloud computing applications already (also called Software-as-a-Service or SaaS in some smaller applications). For instance, Web-based e-mail and online office tools, like Gmail, Google Docs or LexisNexis are cloud applications. Essentially, cloud applications are software programs you use over the Web, requiring less upfront investment and fewer maintenance headaches.

The nice thing about software in the cloud is that it does not cost you maintenance overhead. Think of cloud computing as buying utilities for your home. Analogous to the cloud computing, you would not build a generator in your backyard for electricity. Rather, you let the electric company distribute that cost to all its users. In the same way, cloud applications do not require buying hardware, services or maintenance contracts.

As an added bonus, cloud computing enables you to leverage the same technology muscle as large businesses without all of the costs they incur. For small businesses, this means playing on a more level playing field. Today, cloud computing providers are entering the market for just about every industry, including, health-care, legal, accounting, and sales. The most prominent example of cloud applications today is SalesForce, which provides a Customer Relationship Management ("CRM") tool for Sales and other related industries.

Cloud Computing Adoption

Cloud computing (and SaaS technology) has been around for at least a decade; so, why is cloud computing making headway now? The most important reason is the affordability, reliability and speed of your Internet connection. Being a remotely hosted service, cloud computing requires a fast and stable connection out to the Web to access your data. Internet connections are truly more reliable today. In fact, you will more likely have more downtime with your in-house technology versus downtime with a cloud provider because of a failed connection to the Web.

For small businesses, trusting someone else with their sensitive data can be extremely daunting. But, do not fret. Cloud providers will do a better job securing your data than you can. On your own hardware, chances are you risk hardware theft by employees or anyone else who has access to your computers – authorized or unauthorized. Secondly, you probably do not know much about data encryption. So, to cut your technology-spend the right way, find a reputable provide and begin exploring cloud computing for your business.

Read about Ed Scanlan’s adoption of Cloud computing at Total Attorneys.

What Cloud/SaaS services are available in your industry? What has been your experience with Cloud computing?

1 comment:

  1. Great article Moeed. I am heading in the direction of cloud computing in my clinic. Our plan is to utilize this for our future EMR system. We are finding it to be much more cost-effective and very reliable.