Cloud adoption rates are growing at a rapid pace, but many businesses are still unsure what the Cloud is. Those familiar with the benefits often deliberate “is the cloud right for us?” We caught up with Richard Kennedy, Director of Cloud and Infrastructure at Xperience Group and asked him the Cloud questions you want the answers to.
Q. In its simplest forms, what is Cloud?
A. Do you have a noisy black box sitting in the corner of your office gathering dust or do you often overhear your colleagues saying that the servers down? If so, you’ll most likely have a traditional on premise server which hosts your files, emails and line of business applications. The cloud takes your business data and stores it on high performance servers held in data centres so you can access it securely from any device, anywhere in the world.
Don’t believe me? A quick google search will return the definition ‘The practice of using a network of remote servers hosted in a remote data centre facility to manage, and process data, rather than a local server.’
Q. What kind of business are using Cloud?
A. Cloud solutions are utilised by businesses of every shape and size. In Northern Ireland, we’re seeing more and more SME’s adopting cloud, in fact, we’re now deploying more cloud solutions for our customers than traditional on premise server servers. Cloud levels the playing field, allowing smaller businesses to avail of technology previously only available to larger businesses with bigger budgets. A managed Cloud solution removes the need for IT maintenance, allowing businesses without in-house expertise to focus on their core business without having to worry about IT.
Q. Are there security risks with Cloud?
A. The security measures offered by Cloud are completely unmatched by an on premise solution. A migration to the cloud often increases security due to the extensive physical and electronic security measures employed by cloud service providers. In reality, there are security risks with every IT solution however, contrary to popular belief, your business data is often safer in the cloud.
There are additional preventative solutions available to Cloud customers, such as the enterprise grade security products from Cisco – including intrusion prevention and web filtering solutions to protect against the latest internet threats. Cybercrime is unfortunately one of the biggest risks to SME’s today, so whilst counter measures are available, staff education is essential to help protect your organisation from the latest threats, such as phishing and Ransomware attacks.
Q. What trends are you seeing in the SME space?
A. We have seen significant growth in the use of the cloud by business customers of all shapes and sizes. In fact, cloud adoption rates have been growing year on year among our SME client base, with sales of the traditional ‘tin’ servers in decline.
Accessibility has definitely been a driving force for cloud adoption, as well as the increasing need for integration among business systems. As a technology provider, we ensure the solutions we offer are both cloud ready whilst offering compatibility with current systems.
Q. What tech trends are emerging?
A. Artificial intelligence and internet of things (IoT) technologies are making our lives easier and more convenient than ever. Cloud enabled and cloud powered products such as Nest Thermostats, Philips Hue, Logitech POP, Harmony Remotes and Alexa are making their way into our homes and as adoption rates continue to increase, these products will continue to become more sophisticated over time. I have to admit; it’s been a while since I’ve had to turn a light on or adjust the heating in my house!