The Coronavirus pandemic has seen a significant change in work life, with many millions now working from home. This has resulted in an increased focus on the use of cloud technologies and platforms; indeed many companies would not have been able to survive without these technologies.
In simple terms, the cloud is another name for the Internet. Cloud technology, therefore, utilises online space (instead of a computer’s local hard-drive) to run programs, store and share files, and host software.
Advantages of cloud technology
There are a number of key advantages to using cloud technologies. The main ones are:
Ease of implementation – cloud technology allows organisations to retain their existing applications and processes whilst avoiding difficulties/technicalities with the back-end, simply by moving them from offline to ‘online’. It can be achieved easily, quickly, and relatively cheaply.
Accessibility – with the cloud, data and systems can be accessed anywhere, anytime, provided that there is an Internet connection. This improves productivity and makes applications always accessible. It makes collaboration and sharing of documents possible amongst users across multiple locations.
Reduced need for hardware – because systems are hosted in the cloud, there is no need for physical storage or computers on-site.
Cost – ICT costs can be significantly reduced by moving to a cloud-based infrastructure. This includes savings on hardware, software licences, telecommunications, and even tech support.
Flexibility/scalability – cloud systems are easily scalable, meaning that organisations can increase or decrease resources based upon their needs. Many online platforms offer per-user subscriptions so you only have to pay for what you need.
Effective recovery – having systems and data in the cloud enables faster and more accurate recovery, if and when it is needed. It will thus also reduce any downtime.
Whilst there are numerous advantages to cloud technologies, there are a couple of potential downsides.
The first is that when you move services to the cloud, you are handing some control over to the provider. The fact that your data and information is ‘off-site’ can also raise some concerns around security. The second is that in-house IT staff will perhaps not be as knowledgeable about cloud systems. The third is that there is total reliance on having an internet connection, meaning that any issues with connectivity or power could result in limitations to data/systems access.
Cloud-based platforms for business
Both Microsoft and Google have spent the last decade or so developing their cloud-based products. They have produced the two most commonly used cloud-based collaboration platforms in Office365 and G Suite. These are used by organisations worldwide and have seen a significant increase in demand in the last few months due to the changes caused by the Covid-19 lockdowns across the globe.
Office365 v G Suite
The online collaboration platforms from Microsoft and Google both offer dozens of features aimed at making collaboration from multiple locations feasible and effective.
The principal collaboration features of Office365 are:
Outlook – Microsoft’s main email program, Outlook also offers calendars, contacts, tasks, and to-do lists.
Teams – Microsoft Teams gives instant access to chat conversations, content, and more. SharePoint and OneNote are also built-in, and video calls/meetings are supported.
Bookings – this online and mobile app is great for businesses that need to make/schedule appointments.
The main collaborative features of G Suite are:
Gmail – this email client is used by millions in a personal capacity and is also available for businesses. This means little/no training is needed.
Google Drive – this is the main storage facility for all types of files. They can be accessed from multiple devices, shared as needed, and many can be edited in real-time.
Google Meet – this offers secure video meetings to enable your teams to stay connected wherever they are.
For most businesses, Microsoft is the preferred platform and more widely used as it enables much easier collaboration with other businesses when it comes to sharing and accessing data.
If your business hasn’t yet looked at cloud technology or wants to look further at cloud capabilities to streamline operations and cost then give Cloudworks a call. We are specialists in cyber-security, cloud technologies and support. In addition, we continuously monitor our clients IT cloud infrastructure to ensure they are secure and protected against the latest threats. Give us a call to find out more and we will find the best strategy and solution to fit your business.
Call us on 0115 824 8244 or email firstname.lastname@example.org