Cloud solutions continue to gain popularity both among consumers and businesses due to the many benefits they offer. You may have assumed it was just another passing buzzword. But with spending on cloud solutions in Australia predicted to approach $800M by 2019, it seems the cloud is here to stay, and with good reason.
A cloud solution put simply, stores computer data and programs on multiple servers that can be accessed via the internet. This replaces the need to store most software on each individual’s hard drive. This is a popular IT solution with Australian businesses for a number of reasons. It provides efficiency and value when installing and upgrading software because the effort required is minimised. A cloud solution can be a more cost effective option thanks to its flexible cost structure, only charging what you use now rather than what you think you might use in a few years time. It also makes it easy to share data within the company through a shared network, which can be accessed from almost anywhere at any time through the internet. As well, cloud computing can offer better security and backup in case of a crash.
A cloud solution can be public, private or hybrid. The public cloud is the most affordable option because it has multiple businesses accessing the same servers, divided virtually, across public networks. A private cloud on the other hand is dedicated to a single business. The systems in a private cloud are only accessible by its client from behind a firewall, delivering increased security and privacy, more control and improved reliability. A private cloud solution is the best option for organisations that require their data to be kept secure and private, or those that require customised configuration. Most organisations choose the Hybrid Cloud model as it combines the best of both solutions, making it more cost effective than a completely private cloud solution.
As major platforms such as Windows 2003 and SQL Server 2005 reach end-of-life or retirement age, many businesses are using this as an opportunity to start shifting their network to the cloud, taking the pain and expense out of any future technology upgrades.
If you have been considering moving your insurance broking system to the cloud, the good news is that Ebix now offers cloud hosting. Although most broking systems have been designed as “on-premise” software, they can however sit on a cloud server and be accessed via a shared network, which provides the same functionality as native cloud solutions.
When choosing a cloud solution for your business it is important to consider your company’s specific IT needs and check them against the cloud solution you are considering. If you are simply looking for a way to share big files within or outside of the company, there are many services that can provide this within an instant, at little or no cost. Some popular file sharing services include Google Drive, SugarSync and Dropbox. Simply upload the file to the account and share the URL. Goodbye USBs!
If you’re considering Infrastructure as a Service (IAAS), whereby your entire computer network is hosted on the cloud, then we recommend you get in touch with a specialised cloud provider with a good understanding of the requirements for running your insurance broking system in the cloud, such as Broker Ready (Melbourne) or Somerville (Sydney). They will be able to tailor a solution to suit the unique needs of your business, and deliver a smooth transition of your network and applications from on-premise to the cloud. From then on, the cloud provider you choose to go with will provide ongoing support for your network (for single or multiple offices), including data backup, disaster recovery, server maintenance, and security.
Moving to the cloud could seem too daunting to even consider, but you may be surprised to learn that you are probably already making use of cloud computing either at work or in your private life. If you’ve recently downloaded Windows 10, you might have noticed an added folder titled OneDrive. This is Windows’ cloud offering, allowing users to save important documents and images to this folder with the ability to access this data from other computers at anytime. Are you one of the many people to have adopted streaming TV and movies using websites such as Stan, Netflix or Presto? Or music streaming apps Spotify or Soundcloud? These are all examples of cloud computing.
As you can see there are many benefits to be gained from implementing cloud computing into the workplace and business IT networks. If you’re not entirely convinced, why not start with something small, such as one of the file sharing services listed earlier and see if cloud computing has something to offer your business.
If you would like to know more about how your insurance broking system can be implemented within the cloud, or other hosting services, please get in contact with the friendly Ebix team.