By Shane Stark
Cloud has become the new buzzword and means different things across the board. So it may be best to start by defining cloud: Cloud computing is the use of computing resources (hardware and software) that are delivered as a service over a network.
With that in mind, here are five things you should know about cloud computing:
1. Cloud computing allows SMBs to take advantage of economies of scale.
For example, rather than leasing rack space, power and cooling in a data center for DR options, companies can work with a cloud provider to find a solution. Cloud providers help plan and implement a business continuity process that virtualizes the customer's servers and maintains storage for them at a fraction of the cost of traditional data center space. In the past, this type of disaster recovery solution has not been economically feasible for small to medium business, but by using cloud computing they are able to stay competitive with much larger companies.
2. Lower power bills and make an environmental impact.
By virtualizing servers, you reduce the power used, saving money and decreasing your carbon footprint. In 2012, Google reported,"A typical company that migrates to the cloud could save between 67 - 87 percent in energy."
3. Gives the ability to change capital expenditures into operating expenditures.
Today it is possible to change large capital expense items such as phone systems and servers into a manageable monthly cost by using VMs and hosted PBX. Rather than spending $50,000-$90,000 for a new PBX, today it can be hosted in the cloud for a reasonable monthly fee.
4. Access to highly trained IT professionals without the cost of additional employees.
By moving to the cloud, SMBs gain access to highly trained IT staff working for the cloud provider companies as part of their monthly service. In this model the customer can stay focused on what they are good at and their IT staff can stay focused on other initiatives.
5. Increased efficiencies.
Services are rapidly deployed and ready for use in a matter of minutes or hours versus the weeks or months it traditionally takes. In this way IT project results can be delivered faster, cheaper and with more quality.
Shane Stark, director of operations, Carrier Access Inc. , is based in the Des Moines, Iowa, area. His company focuses on making telecom simple, using strategic partnership and life cycle management to deliver a comprehensive communications offering. Their mission is to help businesses grow by offering them access to the innovative, cost-effective communication services they require to compete in today’s global marketplace. Stark is a member of the 2012-13 Channel Partners Advisory Board .