How cloud computing makes your business more sustainable

Cloud computing makes your business more sustainableIn my experience of dealing with micro businesses, over the last decade or so I’ve encountered a lot of entrepreneurs who have a greater than usual passion for the environment. They don’t want to feel that their small business is contributing any further to the damage that is being done to our planet.

That’s why I always talk a lot about sustainability and the role that Cloud Computing plays in making business as a whole far more environmentally friendly.

On first glance it might seem that the Cloud is not the most sustainable way of running a business. After all, data centres are estimated to account for around 1.5% of the entire power usage of the United States!

But if you consider the alternative – namely every single small business running its own IT infrastructure in-house – the Cloud suddenly seems like the more sustainable long-term option by reducing the individual energy consumption of every small business.

Data centres do everything in their power to reduce their power usage and their economies of scale mean that they can also pass those savings onto their clients. This means that energy bills of small businesses can be slashed along with their carbon emissions.

Then when you start to factor in things like working from home and the reduction of commuting, the sustainability benefits of Cloud Computing become more obvious. Just think for a moment about the carbon expended each day by people making their way to work in cars – and oftentimes they are the only person in that car!

A study conducted in 2010 by Microsoft and Accenture estimated that the smallest and least efficient businesses could cut their carbon footprint by as much as 90% just by switching to the Cloud.

There are a number of ways that the Cloud lessons the impact on the environment. Most importantly perhaps is the more efficient usage of resources that comes as a result of Cloud adoption. Each user only uses what they require on-demand rather than wasting server capacity.

The Cloud even enables large workforces or project members to work together over long distances and share multiple instances of the same application, making changes in real-time and collaborating on things together.

Sustainability is one of the secret weapons of the Cloud and it’s just one of the reasons why I spend my time helping small businesses and larger enterprises to make the switch.

Stefan Töpfer

Stefan Töpfer, is the CEO of – a leading business cloud infrastructure provider. The views and opinions expressed are his and are based on over three decades of personal experience in the PC / Internet industry as a serial entrepreneur, editor of The Small Business Blog, mentor and angel investor.

Photograph: Fotolia

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