To me, it’s a no brainer. Moving to Microsoft’s Azure cloud from an on-premise server offers a lot of benefits for small businesses. But making a big change to the systems that run your business understandably can cause hesitation on the part of any business – no one wants their business disrupted, and you’ve likely invested heavily in your current systems.
But what if a move to cloud can help your business take a step up to the next level? To be more competitive in a tight market? And to enable your company, and employees, to be more productive and efficient, and to better serve your customers, with less downtime?
Let’s take a look at seven big benefits of Microsoft Azure, which means the cloud service should be on the radar for all New Zealand small businesses.
1. Lower IT costs
It’s one of the most obvious benefits of moving to Azure, and it’s a winner for most small businesses: Significant savings in terms of capital expenditure. You don’t have to install and maintain the server hardware on premise or upgrade every five years – something that requires a big up-front capital investment.
As a cloud offering you pay for Azure on a monthly basis, and you only pay for what you need and use.
When you’re looking at the prospect of a $30,000 to $50,000 server upgrade, some quick maths will likely highlight the cost savings to be gained, even in the long term, with a monthly subscription cloud offering such as Azure.
But there are also other, less obvious, financial wins. That office space to store your servers is no longer needed, power usage can be reduced, and maintenance and support costs for on-premise servers can be reduced, if not eliminated.
The savings can be quite substantial and there’s the added bonus of moving from large capex outlays to regular opex payments, freeing up cashflow.
2. Scalability and flexibility
Cloud enables you to add resources and fire up extra services as and when required. This means you can scale up and down quickly and simply to cope with large projects or peak demand periods, or if your staff expands.
Rapidly scaling up on-premise servers, or adding new services quickly, can be difficult or even unfeasible for SMBs. And as for reducing your on-premise server capacity once a big project is over – try asking your server vendor if they’ll take back some of the capacity…
3. Keeping data safe and secure
There’s a misconception that keeping your data on-premise is safer, but the reality is there can be more security breaches of on-premise servers if they’re not fully secured. There’s also the added concern of securing the network, so data travelling it isn’t vulnerable.
Azure cloud is an advanced system. It’s one of the most advanced and protected cloud services in the market and uses the latest protocols. Even though it’s in the cloud, data remains secure if implemented correctly – and remains secure even when it’s travelling between devices and Microsoft’s data centre, as well as while it’s in Azure cloud storage.
There’s another misconception that being in cloud makes data accessible to everyone, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Security around access to cloud data is strongly controlled. In fact, Azure was the first major cloud provider to comply with the European Union’s GDPR data privacy requirements and is secure enough that even the US government uses it.
There’s also the physical security aspect: Moving to the cloud eliminates the need for you to worry about keeping the server in a separate room under lock and key so that it is physically secured. That has the added benefit that clients’ data is no longer at the mercy of any natural disasters that affect your office, such as earthquakes, fires or floods.
4. Built-in disaster recovery and backup
One of the best parts of using Azure cloud for backup and disaster recovery is that because Microsoft is a global cloud platform, they have tools that can back up easily and can restore servers in cloud in a fraction of the time it would take to restore on-premise servers.
Azure Site Recovery protects most business workloads running on virtual machines or physical servers. If you’re running your server on Azure, the Azure Site Recovery is always online. That means if a server goes down it can be quickly restored.
And it’s affordable to set up.
Azure Site Recovery can also be set up for on-premise servers.
Azure Backup, meanwhile, quickly backs up virtual machines, files and folders to the Azure cloud.
Once it’s set up – and Azure’s backup and disaster recovery is more easily implemented than on-premise servers – it is much less time consuming than backing up on-premise servers.
5. It’s not all or nothing
You can mix and match Azure with on-premise as needed. If you don’t want to move everything to Azure that doesn’t mean you can’t utilise Azure for the services you do need, tapping into the powerful and secure compute resources when you need them. A lot of businesses are using a mix of local storage and cloud, enabling them to reap some cloud benefits immediately.
6. Azure can give your company a competitive edge
We’re all striving to stay ahead of our competitors. Moving to cloud provides enterprise class technology at a SMB pricing, enabling smaller businesses to run with the big boys on the technology front – while still remaining lean in spending.
That can help you act faster than your competitors because you have the latest technology to leverage.
7. There’s an environmental positive too
It may not be about your bottom line, but cloud can also enable you to do a bit for the environment. When you’ve got on-premise servers, they’re not running at capacity (if they are, it’s time for that upgrade!). With cloud you pay for what you need and server capacity can go up and down to fit requirements.
You’re using less energy and likely reducing your carbon footprint because you’re not running systems greater than what you need.
There’s also a lot less wastage in terms of the packing materials ubiquitous with server shipments and less resources required to manufacture those, and less air miles because there’s no shipments.
So cloud, while it has plenty of benefits for your business’ productivity and bottom line, is also an unselfish act because the environment gets the benefit too.
If I’ve managed to convince you that cloud is a no-brainer for your business, or if you’d like to hear more about the specific benefits your business could attain from moving to cloud, view https://redbrick.nz/casestudy/jacksons/ for more details or get in touch with me directly.