It’s challenging being a startup. You have great ideas, a passion for your products and detailed plan to get you established. But there are bigger fish out there that have the IT resources and infrastructure to attack the marketplace far quicker than you can.
Well, that used to be the case, but not anymore.
With cloud infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), you can now compete on a level playing field. Here’s how cloud infrastructure can be the game changer that enables startups to thrive against established enterprises.
Infrastructure on a budget
One thing that hinders the development of many startups is the expensive cost of developing an in-house IT infrastructure. Factor in the cost of IT staffing, premises, hardware, software development and any necessary redundancy, and it’s easy to appreciate how creating a system that can cope with Big Data analysis, resource hungry applications and traffic heavy websites can be a risky financial burden.
The benefit of the cloud is that many of these infrastructure expenses can be eradicated. There’s no need for premises or hardware as they are supplied; much of the software is available at far less cost; IT staffing requirements are much reduced, and there’s no need to pay for redundant resources.
As a result of using cloud, startups can acquire the infrastructure needed to compete with larger businesses at a fraction of the cost of creating an in-house system.
Quick time to market
In today’s business world, it’s not just the cost of building an infrastructure which is important; it’s also the speed at which you can deploy it. Whether it’s launching a product or reacting to changes in the marketplace, getting there first can have significant benefits for a company and so it’s essential that you are able set up your infrastructure quickly.
With cloud, the speed of setup can be dramatically decreased. It is now possible to deploy a fully functional IT infrastructure that either replaces your existing system or works as a hybrid with it. With less time needed to build and test the system, you can begin and end your business-focused objectives far sooner than with an in-house system.
In this sense, quick cloud deployment can make startups far more agile than larger companies that work with in-house systems.
Cost efficient scalability
Another way which cloud technology makes startups more agile is through its ability to offer unlimited scalability. There will come a time for most startups when they need extra capacity within their system, whether that’s bandwidth, CPU, RAM or storage space. In the cloud, this can be achieved more or less instantaneously as the service provider has all the resources needed. Using an in-house system, on the other hand, would mean purchasing new servers and installing and configuring the software. The difference in reaction time between the two could have critical consequences.
In addition to the operational agility, there’s also a financial agility that comes with cloud’s scalability. Cloud users operate on a pay as you go basis, so whilst you can scale up during peaks, you can scale back afterwards and reduce costs. With an in-house system, you would still need to purchase and maintain redundant servers in order to have the capacity to scale up.
Cloud’s scalability, therefore, enables startups to have the same capacity as any of their bigger competitors whenever they require it with the additional benefit that there’s no need to pay for it when they don’t.
IT development instead of IT management
Having an in-house system means that your IT staff (and much of your IT staffing budget) will be focused on day to day maintenance. By moving to the cloud, where much of this work is managed for you, you can eliminate the need for your IT team to do this.
This leaves startups with two options, firstly you can reduce IT staffing costs by having fewer staff, or you can use the time gained to focus on development operations. It also means you can recruit IT staff who are more development orientated and can move your business forward.
Security is one of the key features of cloud computing, offering startups a highly safe environment in which to develop their business. Spending on cloud security has increased by 20% as service providers continue to invest heavily in protecting their customers. And as the majority of businesses now use the cloud for at least some of their IT requirements, security software developers are increasingly focused on improving the services they offer to the cloud market.
Startups that move to the cloud will be provided with a multi-faceted security solution that works at different levels, for example, DDoS protection, Intrusion detection and protection, data-protection and data compliance.
A hybrid alternative
Another advantage that cloud infrastructure offers startups is the ability to adopt a hybrid solution that combines both a data centre and cloud outsourcing. For some startups, their individual needs may be best met by maintaining existing in-house systems but utilising cloud’s on-demand services to help with keeping costs down, coping with peaks, and having a far cheaper but more effective disaster recovery solution.
As with other aspects of the cloud, a hybrid solution is another way in which startups can have greater flexibility and agility to compete in the marketplace.
One of the biggest benefits for startups is guaranteed uptime of 99% and above. The reason this can be achieved in the cloud is because service providers have failover servers, redundant off-grid energy supplies and multiple mirrored servers in different locations all of which can be brought online if a disaster occurs. In addition, they also have advanced monitoring systems to ensure that the servers are running optimally.
To achieve the same high availability with an in-house system would require significant capital investment for a startup, so by moving to the cloud, they can ensure that mission-critical applications stay online without having to spend the same amount of money as bigger organisations.
From reading this article you should now have a clearer understanding of how a cloud infrastructure can benefit startups. If offers:
- reduced spending on infrastructure
- quick time to market
- cost-efficient scalability
- the ability to focus on IT development instead of IT management
- improved security
- hybrid capability
- high availability
Combined, these help startups become agiler, reduce financial burdens and make them able to compete with larger, more established and better-resourced competitors.