Canadian businesses are struggling with spiraling costs to maintain and update IT infrastructure because of the growing demands of mobile connectivity and increasing numbers of tools required to ensure an efficient, secure network. Help is readily available through cloud managed network services, yet there is still some reluctance to allocate the resources required to implement a system that’s set up and supported by an external provider.
“Canada has been slower on the uptake than the United States, but cloud-based services are gaining momentum,” says Sean Robertson, president of Strategic Technology Associates, an Atlantic Canada company specializing in IT services for organizations in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. “I get asked about cloud solutions almost every day.”
According to Robertson, businesses are looking to the cloud to tackle the challenges of network complexity. The goal is to maximize cost savings, increase revenues, streamline business processes, drive performance, and improve security.
“Opting for cloud-managed network services is a bit like paying for the use of necessities like electricity and water rather than owning a utility company,” he says. “If the cost is even close to the same, why wouldn’t you leave the headaches to somebody else.”
Nicholas Carr offers a similar comparison in his book The Big Switch: Rewiring the World, from Edison to Google, likening the adoption of cloud managed network services to buying paper and toner for a laser printer that is owned and maintained by a third party.
Cutting costs is one reason that businesses are making the move to cloud-based services. Not only are there savings in eliminating capital outlay associated with replacing outdated infrastructure, but there may also be reduced expenditures for service, security and operations. Other potential cost-related advantages of a cloud computing provider – especially for small companies – include access to up-to-date expertise and industry best practices, and having more time to focus on improved communication tools and innovative processes.
Economies of Scale are also an important consideration,” says Sean Robertson. “Let’s say you have a tax business that employs four people for eight months of the year and 12 people during the busy four months of tax season. With a cloud provider, it’s a matter of paying as you grow, rather than spending money for a larger system that rarely runs full-tilt.
Robertson’s endorsement of cloud managed network services does come with one caveat. “There are relatively few barriers to becoming a Cloud Computing vendor,” he says, “so it’s important to choose a provider you trust to ensure maximum savings, operational efficiencies and high performance.”
Top Five Reasons to Keep Your Head in the Cloud When it Comes to IT
- Cut Costs: Reduce your capital investment in hardware, software, upgrades, IT training, and expert talent. Save on recurring in-house costs for IT, minimize network downtime, and drive efficiencies
- Boast Best-of-Breed Technology: Access the most up-to-date technologies on an ongoing basis and protect against technology obsolescence.
- Pay as You Grow: For relatively stable businesses with little expectation of either rapid growth or decline, fixed monthly payment plans replace costly capital investments in hardware and software and unexpected charges for upgrades. Similarly, businesses subject to high and low periods benefit from flexible, pay-per-use plans that accommodate both expansion and consolidation.
- Consult the Experts: Having access to IT specialists eliminates the need to hire a dedicated IT professional and allows existing staff to forgo IT training and focus, instead, on the core requirements of the job.
- Cover your Assets: Mobility opens the door to new security challenges. Whether you rely on basic email or advanced field service automation, take advantage of your provider’s investment in security controls to identify and resolve issues in a timely manner and protect sensitive data. Look for a provider that allows you to monitor security technologies in real time from any location.