cloud computing services

Cost Savings from Running Your Medical Practice Management Software in the Cloud

Cost Savings from Running Your Medical Practice Management Software in the Cloud 1200 651 Greenlight Managed IT Support Services | Sydney | Melbourne

Comparing the costs of on-premise infrastructure to cloud infrastructure is not as simple as comparing apples to apples.

If you’re thinking about migrating your medical practice to the cloud, there are a number of variables to take into consideration. Evaluating your options for the better value means weighing the pros and cons of each, as well as extensively calculating your total cost of ownership (TCO).

How Does Cloud Hosting Save You Money?

All of the articles on cloud hosting services will talk about how switching to the cloud will save you and your business money. However, with technical considerations like third-party software for printing and scanning, enterprise storage and even an upgraded internet connection, it seems as if you’ll incur more costs than you initially thought.

So, where are the real cost savings in this new wave of cloud computing?

No Initial Investments or Extra Set Up Costs

Transitioning from an in-house network of computers to the cloud doesn’t require any upfront costs or investments. The cloud serviced provider takes care of the infrastructure and set up for a fixed cost.

When you have an in-house network, you have individual computers with individual hard drives. These need to be maintained separately because they are not all sharing a unified server. This means that you will be charged per computer set up and configuration.

You’ll find that your savings come from a one-stop-shop type of set up. Your service provider only has to set up one unified server for your entire business. That means one installation and configuration—one time. One cost.

Full Hardware Utilization

In the cloud, all of your employees will be working on a shared server infrastructure. This ensures that all your hardware resources are engaged to optimize your cloud computing efficiency.

This proves as economical, since you’re only using one shared server and not multiple servers that may store unnecessary information. You have the advantage of setting preferences for your storage needs so that your cloud server utilizes its capacity properly.

In other words, you won’t have to waste money continuously scaling your storage. Cloud storage only automatically saves what you set it up to save.

Less Power Consumption

Since cloud storage fully utilizes its hardware resources, it consumes less power. “Full utilization” may sound as if it means more consumption, however, it means that the infrastructure’s power is used more efficiently.

Computing tasks can consume a lot of power, making individual servers run slower depending on the workload. This increases your bottom line when you have to pay more for less in terms of performance.

A Reduced Work Force Expense

With cloud hosting and computing, you won’t have to rely on an internal or external IT company for maintenance. Your third-party service provider will take care of any infrastructure issues that may arise as part of your contract.

This means you’ll save on employee or contractor salaries as well as benefits. Not to mention the cost of external IT fees per computer or device.

Built-in Redundancy

In the event of a power outage or emergency, your system may crash. To prevent this, you’ll have to purchase extra hardware to ensure that your individual servers will still run. This ends up costing more in maintenance over time.

With cloud hosting, you won’t have to worry about needing extra hardware for redundancy. Cloud servers may spread out through multiple data centres to replicate your data. This creates resiliency, so in the event of a disaster, your systems will be up and running.

The Costs of Managing On-Premise Servers

When we talk about on-premise infrastructure (or, on-prem for short), we’re talking about the physical server at your location. This server is also managed and maintained individually by you.

The costs of managing on-prem servers requires a considerably large upfront capital investment. The initial investment covers the hardware and installation, but there are also continuous support and maintenance expenses to consider.

In terms of your Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), you have to take into consideration both Capital Expenditure (CapEx) and Operating Expenses (OpEx), as well as your security.

Your Capital Expenditures

As mentioned above, managing on-premise servers means having the infrastructure at your location. This factors into being a fixed asset, like your office building, work vehicles, equipment, and the maintenance required overall.

With an on-prem infrastructure, you also have to take into consideration the cost for your servers, power systems, storage, hardware, software, and licensing—as well as the installations, upgrades and maintenance.

A large capital expenditure can place a strain on your organization’s finances, which could end up taking away from more critical initiatives.

You also have to replace this hardware every 3 to 5 years.

Your Operating Expenses:

Many people will put their OpEx in the cloud category, however any ongoing costs to running a business or organization falls under this category..

Any items that are accounted and paid for monthly are your operating expenses, which is why most people find migrating to the cloud a much more cost-effective option since there is a small overhead.

While the cloud won’t eliminate certain costs like hardware, software, support staff, etc., it will still reduce them substantially.

Security:

The pros and cons of on-prem vs cloud security tend to weight the same.

Your on-prem security will be limited to your enterprise licensing and any other security measures you decide to take at cost. Your security isn’t automated, and so your organization is solely responsible.

Cloud security continues to evolve with dynamic resources, but can still be risky due to ephemeral security boundaries. However, cloud security is shared security. That means that the security responsibility is shared among your organization and your cloud service provider.

Security is something that is often overlooked, but can be costly when left vulnerable in either case.

Migration has its Advantages

Migrating to the cloud isn’t just about saving money. It’s also about the efficiency and all of the benefits from a remote infrastructure.

If you’re thinking about migrating your medical practice to the cloud, the IT experts at Greenlight ITC can answer all of your questions.

Edge of the Cloud – The Horizon for Cloud Computing

Edge of the Cloud – The Horizon for Cloud Computing 150 150 Greenlight Managed IT Support Services | Sydney | Melbourne

According to the latest statistics, cloud computing is big. So big, in fact, that a full one third of IT budgets are now expected to be spent on cloud computing technologies in 2014. Not only that, but cloud computing is also growing at a rapid pace. It’s estimated that the cloud computing market generated $131 billion in revenue in 2013 and will grow to $181 billion within the next two years.

Oh yeah, cloud computing is definitely big.

Far from just being a popular buzzword, cloud computing offers a number of benefits for its users. For example, it’s estimated that users who switch to cloud computing will save 21 percent. And for many businesses, that level of savings creates a compelling case for using cloud computing.

cloud-computing-2014However, like most cutting edge technology, cloud computing is changing. Fast. And with many of these changes, it is important for companies that use cloud computing services and technology to learn about these changes to take full advantage of the benefits that they offer.

Five Trends for Cloud Computing

 

Bring Your Own Cloud

One of the major changes forecasted for cloud computing is the rise of Bring Your Own Cloud (BYOC). This phenomenon involves employees using public or private third party cloud applications such as Dropbox or Google Docs in order to complete their jobs. BYOC is quickly increasing due to the fact that it allows workers to freely access information from any location or device, meaning that they can work on projects at home or on the go. In addition, it also allows for the easy backup of data, and many of the services used are free or extremely low cost. However, BYOC does come with drawbacks. These include the fact that sensitive work data may be subject to security breaches if employees fail to set up adequate security. In addition, if all of the work parties aren’t on board with the same cloud software, then cloud sprawl occurs, where efficiency is limited due to the fact that employees are using different software on the same project.

Better Security

With more people adopting cloud computing, the issue of creating a secure cloud platform gains more and more attention. The nature of cloud computing means that there are many security issues that companies now face when it comes to sensitive data. Issues such as moderating levels of access to various users or ensuring the security of BYOC employees means there may be a minefield of security issues to be dealt with. However, with companies such as Microsoft and Okta providing new identity management solutions to deal with the security of cloud platforms, the issue of security is one that is sure to be placed on the front burner for the next few years.

Platforms as a Service

Another development in the cloud computing sphere is the movement towards Platforms as a Service (PaaS) technology. With the availability of technology that facilitates the easy development of software apps, PaaS will be pushed to the forefront due to its ability to facilitate collaboration across the cloud. PaaS provides companies an avenue to develop and run applications across the cloud without needing to have localised hardware or software infrastructure. As a result, companies with multiple locations can work on the same project almost seamlessly, increasing efficiency and collaboration. In addition, PaaS technologies cut costs due to the fact that companies no longer have to purchase the requisite hardware and software for each individual location, but instead can use the infrastructure stored in one central cloud location.

Lower Prices

As storage technology continues to get cheaper, the price for cloud computing services will continue to see a corresponding rapid drop in price. One of the leading cloud computing services, Amazon Web Services, slashed their prices by 80 percent in 2013 alone. Other cloud companies have followed their lead, with Microsoft and Google offering competing prices with Amazon. Within the upcoming few months, it is expected that price drops will continue, allowing even the smallest of companies access to cloud technology that just a year or two ago may have been out of their financial reach.

Graphics as a Service

The rising ability of the cloud to provide graphic solutions is another key change that is on the horizon of cloud computing. Graphics as a Service (GaaS) technology allows users to harness the graphics processing abilities within the cloud, making it easier for clients to run graphic needy programs without paying for expensive hardware. This new development is expected to benefit users in a wide range of fields that need high quality graphics, from the gaming industry to science and engineering.

With many companies still trying to get a hold on cloud computing it seems as if many of its benefits have not even yet been fully realised, much yet harnessed. However, by keeping in mind some of the trends in cloud computing, you will have a higher chance of being able to tap into the benefits of cloud computing and use this advantage to propel your business into the future.

Can Cloud Computing Providers Help Small Business?

Can Cloud Computing Providers Help Small Business? 150 150 Greenlight Managed IT Support Services | Sydney | Melbourne

We often get asked what cloud computing providers can do for a small business, and whether it is a worthwhile investment. Quite honestly, it is not for everyone, and there are a number of criteria a business should be able to meet before considering these types of services.

It is important to first define what cloud computing really is, as it is such a generic term that can mean a lot of different things depending on the context in which it is used.  It’s a bit like saying ‘car’– did you mean a shiny new Mercedes, or a 1975 Datsun? When you boil it down, it basically means accessing a shared computer resource over the internet.

Why are cloud computing providers “in” right now

There are two  major driving forces that have brought about the cloud computing trend.

Firstly, decent internet access.  Most homes and businesses in the developed world can get ADSL2 or better.

Secondly, computing power effectively doubles every 18 months see Moore’s law on Wikipedia.   When you combine this with virtualisation technologies like VMware, you get a business case for renting out server resources. Now this takes a number of common forms.

Infrastructure – You basically rent raw CPU, memory and storage resources. Amazon EC2 is an example of this model.

Platform – You rent the Infrastructure plus the operating system.  Windows Azure and our inCloud Application Hosting service are examples.

Application – You rent everything bundled together, often delivered as a web application such as Google Apps or Office365.

So what’s in it for the Small Business Owner?

  1. Cost Reduction – Over time, it is often cheaper to rent the shared resources, then buy, install maintain, and replace your own servers.
  2. Increased functionality and mobility – You can typically access ‘cloud’ services from home, on your smartphone and tablet, which in the majority of cases means improved efficiency in day to day operations.

Because cloud computing providers make a living out of delivering these sorts of services, they can achieve economies of scale which brings the costs of delivering these services relatively low.

What are the downsides?

  1. You need to be connected to the internet to access your cloud service.  If the application is mission critical, it is a good idea to have a backup internet link.
  2. It is not always easy to remove your data from a hosted cloud service.  It is good to know what the process is beforehand.

Things to consider or ask your provider

Latency – this is the time it takes for data to travel to the server and back. Is the server located in Australia or overseas? If the server is on the other side of the world, it will respond much slower than if it was located in Sydney or Melbourne.

Data Sovereignty –  Do you need to have your data stored in Australia? Try Googling “US Patriot Act and data privacy” if you want more information on this.

Multi-tenancy – Is your data isolated from other tenants on the same server?  How does the provider keep you data secure?

Bandwidth – Will ADSL suffice or do you need to upgrade to something business grade like  Metro Ethernet?

 

If you want to know if a public, private or hybrid cloud is right for your business, feel free to get in contact with us.