Cloud brings a silver lining for start-ups

Since we launched Make It Cheaper five years ago, our internet speed has gone from about 1mb to 15mb and now, thanks to the rollout of fibre optic Ethernet, we can increase that up to 100mb as and when we need more oomph.

The implications this has on the business and how we manage our IT budgets are pretty significant. Changes we'd never have considered before have now become a reality simply because we have a decent web connection.

So as our servers come to their end of life, we will seek to replace them with cloud versions. Our new web server build, for example, is being set up on cloud infrastructure for less than our current dedicated web server with the same provider - all in for £550 a month. Similarly, since becoming FSA-regulated last year, we need to archive all emails for 10 years and so we are using a system that offers UK based cloud failover, in case of system failure, and keeps them secure elsewhere. 

The obvious benefit of having more of our IT environment offsite is that it's managed and maintained by third parties and so there's less need to employ staff internally. In Australia - where Make It Cheaper is less than three years old - we've taken this to another level with email, faxing and servers already all cloud-based. Phone systems, CRM server, developers… they're all outsourced too. In fact, there's just one person in-house who's responsible for technology - and he's supporting the 100 staff we have out there over our two locations. We've not had to buy any servers, expensive phone systems or other hardware. 

Of course, the cost - and the day to day running of the systems - is ultimately paid by us in the long run, but there's no big upfront outlay, which for a young business is important. The upshot is that we can keep growing to several hundred staff without any significant IT costs to bear.

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