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Three ways you didn’t know the cloud could slash your business costs

Written by Mark Debney on Tuesday, 09 April 2019. Posted in Enterprise, Technology

With the advent of new technologies, startups must leverage cloud computing in day-to-day operations which will not only reduce costs but also increase efficiency

Three ways you didn’t know the cloud could slash your business costs

While cloud services are growing significantly more popular amongst UK businesses, it’s important companies adopting the technology are fully aware of how they can benefit from all its capabilities. From speed and reliability to considerable cost savings, the cloud can improve organisations’ processes and boost efficiency.

However, companies must be aware of the importance of managing the cloud estate. If there’s no governance in place to control the use of the cloud, there’s a real risk the estate will become sprawling and difficult to manage. This will only lead to poor cost optimisation – the very opposite of what businesses are looking to achieve with cloud services. That would be a shame as the cloud can save businesses many costs. Let’s talk about how. 

(1) Advantages of cloud services 

Maintaining traditional IT infrastructure is viewed as complex, costly and often has limitations. But cloud technology can provide a more efficient, elastic and effective service to a business. Moreover, the technology no longer forces companies to manage their mass amounts of data manually. 

One of the greatest aspects of the cloud is its ability to scale up or down depending on business needs. It ensures a business’ requirements are served according to its budget. Additionally, it allows companies to be more flexible, providing work-related data access to executives and employees at all times and in any location. 

Cloud computing also improves data security by managing the underlying infrastructure, patching and management as well as providing easy access to encryption functionality as part of the managed service. This lessens the risk of human error, cyberattacks or power outages that come with traditional data storage systems and on-premise infrastructure. 

(2) Risks of a sprawling cloud estate 

While many companies are keen to reap the benefits of cloud, many are falling into the trap  of installing it but failing to actively manage the cloud estate. When the cloud services are up and running, it’s easy to believe the work is done. And while it certainly is to an extent, companies must ensure they implement a management system that controls the estate. 

Poor management of cloud services can lead to confusion around what data is being stored, who owns what infrastructure and what service relates to which application and, most importantly, whether any data or infrastructure are currently active. These questions take time to sort through and without management it would be easy for a project to slip under the radar and remain on the cloud without it needing to. The main business goal of using the cloud is to make operations smoother and for companies to run efficiently. This includes ensuring automation is functioning properly so as not to risk any issues or preventable delays slowing the recovery process down when things go wrong. 

Governance of the cloud is vital to the security of the business and its data. If there is unused infrastructure on the cloud, it will be difficult to keep track of any vulnerabilities or system updates, thereby allowing attackers access to unmonitored attack points. Companies will also need to manage the sensitive data they store, both on their business and any client data they guard – the last of which is particularly important since the General Data Protection Regulation came into force and made failure to secure it a crime that could yield a €20m fine. The cloud can be used to help mitigate vulnerabilities and strengthen security processes but only if there is a substantial monitoring system in place. 

(3) The key to reducing business costs 

To business executives and boards, cost savings will be one of the most crucial aspects of cloud technology. Forrester, the market research company, has predicted the cloud computing market will grow considerably. However, it’s important companies are making the most of the expensive cloud server they’ve paid for. While the initial purchase cost will be high, in the long term cloud can reduce costs in many areas – most notably in operations. 

Thanks to the increased reliability of the cloud and the lack of physical data centres, there will be less need for large numbers of staff to manage company infrastructure. Another advantage is the ability to scale services and shrink environments when they’re not in use –companies should monitor the estate to ensure they are not wasting money on unused infrastructure. 

Businesses should be focused on optimising the cloud footprint and must begin with creating a holistic, transformational strategy that includes a robust evaluation of systems on the cloud. With a thorough understanding of what services are utilised and where data is, companies can create a strategy to improve areas, develop continuous monitoring and fully optimise the cloud to enhance business efficiency. 

About the Author

Mark Debney

Mark Debney

Mark Debney, head of development operations at 6point6, the digital transformation consultancy. He focuses on deploying DevOps at scale for Enterprise solutions. He is an IT infrastructure specialist with over 20 years’ experience in technology and computer systems, with expertise in systems architecture. He has previously worked at BSkyB as a principal engineer and has also worked at The Prytania Group, AM International, Reading Room and the Royal New Zealand Navy.

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