Get your head in the Clouds

There is a quiet revolution taking place in the technology world. Driving this revolution is something called Cloud Computing.

Cloud Computing involves organisations hosting data on the web and offers significant cost and efficiency saving benefits for travel operators.

But, while the Cloud can be more convenient, it also presents new opportunities and challenges.

So, before you jump head first into the Cloud, below are the top five considerations for travel companies:

1 – Cost reduction

Travel companies will find it costs less to pay for Cloud services and storage than it does to maintain their own servers. Migrating services to the Cloud will be easier for start-ups, but there are good reasons for ‘traditional’ organisations to use the Cloud, especially for ‘non mission critical’ applications.

2 – Availability

To avoid the risk of downtime, travel operators should consider using a hosting company to ensure robust, reliable Cloud services.

Hosting companies rent storage space and Cloud services to businesses according to their needs, using Service Provider Licence Agreements (or SPLAs), to help travel companies manage cost and risk.

Hosters have advanced technologies to hand including intelligent web traffic management and extra computing power to cope with the peaks of traffic often experienced by travel businesses. However, not all hosters are created equal. Determine what the key priorities are for your organisation and check that third-party companies can meet your needs before embarking on a relationship.

3 – Security

Security is often the first concern for businesses when we talk about Cloud Computing. However, it’s usually people’s mindsets that need to be overcome rather than actual security challenges. In fact, if you choose a hosting company to manage your cloud migration, you will find that their security procedures and technologies are stronger than your own.

But again, be sure to check first. Asking for reliability reports and proof of specific security products is not uncommon. If you are nervous about the Cloud, there are other options to consider including adopting a hybrid model where non-critical applications and services run off the Cloud and other more sensitive applications are kept internally. Or you can use an ‘internal Cloud’ to pool computing power and making it available internally.

4 – Competition

Technology analyst house IDC predicts that, four years from now, the Cloud Computing market will be worth more than £26bn. It’s more than likely that if your competitors aren’t using it already, they will be very soon.

Cloud Computing can offer increased performance and reliability, as well as enhanced security and reduced costs if its deployed correctly, so don’t get left behind in the Cloud revolution.

5 – Innovate quickly

The Cloud can present new opportunities for innovation. Travel companies can use its computing power to try new applications without needing to invest in the necessary IT infrastructure to stay ahead of the curve.

Likewise, if new ideas do not pan out as planned, you are not left with a lot of unused expensive IT infrastructure.

Nick Bond is e-travel specialist at Zeus Technology

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