The benefits of cloud hosting are many for businesses smart enough to take the leap ... photo by CC user 79978394@N00 on Flickr

The technology industry has provided us with some amazing products and services over the course of the past decade, many of which we can’t imagine going without in our everyday lives now. For things that are still in their relative infancy, like smartphones and tablets as the obvious examples, many of us now can’t go more than an hour without checking them for messages, emails, Tweets and other purposes we deem to be ‘essential.’

Hundreds, even thousands, of businesses have started because of the kind of technology we now have available, using the platforms and services around to launch a product or service to either fill a gap in the market they may have identified or to grab a piece of the pie before it all gets swallowed up.

The cloud is a fine example here. Individuals use the cloud to store files either primarily or as a form of backup, allowing them to access the images or documents anytime, anywhere which has serious benefits for those who work remotely; but businesses can – and do – fully utilise the service too.

Cloud hosting has enabled businesses to run their servers from remote locations rather than on-site, allowing them to use faster, larger servers which they would have no way of having available to them in their current location – they certainly couldn’t afford the investment in their own private server.

Aside from the size and cost of the physical server, a cloud-based version has three main benefits –

  • Reliability

If you’re running your whole business off one server – and it crashes – that’s it for the foreseeable future until you can get it back online. This means that your potential customers can’t access your website or the products and services on it and you’re losing traffic, money and business.

By using a cloud-based server, there are always backups available ready to step in and pick up the information from the broken server if needed. This means that you avoid the detrimental “down time”, spreading the data across different servers to reduce the risk and damage caused.

  • Security

Of course, everything you store on your server is vital to you and your business. It can include client and customer contact details as well as the bank account details for your staff – the kind of things you don’t want leaking into the public domain.

By using a cloud-based server, you reduce the risk of being ‘hacked’ or having this personal information stolen or damaged by “acts of God” like floods or fires. You also reduce the risk of being forced offline by a localised power cut to your area. So while your computers might not be able to work, at least users in other areas can still access your website or services.

  • Flexibility

Growing companies always need to expand, and the same is true with their sites and assets. Sometimes you have to store so much data that you just outgrow your existing server and you need to try and buy a new one. By utilising the cloud hosting opportunities that are out there, you can expand as much as you like without having to worry about it. With multiple cloud-based servers ready to pick up the data, they are purpose built to cope so you can expand at your own pace.