The cloud computing concept is simple: it enables you to run computer applications over the Internet, removing the need to buy, install or manage your own servers. You can simply run your company's IT operations with just a browser and an Internet connection. Applications, operating systems, servers and network switches all reside out of sight and within the metaphorical "cloud"—the Internet—and are hosted and managed by your cloud computing or Software-as-a-Service vendor.
A New Way of Doing Business
Cloud computing has revolutionised software delivery in several ways:
- Low overhead: System upgrades, maintenance and administration take place in the cloud and are managed by the vendor. You don't have to spend nights or weekends supervising a new version upgrade or a failed server. One industry analyst study found that cloud computing business software cost 50% less than on-premise software over a four-year period for a 100-employee company.
- Ease of anytime, anywhere access: Cloud computing is "always on," supporting your business growth. Your remote workers and locations, or highly mobile sales or service team can access the cloud when they need it any time, day or night, from any Internet browser, desktop or mobile device around the globe, 24x7.
- High availability: Cloud computing software architectures are built from the ground up for maximum network performance and often deliver better application-level availability than traditional, on-premise solutions. For example, NetSuite commits to 99.5% availability for its customers, which is higher than what many companies can achieve themselves.
- Strong security: The level of security, disaster recovery and back-up provided by a software-as-a-service provider often far exceeds that which many companies can provide by themselves. NetSuite, for example, provides robust data security, such as PCI DSS compliance, that would be cost prohibitive to achieve with on-premise software.
- Fast deployment: Your business can be up and running with ERP, CRM and ecommerce applications, on a local or global scale, within just a few months, rather than the six to 12 months it typically takes to install and troubleshoot traditional on-premise servers and software.
- Optimised performance: The cloud is scalable to your business performance needs, dynamically assigning server cycles whenever and wherever you require, and automatically adjusting to spikes in your business.
- Subscription-based pricing: The pay as you go, often on an annual basis (unlike traditional systems where you have to make a major up-front investment in licences, hardware and software) has benefits of better cash flow and far greater IT flexibility.
- Energy savings: By removing the requirement for on-premise hardware and IT infrastructure, cloud computing lowers overall server room electric consumption which can save a mid-size businesses $10,000 or more per year, according to a recent sustainability impact study.
You're in Control
Most of all, cloud computing frees you up to focus on your business instead of your software. You don't have to tie up valuable IT resources to keep business systems on life support. Instead, you can re-deploy them to focus on innovation and more strategic business initiatives, while relying on your cloud computing vendor to manage scalability, security, uptime, application maintenance and system upgrades.
And you can have confidence when taking your business public, or entering new markets in the world, knowing that you will never outgrow your cloud computing resources, thanks to the world-class datacentres provided by cloud computing vendors like NetSuite.