As broadband speeds rise and storage costs shrink, the difference between accessing files on a local computer and accessing them from the cloud is becoming less and less noticeable. Whether it’s a company database or secure email system, the benefits of the cloud solutions that are available to consumers and businesses small and large, are well worth weighing up.

Flexibility and scalability

Subscribe to a remotely hosted cloud-based solution and you can sign up for as much or as little computing power as you need: from apps, to processing, to storage, you can tailor a specific solution for a business without an army of IT support staff and without buying any new hardware locally.

Most cloud computing providers offer bespoke services that can be adapted as particular needs and aims develop and change. Should the company need to change direction, the cloud solution can adapt. Any staff member with an internet connection can be hooked up to the infrastructure from anywhere in the world.

As an organization grows, the associated cloud solutions can grow with it. If extra hardware or software is required, it’s simply a case of upgrading the cloud-based package, rather than shipping in new servers or buying additional licences for the office. What’s more, cloud-based computing services can be run alongside legacy software running locally.

Security

Protecting the IT system setup is an essential part of running any modern-day business, but it can prove to be an ongoing struggle: from email security, to data encryption, there are plenty of options and angles to consider, and the landscape is changing all the time.

Switch to a cloud solution, whether fully or partly, and you can take some of the strain off your shoulders, safe in the knowledge that your data is being protected by some of the best security tools in the business. Of course, you need to choose a provider that’s reliable and trustworthy, but the running and testing and debugging of the necessary security solutions will then no longer then be the company’s responsibility — this is particularly helpful for smaller outfits with fewer technical support staff.

Consumer benefits

Many of the benefits that cloud computing offer to businesses can be extended to consumers, too. Think of the ‘access anywhere’ principle, for example: consumers can access a document or an application from any web browser, with no need for a download or installation. Collaboration is much easier too, as all of the necessary files are stored remotely on the web, rather than being locked to one particular machine.

It also means the information that companies hold on their clients can be shared and viewed from anywhere. In a customer support scenario, for example, this can prevent the customer from getting passed around different members of staff before a solution is found.

Every business is unique, and the best route for some companies may be to create a hybrid system that combines both local and remote elements. However, the overall benefits of cloud computing are too significant to ignore, from both the perspective of the company and consumer.