The world of business and computing has changed dramatically over the last few years. It really hasn’t been long since cloud computing became something that everyone was aware of, even if not everyone utilized it. Today, cloud computing is much more widely used than ever before, and it can be useful for any kind of business and any kind of sector; this includes civil engineers. Even if you have never considered using the cloud for your work before, there are certainly benefits to doing so. If you’re asking yourself whether, as a civil engineer, you should be making more use of the cloud, the answer is yes, and here are some of the reasons why.
One of the main benefits of using the cloud to store your work and to work from is that, in most cases, it offers better productivity, and that is the same for civil engineers as it is for anyone else.
In the past, an architecture firm might have gone to the site, spoken to the client, and then had to return to their office to start their design work. This could involve many additional meetings or phone calls back and forth, and this is not conducive to productivity. The job will still be done, and most likely to a high standard if the architect is good at what they do, but it will take time.
When this firm uses the cloud, things can be very different. Rather than leaving the site after the initial visit, the architect can download templates or ideas and start creating right away, without having to go anywhere. All that is required is an internet connection, a laptop or tablet, and some great ideas. They can discuss those ideas with the client face to face, showing them the initial progress. Once this is done, they can then go away and work elsewhere, knowing that the client likes the idea and more confident in going forward with it. This will save a lot of time and make things more productive.
Of course, another reason why cloud computing has become so useful in recent times and why so many firms – not just civil engineers but many others too – are using it more is for security. Hackers are rife and are continually trying to find ways into businesses to steal essential details. This could be banking information, for example, or client details. It might be the personal details of those who have bought from the company before. This information is then used to perform identity theft or to literally steal money.
In some cases, hackers are much more malicious, and they do it not for their own gain (or not solely for this reason) but to bring other businesses down. After all, if there is a security breach, you will have lost a lot in terms of money and the trust of your customers. Once trust is gone, it is hard to win it back.
When using the cloud, your data is much more secure. It is virtually impossible to hack into the cloud, and you can only access it if you have a password. Therefore, rather than storing sensitive information on a laptop or shared server, that information is now, more than ever, being stored online, offering peace of mind to all concerned.
No matter what kind of business you run, or what branch of civil engineering you might be working in, flexibility is critical. In the past, work would have been done during the ‘traditional’ hours of 8 to 5, Monday to Friday. The world is far different these days, and many firms are available 24/7. Workers want flexible working hours to have a good work-life balance, and since there is no reason for employers not to allow this, many people are working the hours that suit them, rather than set hours. This actually allows for better productivity and much happier employees.
What has this got to do with the cloud? The cloud allows for flexible working to happen more easily. It will enable homeworking to happen, and this could be part of the flexible way of getting things done. Rather than having to be in an office to do work, employees can now log into the cloud and work whenever and wherever they want to. If they are more productive early in the morning, they can work at that time. If they prefer to put the kids to bed and then do a couple of hours of work, the cloud allows this.
Prevent Data Loss
Data loss is a terrifying thing to happen to any business, and in civil engineering, it could spell the end of a big, lucrative contract. Although cyber theft is something to watch out for, simple human error or a hardware failure can mean that data is lost too, and when this happens, there is sometimes no going back.
Even if the information can be retrieved, it is going to take a lot of time (possibly more than the project allows for), it will delay other projects, and it will cost a lot of money if you need to get an expert in to help you.
If you are using the cloud, then your data won’t be lost even if you do make a mistake, or your computer crashes irretrievably. Everything will be safe, and no data loss will have occurred so you can continue your work in the normal way, and no one will know anything happened at all.
Finally, although civil engineering can be a financially stable business to be in, that doesn’t mean you are going to want to spend money unnecessarily. Buying high capacity servers and employing IT experts is going to cost a lot and could easily eat into your bottom line.
Instead of spending money on this, you can set up a free account on the cloud. This will, of course, only give you limited storage options, but it is a good way to start, and you can expand that storage at any time by setting a budget. You’ll know exactly what you are spending and where the money is going, and your information will be completely safe without the need for expensive equipment.