How the Cloud Makes IT More Sustainable

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Many companies, especially smaller ones, are not really concerned about sustainable IT. That’s the term used to describe the production and use of information technology in a way that causes minimal damage to the environment.

Businesses pay little attention to the idea of sustainable IT because they don’t think that their IT operations are impacting the environment in any significant way. After all, they may say, their company is not involved in producing toxic materials, and their facilities are not releasing any greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Yet the truth is that every time an employee turns on an office computer or prints out a document, the carbon footprint of that company increases.

IT Operations Have a Big Impact on the Environment

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), corporate data centers are among the largest users of energy in the country, accounting for about 2 percent of total energy use. The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) estimates that all that energy consumed by corporate computers, servers, disk arrays, and the cooling systems that keep them running, will result in about 100 million metric tons of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere by 2020.

Facts such as these may leave the leaders of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in something of a quandary. They’d like to be good corporate citizens regarding the environment. On the other hand, turning off all their computers is just not a viable option for any company that wants to stay in business. How can businesses reduce their environmental impact while still receiving the IT services their operations depend on?

The answer to that question is, the cloud.

How the Cloud Contributes to Sustainable IT

More and more companies are shifting some, or even all, of their IT infrastructure into the cloud. They are able to do this because of the “as a service” paradigm that has taken hold in cloud computing. In today’s IT economy, offerings such as Software as a Service (SaaS), Storage as a Service (STaaS), and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) make it possible for businesses to receive much of the IT functionality they require through the cloud. That allows many business to reduce the size of their on-premises data centers, or even shut them down altogether.

As more of the corporate IT workload shifts to the cloud, the overall environmental impact is substantially reduced. That’s because major cloud operators, such as Google and Microsoft, are committed to being 100 percent “green” in their own data centers. So, when a smaller company moves its IT operations into the cloud, it makes a definite contribution to the environmental health of the planet.

If you’d like to explore how your company can become more environmentally friendly, please contact us.