Cloud computing has become a prominent buzzword throughout the technology sector and in businesses throughout Australia, but how many people actually know what they're getting with these services?
Google Trends revealed the way this confusion changed over time, with the search prefix "what is cloud" originally registering with the search engine in late 2010 before reaching a peak in 2012. According to these reports, it's still a popular search term, suggesting that businesses and members of the public are still yet to discover exactly what cloud computing is.
Essentially, cloud networks are managed services that an experienced IT provider hosts and maintains. This can be everything from data storage to software solutions, with the key point of difference being that these are stored in a server that computers and smart devices can access.
What does the cloud mean for Australian businesses?
Cloud computing, or managed IT services, provides Australian businesses with the ability to greatly reduce the pressure on their IT infrastructure, as these are outsourced to a service provider. From server management to software updates, everything is managed by an organisation's IT provider.
This brings a number of benefits for businesses that embrace these technologies. According to a guide prepared by the Queensland Government, one of the key advantages to managed IT solutions is that they're often a significantly cheaper option than the alternatives.
In essence, this is because rather than having to purchase all of the equipment required to run various software and store and transmit data, business are procuring these capabilities from a company that provides them through a subscription model. As long as businesses can connect to the internet, they have the potential to begin investigating these IT solutions.
Scalability and flexibility are two other major advantages to managed IT services. Because businesses are much less dependant on their IT hardware, it's quicker, easier and can be cheaper to expand a company or move offices.
How has Australia reacted to these trends so far?
As the Google Trends data detailed above, Australia has shown interest in discovering what cloud solutions are and how they can benefit a business. According to research from Frost & Sullivan, these investigations have also led to a considerable increase in spending on these services.
The firm has predicted the market for these solutions on Australia will be worth just over $4.5 billion by the end of 2018. With these investments only resulting in $1.2 billion worth of spending in 2013, this will result in a growth rate of 30 per cent as demand increases.
Frost & Sullivan believes the main catalyst for this growing demand is the potential for reduced IT expenditure. The firm forecasted that businesses could achieve savings of up to 12 per cent by shifting from traditional IT practices to managed services.
What do businesses need to keep in mind?
As with all current IT trends, there are a number of key considerations businesses need to keep in mind when investigating their capabilities. Managed services is not a one-size-fits-all solution and has to be tailored to fit the specific IT needs of businesses.
One of the main concerns for businesses approaching these IT solutions for the first time is security. To ensure these systems aren't going to compromise an organisation's data or privacy concerns, it's necessary to back them up with a disaster recovery strategy.
Organisations also need to consider which cloud option best suits their business goals. The two main options for them to choose from are private or public cloud.
Public cloud solutions are shared networks that are hosted by one provider but shared by multiple organisations. On the other hand, private cloud networks are still managed by a hosting organisation but are accessed by only a single entity.
If you have further questions about how managed IT solutions can benefit your business, contact the team at NetCraft today.