With 94% of businesses reportedly already using it in some fashion, and a global market expected to be worth over £440 billion by 2023, Cloud computing has fast become the way to run a business’s IT systems.

Despite that, many companies are still proving slow to make the shift. Whether they’re cautious about migrating, or simply don’t know how best to go about it, our series of articles on digital transformation (see the foot of this article) are designed to help the companies in question consider the change at their own pace.

As part of that series, here we’re looking at the benefits of migrating from on-premise servers to the Cloud.

Why on-premise (on-prem) is old news

If you’re weighing up the benefits of moving from on-premise to Cloud, it makes sense to start with a look at how you’re likely to be operating at the moment.

In an always-online world where working remotely has recently become the norm and employees needing to get at data from multiple devices depending on where they happen to be, on-prem software can be incredibly limiting to a business’s performance and potential.

Not only that, but the cost of IT upkeep when you have your own in-house servers to manage can prove prohibitive. That only increases if you’re in a highly regulated industry like finance or healthcare, where changes in legislation might mean complex projects that take your IT team away from their day-to-day duties in order to update your servers.

Add in the cost of keeping off-site backups, the potential loss of data if you don’t, and the general challenges of scaling a business based on the need to buy more hardware, and you have a rather rigid, expensive and inflexible setup that could undermine your ability to offer customers the best service possible.

Are there any benefits to on-prem?

A few – although how beneficial they are in today’s world might depend on the nature of your business.

For one thing, having on-premise servers can provide better security protection than Cloud ones, as they’re only accessible to those inside your network. However, we say ‘can’ cautiously because there’s one big caveat. Where externally-managed Cloud servers will be updated by a hosting company, with on-prem ones you need to manage security updates yourself. Fall behind on those, or miss a crucial vulnerability, and your in-house servers could end up much more compromised because of it.

Another potential benefit of on-premise software could be its ability to work if your internet goes down. When your entire business is reliant on the web, not being able to access it has the potential to bring your whole business screeching to a halt.

Having said that, Cloud hosting companies tend to have favourable uptime guarantees, with maintenance-related downtimes typically scheduled outside of business hours. In a few niche cases the ability to work offline might be a bonus, then, but you really need to offset those against the benefits of moving from a server to the Cloud.

Why the Cloud is the future

Whether you want to cut costs, improve efficiency, or ensure continuity of security, the benefits of migrating from servers to the Cloud are many and varied.

They include:

Shifting the nature of your expenses

Owning lots of servers and investing in a future where you need to buy more means committing your business to a large degree of capital expenditure. Once you’re on that path, it’s tough to get off it, with further hardware investment needed to bring your systems up to standards as time goes by. One of the big benefits of moving from a server to the Cloud is a shift from capital to operational expenses, which allows your business to be more agile.

In simple terms, it’s a little like investing in an expensive DVD collection vs paying for a monthly Netflix subscription. Like DVDs, the space, storage and management of the physical servers can be more trouble than it’s worth – especially when a more convenient, lower-cost option is widely preferred. And like with Netflix, if you find your hosting provider doesn’t offer the service you need – there are plenty of alternatives out there.

Scaling your business to meet demand

Cloud hosting providers tend to offer flexible pricing plans depending on a business’s needs. That means you can start small when you have a small head-count and only a few clients, and flex up your data storage needs when your business starts to grow. When you consider the comparative cost of buying and managing new servers to manage this transition, there are significant benefits of migrating from servers to the Cloud in terms of both finances and convenience.

Handling security for you

As we mentioned earlier, the perceived vulnerability of having data stored externally and accessible from anywhere can be a real blocker to some businesses adopting a Cloud-based future. Yet one of the main benefits of moving from on-premise to Cloud servers is the fact that security updates are handled on the hosting side. In many ways, that tips the balance of security in the Cloud’s favour, and gives Cloud holdouts even less of a reason to stall on moving forwards with migration.

Freeing up your teams to innovate

Another significant benefit of migrating from servers to the Cloud is that, because the servers aren’t your concern, it frees up your IT team to work on projects that can help your own business and your clients alike. These could include integrating ERP solutions to help better manage workflows, and improving your organisational efficiency across the board.

Is it time your business moved to the Cloud?

As you can tell, at DCSL GuideSmiths we’re big exponents of the Cloud. It may not be the right move at this very minute for some businesses, but we believe the benefits of moving from on-premise to Cloud apply to the vast majority of companies with a technological element.

Plus, with the world moving towards a more connected supply chain, even a business like the humble greengrocer could find a way to benefit from its interconnected systems, and the potential to have their services join the Internet of Things.

If you’re considering moving your business to the Cloud, please read the articles below:

Interested in having us help you in your digital journey? Visit our Digital Transformation for Enterprises page or get in touch to speak to us in person.