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Head in The Clouds: The advantages of a cloud-based intranet solution

by Siv Rauv

20 Mar 2018

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Big or small, organisations have long understood the advantages of working with an intranet solution.

That’s because intranets offer several benefits:

  • They act as a secure, centralised knowledge base.
  • They are an effective tool facilitating easier company-to-staff communication.
  • And they help to bring employees together, regardless of their location.

Employees need on-demand access to data, content and tools if they are to do their job properly. That’s whether they’re working in the field or responding to last minute demands, perhaps working from home.

It’s no surprise, then, that an increasing number of businesses have already turned to the cloud, which offers certain advantages over on-premise solutions as a dynamic, next generation intranet hosting solution.

"Everything is going to be connected to cloud and data...”

Satya Nadella, Chief Executive Officer, Microsoft

Easy and scalable

From personal music libraries and photo collections, to contact information and calendars stored on smartphones, tablets and laptops. Our personal lives have increasingly become dependent on access to information stored in the cloud.

The cloud is a communications network and data centre hosted via the internet, rather than a physical device.

The cloud has replaced everything from CDs and cassette tapes to the multiple hard drives that used to clog shelves and desk drawers. (And yes, your company’s mainframe included.)

Popularised for personal use by the likes of Apple’s iTunes and iCloud, Google Drive, Amazon’s Kindle library and many more, the cloud is now commonplace in everyday life.

Businesses are turning to the cloud as they come to realise that the integration of complex back end systems and large amounts of data is easily managed in the cloud.

Scaling in the cloud is also easy, with additional capacity and upgrades handled by a provider, leaving you to do what you’re best at: running your business.

In fact, given that cloud technology has evolved and developed at a rapid pace, a number of business-ready solutions are already available.

For instance, for mid-sized businesses, Elcom offers cost effective shared hosting. Each user has a dedicated, scalable space but the costs of hosting are shared.

For larger organisations, customised hosting through Elcom provides users with a dedicated space and support team, with a disaster recovery server included, hosted at an alternate location.

Accessible anywhere, anytime

But why opt for a cloud-based intranet over a traditional intranet, hosted onsite?

At first glance, an intranet deployed on-premise seems like the better alternative. It feels like it simply must be more secure, since you control the environment and therefore access.

But, in our connected, on-demand world, is this actually the most convenient place for your organisation’s data to be hosted, given that your workforce needs access to it dynamically?

Traditionally, in-house ICT security teams have deployed firewalls around organisations’ intranets. But that’s a big problem for a mobile workforce; remove external access and anyone not physically onsite will be locked out from what they need.

A cloud-based intranet is not only accessible from any location. Contrary to popular belief, it is also one of the safest places for dynamically available information to be stored.

Due to the larger resources available, a dedicated, specialised, cloud-based provider often invests significantly more in their security than an in-house team.

And if you’re concerned with security, ensure the provider you choose is bound by a Service Level Agreement (SLA), guaranteeing a level of service and support unique to your site.

Lift off, quickly

While setting up an on premise intranet necessarily takes time and effort, a cloud-based solution is easily deployed, at speed.

A themed template simply needs to be chosen off-the-shelf, extra models and connectors to 3rd party software then added, with customised branding layered as a skin. Job done.

There’s no need to tool up in-house support teams either since a subscription service will already include all the support required.

Peace of mind

A locally hosted intranet solution requires an in-house support team that is available around-the-clock should disaster strike. That means sizable overheads. Plus, inevitable knowledge drain when members of the team leave.

However, turning to a dedicated hosting service in the cloud suddenly makes these problems evaporate.

All the behind the scenes maintenance and operation of your intranet is in the hands of experts whose reputation depends on supporting you and your business. They will have a full scale team and the in-depth expertise to ensure your intranet runs smoothly.

And, for smaller organisations unable to invest in 24/7 in-house IT support, a cloud-based intranet offers a cost-effective one-stop shop. A secure data management solution allied to round-the-clock support and – pricelessly – peace of mind.

Lower upfront investment

Up-front setup costs for a cloud-based intranet are much lower than on-premise alternatives. This means you no longer need to delay intranet implementations because of budget constraints.

Instead you tend to pay a small setup cost and a monthly subscription amount. This amount covers maintenance, servers, hosting and version updates, so you don’t have to worry about any additional fees.

Up in the clouds

Given that cloud solutions are now a fact of everyday life (lose your phone – no problem – lock it with your provider then simply import all your previous data onto a new device), the smart solution for more and more businesses is no longer up in the air.

It’s simply in the cloud.

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