At the office, we are often discussing the benefits that inexpensive and agile cloud technologies can offer startups. In fact, startups such as Dropbox, 99 Designs, Instagram, Parse and RedBus have singled out cloud-based infrastructures as having a significant role in their success.
However, as the number of startups continues to grow, so does their expectation of how technology can support them to achieve their growth. Simultaneously, options for a startup’s infrastructure are constantly increasing in scale and complexity.
Typically time and money are in short supply for new businesses; it is vital that all of these resources are focused on the core business activity. Cloud technology means startups can make the best of their limited resources and not waste them on secondary or tertiary activities such as communications, document management, and storage.
That’s what makes cloud technology valuable to startups. It makes a business highly efficient and streamlined when it’s at its most vulnerable. So where does an ambitious, yet cash-constrained company start?
One of the core advantages of a cloud infrastructure is its flexibility and scalability. A startup must firstly be clear – as far as is possible – on its short- and medium-term business needs and goals in order to invest efficiently. But most importantly for companies at this point in their lives, ease of set-up and ongoing management and overall elasticity are essential. This flexibility means a startup can scale its services up or down in minutes according to its present needs, without limiting its prospects for the further future.
This requires an understanding on the part of the cloud provider, which only comes from strong two-way transparency and relationships. Startups must accurately communicate the goals and needs of the business. Only then can the cloud provider build the most appropriate infrastructure for the startup, focusing on operational efficiencies, performance, and a suitable cost base.
Finally, startups must be mindful of their data requirements. How often and intensively a startup will need to access its data could have a direct impact on the business. The necessary availability, source, and security provisions of the data being stored and used must all be shared with the cloud provider, who should then be able to offer suitable mitigation against security threats, network outages, latency, compliance, etc.
Overall, the cloud services for startups offer enormous benefits. Along with flexibility and scalability, cloud technology enables startups to retain control over their cash flow and not have capital tied up in infrastructure that is not generating revenue. In a highly competitive environment, this can often mean the difference between success and failure.
Of course, the benefits of agile cloud technologies can be enjoyed by companies of all sizes, not just startups. And regardless of the size of your organisation, the benefits of having flexible and scalable IT investments, including your data centre, are not to be underestimated.
Rob Bath, VP Engineering, EMEA