Also identifies priorities for organisations to reduce their IT’s environmental impact
According to Beate Flamm, senior vice president of sustainable change at Also Cloud, managed service providers have a vantage point to guide businesses to a more sustainable IT through three transformative avenues: cloud migration, IoT based monitoring, and hardware as a service solutions.
The migration to cloud computing stands as a compelling case for reducing environmental impact. Beate Flamm said, ‘A study by Microsoft found that its Azure cloud is 93% more energy efficient and 98% more carbon efficient than an on premise data centre.’ This demonstrates the energy savings potential of cloud based IT operations. Cloud providers use virtualisation and resource pooling to consolidate computing resources efficiently. This approach minimises the number of servers needed and reduces hardware related energy consumption. It also allows for better utilisation of resources, reducing waste.
Cloud services enable organisations to scale their IT resources up or down based on-demand. This dynamic scaling prevents the over provisioning of hardware, ensuring that resources are used optimally. Beate added, ‘SMEs don't need to run an on premise server for their computing, storage, or application provisioning: a public cloud performs this function at scale much more efficiently than multiple small servers.’ What is more, cloud based infrastructure is instrumental in facilitating remote work, which can lead to reduced commuting and office energy consumption. This is especially relevant in today’s world, where remote work is increasingly common.
However, it is imperative to acknowledge the growing environmental impact of cloud services. As Beate aptly puts it, ‘While the cloud can help us in reducing emissions, we must still be mindful of how much power every Google search or automated data analysis session uses up.’
IoT driven measurement and monitoring systems are instrumental in quantifying and managing environmental performance. Beate explains the significance of these systems: ‘IoT connected sensors for measuring temperature, emissions, and air quality, along with monitoring energy and water consumption, are key components.’ These sensors provide real time data that empowers organisations to pinpoint inefficiencies and reduce their carbon footprint.
ESG legislation emphasises measuring and reporting progress in minimising environmental impact across all facets of a business. Beate elaborates on the role of managed service providers in this regard, noting, ‘An organisation's environmental impact is not solely about its energy consumption and emissions. Measurement is everything.’ IoT monitoring systems play a pivotal role in this measurement, providing the data needed for setting and achieving sustainability goals.
The adoption of hardware as a service models can yield substantial sustainability benefits. Beate underscores this by stating, ‘Shifting to a 'hardware as a service' approach significantly reduces an organisation's environmental footprint.’ By extending the lifespan of devices and promoting refurbishment and recycling, DaaS contributes to sustainability. For instance, a report by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) highlights that recycling one million laptops can save energy equivalent to electricity usage of over 3600 homes in a year.
Although sustainability and environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) factors may not yet be primary considerations for SMEs, Beate anticipates a shifting landscape. She asserted, ‘The fact that more and more affordable energy efficient products and solutions arrive on the market will support this transition.’ This change is driven by both legislative efforts and the availability of eco friendly solutions.
Beate also emphasises that sustainable IT practices can be accessible and cost effective. ‘A company might feel that sustainable IT is too costly and complex for them to deal with,’ she acknowledged. ‘But it can be as straightforward as using energy from renewable sources to power its servers and making sure to recycle old equipment properly.’
Additionally, she addresses data management practices, stating, ‘Storing old and non essential data indirectly contributes to carbon emissions. We all hang on to e-mails and documents from years ago, knowing full well that 90% of all data become redundant three months after they were created.’ Her advice underscores the environmental significance of data management.
The opportunity for value added resellers and managed service providers to contribute to sustainability and enhance customer relationships is substantial. By aiding SMEs in making the most of the cloud based ‘as a service’ offers available, managed service providers can not only add value to their customers’ endeavours but also bolster their own ESG credentials.