Cloud computing is not just the future—it is already a firmly established business standard. And those who have yet to adopt the technology are facing the consequences now more than ever.
Ports that have taken advantage of the technology are seeing an impressive payoff during the Covid-19 pandemic crisis, maintaining business continuity and resilience while their entire workforce seamlessly works from anywhere. For the less fortunate, they’ve been caught off guard.
Cloud computing enables on-demand delivery of computer services over the internet, typically managed by a third-party provider. These could be general business services, such as office applications. Or they may be industry specific, such as MarineBerth for managing the movement of vessels, cargo and crew within a port. This is a shift from having onsite infrastructure which is managed and maintained by the business itself.
Businesses yet to make the jump likely have understandable concerns. How much will it cost? Will our data be safe? Why change if our current system is working fine? Cloud services have come a long way, and with the right approach, the technology can be exceptionally secure and cost effective.
So, what are the top benefits of making your business cloud-based? Let us briefly consider five of them.
Reduced Cost of Ownership
Industry specific off-the-shelf software invariably comes with an eye-watering price tag, and custom development carries both cost and considerable risk. A founding principle of software as a service (SaaS) is making quality software affordable to the many—typically on a subscription basis. There are no additional costs for software updates or upgrades, and fees often cover a respectable level of customer support.
There is a strong business case for giving your workforce the capability to work from anywhere, and this goes beyond weathering the pandemic crisis. Global trends have been moving towards more flexible working arrangements. For business’ wishing to attract the very best talent, providing a working from home option can be a strong selling point. Flexible working has also been shown to increase job satisfaction and improve productivity. Additionally, having a cloud-based system can enable you to seamlessly bring external contributors into your work environment—agents, stevedores and others.
Collaboration has long been key to human accomplishment, yet our use of information systems in support of this truism has lagged. We know this by the sheer number of software systems hidden away on internal company networks. Cloud computing is perfect for eliminating so-called data silos and delivering the enormous and mutual benefits of information sharing. Inbuilt safeguards ensure that sensitive company data is not exposed to undue risk.
Safe and Secure Data
Cloud providers have invested considerably into the security and reliability of their systems. Advanced security features such as multi-factor authentication, encryption, and access control have become almost standard. A security flaw or hack on their system would be devastating to a cloud provider’s brand, meaning that you can rely on their constant vigilance.
Using cloud services gives your business the full capability to scale your infrastructure to the needs of the moment. This solution is far quicker and normally more cost effective than the upfront purchasing of onsite technology that needs to be managed, maintained, and upgraded by your business. Cloud providers have the benefit of economies of scale.
The pandemic has highlighted the risk of being complacent with your technology. In this article we considered five important benefits of making your business cloud based. Cloud computing is the delivery of computing services over the Internet (“the Cloud”) to offer faster innovation, flexible resources, and economies of scale. You typically pay only for the cloud services you use, helping you lower your operating costs, run your infrastructure more efficiently, and scale as your business needs change.
Software as a service (SaaS) is a method for delivering software applications from the Cloud, on-demand and typically on a subscription basis. Such applications tend to be lightweight and modular by design, with a clean separation of concerns. SaaS applications now exist for nearly every industry type, such as MarineBerth for use by ports and marine terminals. Companies that have adopted this approach have been rewarded with a significantly more agile and robust IT infrastructure, better able to meet the challenges and uncertainties of a post-Covid maritime world.
Which of the above factors matter most to your port? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.
*Software Craftsman | MarineBerth Founder | Port Superintendent
Taranaki, Wanganui & Manawatu, New Zealand