Small Business Owners: What’s the Cloud and What Can It Do for Your Business.

6 years ago  •  By  •  0 Comments

If you have always asked yourself these questions, you are in the right place. We are going to give you an overview of what’s the cloud, and how you and your business can take advantage of it.

Ok, so first a little bit of history.

In the good ol’ days (make computing great again you say?), companies that wanted to have computing services in their organization, needed to stack up on servers.

What this meant for the company was not only having to buy servers but having to fill rooms with server racks, equipping those rooms with a cooling system and dedicated power, confront the network cable spaghetti monsters, having to wear noise-canceling headphones for their protection, aside from other budget-draining requirements.

It was the job of a fearless System Admin to keep up all the services, monitor them (maybe break them sometimes), and wake up at 3:00 am to install updates and complete network configurations.

Doesn’t sound so great, does it?

Well, over a decade ago, some big tech players decided they were not going to have more of it. See, big companies, have their own computing hell to deal with.

They have massive data centers all over the world to be able to handle demand, and thus inevitably had at some point excess of computing and storage power.

The same company that started as an Online Bookstore and became an Internet Retailer giant, Amazon, started building services that enabled them to use their excess computing and storage.

These set of automation tools and services are now known as Amazon Web Services (AWS). Currently, there are a few other big players you might have heard of, like Microsoft Azure and the Google Cloud Platform.

The Cloud and its Benefits

Cloud services or cloud computing means that you are differing all the servers and storage you need to an external Cloud Provider. So why giving up all control of physical computing elements like servers or storage is a good thing for your business?

  • You get rid of the need for space for servers, networking elements, etc.
  • Scale as you go: you can increase or decrease the computer power you need with the touch of a button. Actually, now you don’t even need to press a button since a good Cloud Architecture should be able to scale up or down automatically.
  • Free up your team from dealing with the maintenance of physical elements to handle development tasks.
  • Go green, and save energy in your organization (ISO 14001 anyone?).

I’m a Small Business Owner…Why Should I Care About the Cloud?

Ok, you may have gotten to this point and thought:
“Well that’s all great, but I’m a small business owner that doesn’t need that much computing power. I own a restaurant, so why should I care about all that Cloud Computing mumbo jumbo if I only need to look for hosting for my business website?”

We’re glad you asked, here are a few pointers:

  • Price: Although there are a lot of cheap hosting plans around, there are a few that are as flexible as owning your piece in the cloud. For example, if you have your own static website already, you could be looking at $0.02 cents per month per GB of storage (see S3 pricing). If you need managed hosting such as with WordPress, you could be looking at $5.00/month (see Lightsail pricing).
  • Scaling: As your audience grows, so needs to grow your infrastructure. Say that your restaurant became very popular, and everyone is looking at your website to see the menu and trying to make online reservations. Nobody wants to sit and wait 10 seconds (yes, I said 10 seconds) for your page to load because it has way too much traffic for your hosting plan to handle. AWS makes it simple to grow based on your needs, and it can also be set to scale up or down to manage your audience.
  • Power of the AWS Products: Amazon has all the services you ever dream off interacting seamlessly in one place. From storage, content delivery networks, DNS management, streaming services, load balancers, and hundreds more. They add services each year, really.
  • Prepare for the Future: You know that technology evolves FAST. Think about the restaurant of the future for a second:
    1. Customers sit down and talk to Alexa about the menu items and make their order.
    2. The order would be registered directly from Alexa to the kitchen.
    3. The chef can prepare the order by taking the ingredients from a restaurant owned recipe. It can also track the cooking time, and monitor the food temperature according to the recipe.
    4. At the same time, Alexa sent the order to your database where it can automatically update your inventory.
    5. From the inventory, it can create events to order new items, so they never get out of stock.
    6. At the same time, the Amazon drones of the future can deliver the inventory items you need with same day Prime delivery.
    7. The system can handle the payments in the same table using Alexa.
    8. Then, it can have the payment information go to your system, and update in real time your revenue, which are the most popular menu items, and reviews.
    9. You can also act instantly on a bad review. Everything on your order was tracked, even the items cooked up to the restaurant recipe standards.
    10. Earn your first (or second, or third) Michelin star. All of the steps and actions mentioned above one day could be possible, and being already on AWS can put you over your competitors since the services are already available to you under one single place.

We hope this post gives you a better overview of why you should be on the cloud. If you still have any questions feel free to chat with us!