The Cloud is here to stay and Anything as a Service (XaaS) leads the way.
Oh, how business has evolved. Not more than five years ago, many businesses considered a move of their major business application and infrastructure to the cloud to be risky and full of possible security holes. But with the drive towards business success factors such as productivity, customer satisfaction, and profitability, the market demand for cloud services that are easy to deploy and come with a small monthly price tag is changing the way most businesses structure their operations and enable their staff to work from anywhere. The cloud has arrived and the era of “anything” as a service is upon us.
What is XaaS anyway?
Simply put, it is any technology that can be offered remote and via the internet. And no, it is not pronounced, “ck-a-s”. The “x” stands for the growing diversity of services available over the Internet via cloud computing as opposed to being provided locally, or on premises.
Perhaps you are thinking … that’s not for us. But you might be surprised at the use case behind XaaS in the workplace. Here are a few examples of when and why a company would choose a cloud service in place of the traditional on-premises purchase.
Companies are opting for a cloud-service for some of the following reasons:
- Want to keep your data secure and would like to rely on 24/7 offsite team to monitor your network
- Replacing your in-house telephone system with cloud-based, VoIP system that allows you to answer phones from an iPhone app
- Getting rid of the extra server in the back room that used to back-up your data. Instead, you have invested into an online service that backs up your data automatically, multiple times a day over the internet with extra copies of your data that live in more than one remote data center (we call this redundancy).
- Replacing your old Windows and Office 365 disks in place of an online version of your operating system and business applications that can be accessed from any device of your choice
- Spinning up a video conference online via a desktop application
- Accessing your email, texts and other messages directly from the web
Whatever the case, XaaS offers significant value for businesses that want to be efficient with the way they purchase and use technology to do business better.
It’s no secret that businesses have been looking for ways to tailor their computing environments to more rapidly accommodate the changing employee and customer requirements. Today, 18.2 million businesses subscribe to cloud services. One of the major drivers for the adoption of cloud-based services is that ability for businesses to quickly respond to market developments. “With constant availability to resources, data and other services through XaaS, businesses can respond in a faster way to any change in the business environment and enjoy better profit figures,” explains Rick Blaisdell, CTO at Motus.
Is Cloud Service Right for Me?
Here’s the easy answer: cloud service enable small businesses to focus on the business and not on the underlying infrastructure and systems which make them able to respond to new business opportunities more quickly.
But the real driver behind accessing key business functions and applications as a service have more to do with the fact that infrastructure (servers, networking resources, etc.), platforms (operating systems, database, web server, etc.) and software (Office 365, Salesforce, Google Apps, etc.) –as a service—all have tremendous potential to lower cost and drive up productivity.
There are several different types of businesses that find XaaS incredibly beneficial. Companies that increase and reduce staffing loads based on seasonal needs; companies that build and tear-down offices in various locations; companies will employees in remote locations or organizations with little internal IT resources. With the reduced need for in-house infrastructure and the increased need for remote locations and offsite support, the cloud has retooled the everyday use of technology into an on-demand, all you can consume model that is turn-key and available “as a service.”
XaaS: Same Bang. More Buck.
The decision to invest or not invest in technology as a major budget item is no longer up for debate. The real question for most office managers, department heads and heads of operations is this: can an investment into a consumable technology (as a service) increase productivity, reduce costs and/or increase productivity? Prior to the cloud, businesses would spend a lengthy amount of time evaluating different technology options, have to buy into some type of training to gain companywide adoption and invest into an upgrade/maintenance package. The human and physical capital investment into technology that would soon be last year’s model was enormous. Today’s XaaS offers a bigger bang for the same buck.
What are the advantages of investing into online, over the internet, cloud, hosted (whatever you want to call it) service?
1. Time Back to IT
IT teams have been pushed to their limits in trying to implement and maintain the growing demand for technology within the workforce. Many IT managers end-up spending the majority of their time troubleshooting problems and putting out fires. What the IT team really wants to be able to do is focus their time/attention on strategic issues that impact the organization and to bring cutting-edge solutions to the table. The fewer fires IT has to fight, the more time IT has back in their schedule to be strategic. Many office managers and COO’s will no longer have to rely on IT time and resources for upgrades and product updates. When a service lives in the cloud, updates, and upgrades just happen automatically, giving IT back the time they need to do their jobs better.
2. Access from any device or location.
This advantage is an immediate hit with your remote and younger workforce—gain access to your network and applications from anywhere in the world, on virtually any device. Location independence allows employees to work while on the train commuting to work, after hours in the hotel lobby or just from an on-site workroom. Teams can use company applications or collaborate in real-time giving everyone access to desktop, email, calendar, shared documents and specific industry applications from a secure, online connection. Instead of having to come to the office, the office has now come to you.
3. Dollars in Your Pocket
If point number two is a hit with employees, point number three is a relief for owners and budget managers. Cloud services promise convenience, better performance and redundant copies of your data for one flat monthly fee. No longer do businesses have to invest in large capital investments to obtain the hardware, infrastructure, perpetual licensing fees, and annual maintenance contracts required to run onsite. Now they get the same bang for more buck with access to around the clock support, constant updates and backup services for a flat monthly investment. The office managers that need immediate help can dial a support number and receive help anytime. Desktop environments can be customized based on a user’s security clearance or position within the organization. Having access to the same or better technology that big companies used to only be able to afford is a driving factor behind the adoption of XaaS and reason why leadership loves to put dollars back in their pocket.
4. Continuous Backup & Disaster Recovery
Security is top of mind for any IT and business leader. With so many Ransomware and cybersecurity attacks, businesses are scrambling to figure out how to protect their data and keep it secure. Some individuals point to cloud vulnerabilities as a reason for security failures and compromised data. But like any story, there is simply more to it.
The cloud offers businesses an advantage that was hard to replicate in an on-premise environment. The cloud provides continuous back-up in a redundant, offsite location offering businesses the ability to recover data loss and restore their environment in the event of a natural disaster or cyber-attack within hours or even minutes. The result is an environment that is 99.99% up and operational with no single point of failure.
Is XaaS something I can do myself?
Yes and no. Any service that runs over the network or engages with your data requires performance and security considerations. At Blue Fox Group we believe that technology should:
- Require less maintenance;
- Be easy to deploy;
- Flexible with room to scale; and
- Predictable in both performance and cost.
At Blue Fox Group, we help Arizona businesses adapt to online services to be productive and efficient. A simple evaluation of your environment can save you dollars in time/headache down the road. Consider having a conversation with us first. We can help you choose the best service for your needs (so that you don’t overbuy), make sure the service meets your security requirements and has enough internet speed to perform well. As a bonus, we also help businesses train on how to use different online services for greater internal adoption. Whatever the IT need Blue Fox comes to the job with expertise, solutions, and support to help you. Our mission is to simplify your IT, communication and technology environment.