During the last decade, possibilities for relocating computing power and storage to cloud services have blossomed rapidly. Even optimistic estimates from ten years ago wouldn’t have predicted the capacity and plasticity of cloud services, nor of how users and servers would begin to employ them. Now, it’s hard to imagine life without them. Almost anyone with a smartphone uses a cloud service on a daily basis, but the possibilities aren’t lost on B2B companies. The advantages of switching older storage systems over to cloud computing are clear, especially for companies hoping to reduce IT operational costs and increase efficiency.
A recent survey by Morgan Stanley found that in 2015 the percentage of CIOs using Salesforce.com was projected to triple in the last year. IBM recently surveyed 500 companies and found that three quarters of respondents were developing detailed tactics for relocating at least some types of file transfers to cloud solutions.
So why the cloud? What does cloud computing have to offer B2B marketing companies?
To begin with, we’ll take a look at common challenges faced when using local file transfer:
- The average size and number of file transactions has increased exponentially in the last few years: software adapts to this more readily than hardware, which may only be replaced every five years or so in many companies.
- The sensitivity level of files transferred has increased greatly, requiring ever-heightened security, governance requirements, and firmer chains of custody.
- For B2B marketing companies in particular, partner file transfers are complicated and often handled by internal IT teams without real capacity or resources to keep up with new security challenges, or take advantage of new opportunities to increase efficiency
How can cloud computing benefit your B2B business?
The fact that cloud-computing platforms are Internet based presents several advantages over tradition in-house file transfer and physical storage. The following list outlines some of the ways in which cloud hosting can be of use to B2B businesses.
- Always up-to-date and easy to upgrade: upgrades can be automated from a centralised point. Upgrading software is much easier, cheaper, and requires less system downtime than upgrading hardware.
- Scalability: you can easily add capacity to transfer volume or storage for your business as needed. This factor is incredible useful for emerging markets and start-up companies.
- Lightning-fast modularity: new system users, administrators or entire new offices may be connected to live cloud-computing services overnight.
- Global Access: travel or physical remoteness doesn’t prevent you from accessing and transferring your data from anywhere in the world.
- Ease of investment: Since new capacity and functionality can be built into the system on a purely as-and-when-needed basis, businesses no longer need to invest upfront in extra local storage hardware they may or may not use.
- High storage volumes not limited by office space: even if your entire team works from home or on a freelance basis, and your B2B business has no physical office at all, you have access to massive scales of cloud storage and computing power when your business needs it.
- Responsive support: cloud server packages usually include expert advice, troubleshooting, and brief lead times before new cloud systems are operational.
All told, cloud hosting enables your B2B company a cheaper, faster, more adaptable and more responsive approach to business needs. You can avoid huge amounts of wasted time and human resources who would otherwise be sourcing hardware, choosing, upgrading and implementing software, researching security developments, and maintaining infrastructure. Switching to cloud computing essentially outsources these tasks to someone capable of doing an expert job for a much smaller price. Cloud hosting experts atWebdrive claim that the key to providing marketshare-winning cloud services is to remain innovative and to constantly engineer their products to better support the changing face of business.
What this means for your business
The switch to cloud computing, especially in the ecommerce sector, occurred very quickly. Until a few years ago, using ‘the cloud’ nearly always meant that online cloud computing and storage providers retailed their services in a form known as SaaS (software as a service). This model certainly improved upon traditional localized transfer and storage system solutions since it allowed B2B companies to reduce operational IT costs, but it tended to be a pricy investment, even associated with sharing revenue percentages. Smaller merchants avoided this approach at all costs and tried to make do with traditional local hosting.
The most serious drawback to the SaaS model, however, proved to be confusion around data ownership. Obviously it is imperative for B2B marketing companies that they retain ownership of content and customer data stored on the online cloud. It isn’t enough that cloud storage companies assume responsibility for lost or compromised data, nor is it enough to have an informal understanding that companies retain full ownership and private access to data. To tackle these and other serious concerns in this emerging market, cloud hosting services such as Umbrellar, Amazon Web Services and Rackspace have all taken steps to secure online cloud environments that offer more fully private file transfer and use.
Any B2B company, and indeed any provider of commerce services, can benefit from harnessing the power of cloud computing. Time-consuming management tasks like upgrades, integrations, infrastructure additions, security investigations, bug fixes and patches can all be handled quickly if not entirely automated over the cloud. Your IT team can spend less time on all of that and have more time to focus on improving processes and channels, and resolving technical user interface issues.
Cloud computing offers B2B companies are demonstrable ways in which to improve their services, increase efficiency, and give their storage system the best possible chance of responding efficiently to changes over time. Computing in the cloud makes it so easy to adhere to security requirements, and some of the best cloud-hosting providers offer backup services to complement their storage and security options. A team using cloud file transfer and storage can work on any hardware from anywhere in the world, without ever having to worry about manually upgrading software across all those devices. Cloud computing is the future, and if your B2B company doesn’t already have a cloud strategy, why doesn’t it?