Save Energy by Moving to the Cloud

Fri, Apr 27, 2012

6. Misc.

Several businesses these days have already realized the efficiency of using cloud computing. As it turns out, the benefits of cloud computing may also include lowering your company’s carbon emissions and helping achieve any sustainability goals you’ve set.

Cloud computing, the process of running computer applications from remotes servers like the Internet, helps reduce energy consumption in a few ways. It makes telecommuting more accessible for more employees as they can access information via the cloud versus an internal company server. It also lessens the need for office space because of increased telecommuting and because it eliminates the need for physical data rooms.

Late last year an IT services and products based company, CDW, conducted a study on cloud computing. The research indicated that 65% of respondents who employed a form of cloud computing called server virtualization experienced a drop of 28% in their energy use. The study also found that the number of IT professionals who believe cloud computing is a more energy efficient way to run a business rose to 62%, up from 47% the previous year.

Another study, conducted by Accenture, also concluded that in addition to the many perks of using cloud computing like cost reduction, data-loss prevention and faster services, it can potentially lower the carbon emissions produced by businesses. According to the study, centralizing your computer applications and data with a data center promotes increased overall efficiency because the centers are better prepared and equipped to manage everything that comes with running servers, like handling peak loads, larger server capacity and usage, and server maintenance, even with a large client base.

Microsoft joined in the study, allowing Accenture to compare the environmental impacts of running servers in-house versus remotely via the cloud with Microsoft applications. What they found was shocking. Smaller businesses with 100 application users could cut their energy use by a whopping 90%. Larger businesses didn’t have as impressive of results but still found energy use reduced by 30% with 10,000 users.

Cloud computing can even prove useful and energy efficient for human resource departments. With all data and computer applications available in one central location, human resources employees from all different areas can all stay up to date with information, applications, and policy changes even if they’re in opposite corners of a building or across the country. HR employees could also work from home more easily with easy access to everything they need. This would prove especially helpful for large corporations who have HR professionals spread out across the country or even across the world because it would facilitate easier communication between all the different HR departments, no matter where they are. A cloud computing system for HR departments would increase overall efficiency as it could track resumes, create reports and calculate payroll.

Cloud services aren’t for everyone, though. Some companies find it to be less cost effective when considering long term use of cloud computing. Before you shut down your data rooms and terminate your office lease, be sure to research potential downfalls of using a cloud service, like, among others, the complete dependence on a reliable Internet connection to conduct business.

Jamie Lewis writes for Midwest HR, a Chicago PEO management Company. Midwest HR offers innovative HR solutions to organizations that are focused on productivity, profitability, and growth

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