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Blue sky, green benefits: The cloud saves your bottom line, offers environmental perks

March 5, 2012 / Scott Kinka

If you’re a small business owner, one of the last things on your mind is going green. Regardless of your politics, you probably don’t have time to think about your eco-footprint, besides maybe using recycling bins. You’re busy managing employees, driving sales, and improving customer service.

You’re also busy looking for ways to cut costs without cutting level of service, your agility, or your competitive edge. There are myriad ways to cut costs and many of them are probably on your radar. If the cloud is one of them, you might already be familiar with some of what I’m about to tell you. But if you haven’t explored cloud computing, you’re missing an opportunity to be more conscious of costs … and the environment.

Your company’s computer technology — likely a bunch of in-house servers, desktops, and equipment serviced by an IT consultant who comes running when the printers won’t print — is burning cash at a rate that would make you gasp. Now compare that to what you would pay to accomplish the same business objectives with your systems running in the cloud.

Moving to the cloud saves money by eliminating maintenance fees and simplifying administration of your technology. Often overlooked, however, are opportunities to save money AND the environment.

Here are three ways that moving your business to the cloud will do both.

  1. Eliminate power-hungry systems. Over the next five years, some businesses will spend as much on energy as they do on hardware. And because your hardware is performing a single function in a single business, it’s largely underutilized. Moving it to the cloud not only lowers your local power consumption, it also reduces overall power use in the cloud by upwards of 65 to 70 percent. This is a significant impact on your carbon footprint.
  2. Keep your cool. Most offices aren’t built to function as data centers. In fact, most offices, servers, and PBXs are pushed into small closets not designed for heat dissipation. Cooling these rooms requires more energy than generally required per square foot because the air conditioner is working harder. The equipment needs to draw more power to cool itself and ultimately will fail sooner due to the extra work and high temperature.
  3. Forget equipment upgrades. Servers, PBXs, and other hardware will all require upgrades or replacement at some point. Moving your systems to the cloud eliminates these hardware costs or enables you to keep existing equipment in place longer, keeping it out of a landfill.

The bottom line? By taking steps to reduce expenses, you’ll also reduce your power consumption and cooling (and in turn, reduce greenhouse gases), and keep old equipment (which is chock full of hazardous materials) out of landfills.

What’s not to like? Cost savings, great PR, and a clear conscience all wrapped up in a nice little bundle.

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