Connecting to a Digital World of Work – Catalyse Your Business’ Growth with The Cloud 

Over the last 2 decades, no technology has had more of an impact on workplace IT than the Cloud. From small-scale data storage to the infrastructure that hosts large-scale corporate networks, cloud computing services offer versatile, scalable resources that can be adapted to the needs of large and small businesses alike. 

As you read this, it’s likely your business utilises cloud computing to some degree. From storage services like Dropbox and workplace productivity suites like Microsoft 365, to hosting solutions for websites or databases, the cloud has helped many businesses remain competitive and agile over the last decade. Today, it’s estimated that around 94% of companies leverage cloud computing services in one form or another. 

Despite the clamour to embrace the cloud in recent years, many businesses remain cautious about exploring further uses for cloud computing in their operations. This can often be attributed to misconception about the cloud, such as unfounded fears that it affords less privacy and control than on-premise hosting solutions. However, with careful configuration, and strategic guidance from a committed IT support provider, cloud computing can be a powerful force for business growth, delivering the flexible, cost-efficient and remote-ready solutions businesses need to stay competitive in today’s dynamic business environment.  

Here are 4 ways Cloud computing can be harnessed to create value and drive growth in your business. 

Empower Effective Collaboration 

The access-anywhere nature of the cloud makes it an ideal fit for businesses looking to unite remote workforces. We saw this during the covid pandemic, which at its peak, saw almost half the UK workforce working remotely. Communication Platforms like Microsoft Teams and Zoom became household names, as smaller companies in particular chose cloud applications as the default tools for remote workforces. 

While many of us have returned to the office, remote access solutions remain an integral feature of business IT, giving employees a degree of flexibility in their work schedules by retaining working-from-home as a viable option. While technologies like remote access VPNs and SD-WAN provide an option for secure remote access to business resources, cloud-hosting and cloud-based applications remain one of the simplest and most cost-effective ways to facilitate effective collaboration. 

One solution that has arguably revolutionised workplace collaboration more than any other, is the world’s pre-eminent workplace productivity suite: Microsoft 365. Providing scalable file storage, a class-leading virtual meeting platform, customisable collaboration spaces, powerful task management features, plus several options for implementing workflow automation, Microsoft 365 delivers the tools and capabilities businesses need to empower focussed and efficient collaboration, both remotely and in the office. 

Live document collaboration allows multiple Microsoft 365 users to collaborate on the same document in real-time, with revisions made immediately saved to the cloud. Plus, hundreds of third-party integrations allows businesses to customise their Microsoft 365 environment with the tools they’re already using, with support for the likes of Saleforce, Asana, Hubspot and Trello. 

Streamline Workflows with BPA and AI 

In 2022, the global cloud computing market was valued at $569.31 billion. By 2030, that figure is expected to hit $2.432 trillion. These forecasts illustrate the growth in cloud computing that’s still to come, as businesses both big and small expand their cloud footprint even further. As the cloud continues to grow, tech companies will shift their focus even further into the domain of cloud computing. This could leave businesses without a cloud presence unable to access the latest innovations, and the disruptive technologies that are likely to transform how we live and work over the coming years and decades.  

Examples include technologies like AI and Machine learning, which have already made waves in the business technology space, with applications ranging from chatbots and data analysis to predictive security tools and sales forecasting.  

Business process automation (BPA) represents another unexplored frontier for many businesses, with the cloud providing the easiest route-of-entry to this efficiency-boosting technology. From cloud-based accounting software that can automate expense management, invoice filing and financial reporting, to human resources management systems that deliver automation for payroll, employee onboarding and performance management, cloud-hosted software provides countless opportunities to introduce automation to your business’s workflows. 

The cloud even provides options for introducing simple, no-code automations to rule-based repetitive tasks like data entry, data validation and form filling. Robotic process automation (RPA) platforms allow organisations to integrate applications that would otherwise require manual data transfer, thus giving staff more time to focus on activities that provide strategic business benefits.  

In summary, by enabling seamless cross platform integration, and delivering the innovative tools businesses need to streamline time-consuming processes, the cloud is a compelling IT ecosystem for businesses that are keen to achieve efficiency-powered growth. Migrating to the cloud now will also ensure you’re able to exploit emerging technologies, helping you remain productive and competitive in an age of fast-paced technological change. 


Enjoy Enhanced Security 

In the past, the notion of the cloud being inherently less secure than on-premise hosting was a myth in widespread circulation. Today, many businesses are realising that this simply isn’t the case, with as many as 94% reporting security improvements following cloud adoption. 

Thanks to cyber security budgets amounting to billions of dollars, and data centres that feature advanced, enterprise-grade protections to defend against both cyber and physical threats, leading cloud services are safeguarded by defences most SMEs would struggle to establish in-house.  

Microsoft Azure provides a good example of the types of protections applied to the data centres of large cloud service providers. Some of the key cyber security protections and measures incorporated in Azure’s data centres include: 

  • Encryption, applied to data both in transit and at rest. 
  • Firewalls and Network Security that features protective measures against fast-moving DDoS attacks. 
  • Threat Intelligence and Monitoring Center, featuring 3500 dedicated cyber security experts. 
  • Robust Physical Protections to safeguard the integrity of data centre sites, including 24/7 surveillance, biometric authentication and a continuous security presence. 

Furthermore, many cloud platforms feature inbuilt security features that users can configure to further improve their security posture and safeguard sensitive data. Microsoft’s 365 data loss prevention features and advanced authentication protocols provide a good case in point, empowering users to take action to prevent unauthorised access to sensitive information in accordance with the stipulations of regulations such as the GDPR.  

Other security controls and capabilities on offer include encryption, automated security updates and real-time threat detection and response that’s capable of providing network-wide identification and live threat neutralisation. 

While cyber security may not seem instinctively related to business growth, it’s important to remember how damaging and potentially ruinous cyber breach events can be for small businesses, with as many as 60% of small businesses ceasing to trade following a data breach or cyber-attack. By embracing the cloud therefore, you help to protect the long-term success and viability of your business, by hosting your critical services and data in an environment equipped with some of the best security technologies around. 

Reduce IT Spending 

Growing businesses need fiscal headroom, and one of the ways to achieve this is by reducing operational expenditure.  

The cloud allows businesses to run resource-efficient, cost-effective IT infrastructure thanks to flexible pricing mechanisms that are responsive to changing business demands. Pay-as-you-go, pay-per-user, reserved instances, and spot instances are just some of the pricing models used by cloud service providers, which give businesses the ability to scale-up and down according to fluctuating needs, and avoid the resource overprovisioning that’s so common in on-premise hosting setups.  

Cloud-hosting provides a cost-effective alternative to housing databases, applications, email servers and other critical IT services in-house, and avoids the substantial capital expenditures that tend to accompany network and server infrastructure upgrades. Thanks to the flexible pricing models we’ve just mentioned, businesses can provision networking resources, storage, virtual machines, compute power and more without having to purchase deploy and manage the host infrastructure, thus avoiding maintenance and hardware lifecycle expenses. 

Traditional IT projects can be a costly undertaking, with equipment acquisition, consultancy and installation costs capable of driving capital expenditure so high that many small businesses defer making vital infrastructure upgrades. By converting these capital expenses into manageable operational expenditure, the cloud makes it easy for resource-constrained businesses to run cutting-edge, growth-enabling IT infrastructure. 


With a wealth of deployment options, SME-friendly pricing, and platforms that put efficiency-saving technologies within the reach of small businesses, the cloud provides endless opportunities for organisations keen on using technology as a catalyst for growth. Start a conversation with your IT support provide on ways to leverage the cloud to grow your business in the years ahead. 

4TC Managed IT Services – Uniting People, Processes and Technology 

Secure, stable and optimised IT infrastructure is critical to the success of all businesses in our information age. 4TC helps businesses across London and the Southeast realise their potential through the delivery of expertly managed IT services and support, and solutions that solve business challenges by achieving perfect alignment between people, processes and technology. Get assistance with your IT challenges today by getting in touch, we’ll be glad to assist you!  

Connecting To a Digital World of Work – The Problem with Legacy Technology 

Over the last decade, Enterprise IT has evolved at an unprecedented rate, with each passing year introducing innovative new technologies and solutions. Despite the rate of progress however, many organisations remain committed to running outdated legacy systems, which are thought to account for around 30% of the workplace technology we interact with. 

So, what do we mean by ‘legacy technology?’ Legacy technology has no strict definition, but it generally refers to digital systems considered outdated by modern standards. Such systems are likely to integrate poorly with modern equivalents and may no longer be supported or maintained by their original developers. They are likely to segregate data, and provide no convenient option for the introduction of automation, resulting in inefficient, clunky workflows that demand a high degree of user interaction and manual data handling. 

Here at 4TC, we provide IT support, management and solutions to SMEs across London and the Southeast. Our mission is to empower businesses with secure, optimised and reliable technology that supports sustained business growth and success. One of the ways we deliver on these aims is by helping businesses identify ways to tackle persistent challenges and issues using the best modern solutions. This practice is otherwise known as ‘Digital Transformation.’ 

What is a Digital Transformation? 

A digital transformation is a process or strategy that leverages advancements in technology to fundamentally change how a business operates and delivers value to its customers. The objective of digital transformation is to improve efficiency, competitiveness, customer satisfaction, security and innovation, in an age when digital adoption is so integral to business success.  

We accept that the term ‘digital transformation’ can seem a bit misleading or ambiguous, after all, every business uses digital technology in one way or another. It’s best to think of a digital transformation as an ongoing, evolutionary process rather than a fixed state. Your business embraces digital transformation by considering inefficiencies, bottlenecks and pain points across your digital environment, and devising ways to tackle these issues by aligning processes with up-to-date solutions that perform to the standards today’s employees and customers expect. 

For many businesses, slow, inefficient, and poorly integrated legacy technology is one of the greatest stumbling blocks to undertaking a comprehensive digital transformation. 

Why is Legacy Technology So Problematic?  

Some of the legacy solutions still used by businesses today can trace their roots all the way back to the 70s, 80s and 90s. In those early days of digital evolution, the capabilities available to developers, and as a result, the priorities of the developers themselves, were very different to those of today. The result is applications and programmes that fall significantly short of modern performance and security standards, and that fail to offer the features, capabilities and integrations today’s users expect.  

Despite the obvious shortcomings, legacy systems remain entrenched in the operations of many SMEs, underpinning some of their most critical functions and processes. There is a natural reluctance among many business owners to explore a replacement for these systems, with concerns often expressed about the cost, disruption, risks and learning curve involved in the migration process. As we’ll explore in our next blog, many of these fears are unfounded, with modern alternatives to legacy technologies offering low-impact deployment, minimal upfront costs and intuitive user interfaces that require little in the way of staff training.  

Let’s now look at 6 key reasons your business should consider a replacing its legacy technology sooner rather than later: 

Poor Security 

Many of the legacy applications still in use today date back to the latter decades of the 20th century. This was a period of rapid change, but one in which the cyber security landscape was vastly different to how it is today. Software developers in those days, focussed on speed of delivery, often rushing out programmes that contained significant code flaws and security vulnerabilities. Often, little consideration was given to cyber security, in fact, it could be argued that even Microsoft didn’t take security seriously until the early 2000s. 

This culture of cyber security complacency coupled with software development practices that prioritised speed of delivery over code integrity, resulted in systems laced with security vulnerabilities, and programmes that lack the security controls and protocols today’s hostile threat landscape necessitates. 

Challenging Maintenance 

Using unsupported software is not only risky from a data security standpoint, it can also present distinct maintenance challenges and heighten business continuity risks.  

Outdated coding languages, like COBOL for instance, are becoming increasingly difficult to support, as professionals familiar with it are retiring out of the industry. As such skills become rarer, they subsequently become more expensive, resulting in growing maintenance costs over time.  

Maintenance struggles become particularly acute when business-critical faults that require urgent attention arise. If such a scenario were to develop, you could find yourself struggling to locate an engineer with the niche skills and knowledge required to reinstate your vital systems. In a worst-case scenario, this could leave you without the applications you need to run your business and serve your customers effectively, for a prolonged period of time. 

Data Silos 

A data silo refers to a depository of information that sits in isolation, lacking the ability to be easily shared and integrated with other digital systems or departments within an organisation. Data silos present efficiency challenges and inhibit a business’s ability to harness data as a means to drive value creation.  

Many legacy systems were developed in a time when data analysis was only common practice among larger companies, and when manual data handling was simply considered an unavoidable fact-of-life. As such many systems feature no cross-platform compatibility by default, isolating strategically valuable information, and providing no option for data transfer between systems other than slow, inefficient manual data entry. Siloed data stands as a barrier to collaboration, damages productivity, prohibits the use of business process automation and makes it more difficult to leverage insights from data across your business. 

Hardware Degradation 

Many legacy applications are incompatible with modern IT infrastructure, and as such, require archaic hardware to be maintained to support it. As this hardware ages, components begin slowing down and performance issues escalate into recurring system outages that hamper business productivity and damage staff morale. 

Additionally, outdated hardware is less likely to support or integrate with modern security tools, leaving the data stored in legacy systems more vulnerable to cyber-attacks and data breaches. 

Continuing to operate aging hardware to support your legacy applications could therefore be subjecting your data to an unacceptable level of risk, and leave staff struggling with buggy, slow and unreliable technology that falls well below modern performance standards.  

Damage to Your Business’s image 

Legacy systems are rarely easy on the eye. They look old fashioned because they are old fashioned, often featuring dated user interfaces that lack the finesse and crisp graphics found on modern systems. Using a legacy system in any capacity, be it public-facing or not, may portray your business as stuck-in-the-past and reluctant to innovate, damaging your image, and eroding confidence in your service or product offering. 

Dated technology can also impact employee satisfaction. Slow, unreliable and unintuitive technology can leave staff feeling demoralised, and can make it harder to deliver a high-quality customer experience, particularly in embarrassing situations where customers are aware of the issues and limitations of your technology.  

By operating legacy technology, you leave your business vulnerable to reputational damage that could see you lose the trust of customers, and you run the risk of missing out on new opportunities and revenue streams. 

Compliance Becomes an Uphill Struggle 

Depending on the type of information your legacy technology hosts, you could find it very difficult to take the steps necessary to achieve compliance with data protection regulations like UK GDPR.  

Under such regulations, data controllers are required to defend the integrity, confidentiality, and availability of personal information, using a range of technical and organisational controls and measures, including the likes of firewalls, anti-malware measures, user access controls, data backups and rigorous authentication protocols. Due to a lack of centralised oversight and widespread compatibility issues with modern security tools, legacy technology makes satisfying the requirements of leading data protection regimes an uphill struggle. This could leave sensitive data susceptible to misuse, loss, theft, accidental deletion, or unauthorised access, and could result in fines issued against your organisation for non-compliance. 


From security vulnerabilities that expose data to online threats, to data silos that present obstacles to automation and collaboration, legacy technology can represent a serious barrier to running a secure, productive, resilient and compliant operation that supports the growth ambitions of your business. By embracing digital transformation, you create a synergy between your technology processes and people, enabling a productive, secure and streamlined workplace.  

In our next article we introduce some of the compelling modern alternatives to legacy technology and explore some of the benefits that businesses can unleash by undertaking a digital transformation.  

4TC Managed IT Services – Uniting People, Processes and Technology 

Secure, stable and optimised IT infrastructure is critical to the success of all businesses in our information age. 4TC helps businesses across London and the Southeast realise their potential through the delivery of expertly managed IT services and support, and solutions that solve business challenges by achieving perfect alignment between people, processes and technology. Get assistance with your IT challenges today by getting in touch, we’ll be glad to assist you!