What is the Cloud?
Previously if companies wanted to run applications or programs software had to be installed on a physical computer or server in their building. Since the introduction of cloud computing companies can access the same kinds of applications through the Internet.
Since Amazon launched AWS in 2005 software developers have been scrambling to move their software to the cloud. Before this,business owners had to manage servers or dedicated PCs to run their business-critical applications such as Accounting Packages, EPOS systems and CRM tools. These systems had to be maintained, kept up to date with security patches and antivirus, they had to be backed up regularly and recovering from any kind of system failure or outage often meant bringing in expert help. In smaller businesses, all this work was a distraction from the core work of the business.
In a cloud solution, these practicalities are usually taken care of by the service provider meaning business owners can concentrate on activities that drive growth. Because all your data is now held off-site, you can also access this data while you are off-site. In many cases you can do this without installing anything on your PC, because the cloud application is built to be accessed through a web browser, such as with applications like Gmail. Other applications may still require a client application on a local PC but this PC connects to a server in a datacentre, removing the need for a server running in the building.
For businesses running in multiple locations there is now no need to connect networks between these buildings, each location simply needs its own connection to the web.
Why is Everyone Moving to the Cloud?
It’s Future Proof – Cloud solutions typically include free updates as new features are added by the developer, these updates are usually rolled out automatically to all users, since everybody is running on the same platform, there is no need for someone to go to a site and apply updates. Older systems would move towards obsolescence as soon as they were installed.
The cloud means Less Paper – When all your vital reports should be available digitally, for download, or export to a third-party system such as your accounting software, there should be no need to print them.
It gives you Remote Control – With a cloud solution there should be no need for an owner to go on site to run a report, generate a quote or update the price of a coffee.
It’s safer – A cloud provider’s dedicated security team should be able to provide better data security than would be feasible on a server maintained by a small business, particularly if you need to support servers running at multiple retail or catering locations.
It can make your business scalable – A cloud solution should be capable of ramping up as required when your business grows, without needing to purchase more and more servers and storage space. For example, if you open a new café you can just “copy and paste” your till screens to the new location.
You get 24/7 Monitoring – If your internet goes down overnight, your cloud provider should know about it before you do. Any locally running applications can be monitored to ensure they are connected to the internet.
It’ll Free Up Your Time – All of this should free up your time, so you spend less time managing tools and infrastructure and more time concentrating on your Food and Drink.