Cloud computing is one of the most discussed topics in the IT world today.
The cloud has huge applications for businesses, individuals and government organizations. Actually pretty much everyone today uses a cloud application whether they know it or not.
Even though the topic of cloud computing has gained mainstream popularity over the last 10 or so years the actual term itself can be traced as far back as 1996. Looking at the history computing and networks we can see that the transition to cloud computing is a very logical step in our technological evolution.
Nowadays more businesses are realizing that the transition cloud is becoming inevitable if they want to compete in today’s dynamic market.
So regardless if you’re interested in the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), the Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) or the Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) model, the cloud can improve the quality of your work process significantly.
With that in mind, let’s look at the biggest benefits the transition to cloud computing provides to businesses.
Cost Savings and ROI
Money is always among the first issues when it comes to making strategic business decisions.
At first glance, a transition to the cloud might seem expensive if you only consider the service price. That’s only half the picture though. According to McKinsey, a successful transition to cloud computing can reduce IT overhead costs by up to 40%.
Using a cloud application means that you can save a nice amount of money by transferring a lot of functions to your provider. For example, since everything will be hosted on your provider’s servers you don’t need nearly as much hardware or office space and all the expenses that come with it. You can also completely remove all expenses related to building and maintaining your own data center since you won’t be needing one.
The transfer of so many functions and responsibilities to your provider also means that you won’t need to spend nearly as much on internal IT teams.
At the same time, most vendors are flexible when it comes to payment structure in order to make sure that businesses don’t spend money on software, features or infrastructure they don’t actually need.
A move to the cloud should be viewed as more of an investment since it can free considerable resources that you can then put into revenue-generating activities like product development or advertisement.
Scalability is incredibly important in today’s fast-changing business landscape.
One month you might require more resources to cover your company’s current needs. If you keep all of your data in-house you’ll have to pay for everything upfront based on your estimates which in all likelihood will not be a 100% accurate. Most of the time, you’ll end up paying for server space that never gets used.
This is where the cloud can offer a huge advantage. You can pay for servers and infrastructure according to your needs. If you have a strong month you can easily increase cloud capacity. And if things return to normal you can just as easily decrease it.
Needless to say, the combination of lower overall costs and the ability to scale cloud capacity up and down increases your business efficiency immensely.
Mobility and 24/7 Access
The freedom to access the cloud from your phone or laptop regardless of where you are can be a life-saver.
Having a tight schedule of meetings and other networking events usually means carrying around your laptop or lots of paperwork. If you’re not using a cloud application and you forget something you need from the office you’re pretty much out of luck. Sure if you can call someone in your office that can send what you need, but that’s not always an option.
In this regard, the cloud can make your life so much easier. If you’ve uploaded everything you need for the day or the week there’s no need to worry about forgetting something midway through your busy day. As long as you have access to the Internet you’re good to go.
At the same time, your remote employees or freelancers can easily access your database without having to travel all the way to the office.
Most cloud providers also have a 99,99% uptime which gives you access to everything you put up on the cloud 24/7.
Easier Collaboration and Control
Building and scaling your work teams is extremely important for your company’s success, but at the same time, it requires a lot of effort.
You should take every chance you get to make communication and collaboration between coworkers easier. The cloud does just that.
Again, as long as people upload the files and documents they need to share on the cloud application, everyone on the team can get access to them. This, of course, means that you should take the time to teach everyone how to work with your cloud platform but that’s really a small price to pay for the improvement of collaboration and communication.
Withmost standard cloud applications you can also easily track how the overall work process is going at all times. This is a huge advantage in terms of quality control. Also, the cloud removes the common problem of forgetting to save the latest versions of files that have been edited by other coworkers.
At the same time if you don’t want everyone in your company to have access to all of the data you can always restrict access to certain parts of the cloud whenever you need to.
Cloud applications provide flexibility for businesses in a couple of different ways.
Firstly, the reduced costs and the ability to scale up and down according to your needs frees up money and time which would have otherwise gone to building and maintaining your own digital infrastructure. Needless to say those are two incredibly important business resources that you can use in different ways.
Updates are also managed by your service provider which also saves considerable amounts of time and money.
Secondly, having a remote 24/7 access to everything you or your employees need in order to do their jobs opens new opportunities for your business. As work-life balance grows more important a company that uses the cloud can offer more options to employees that don’t want to or can’t stay at the office from 9 to 5. This, of course, leads to a better employee satisfaction rate and works in favor of your employer branding strategy.
The cloud’s flexibility thus allows businesses to meet their demands quickly and more efficiently.
Security is a major concern for businesses especially those who operate with huge amounts of data.
Security has also traditionally been the biggest concern for companies that are considering a move to the cloud. According to a study by LogicMonitor, 66% of experts say that security is the biggest concern when it comes to adopting an enterprise cloud computing strategy whichis always a valid concern but it’s a bit misguided.
Now, at first glance using a classical in-house system might seem more secure, but chances are security is not the only task that your IT team needs to worry about. They most likely have to develop new products, upgrade your existing infrastructure and perform all sorts of different activities.
At the same time a cloud provider has2 main responsibilities – to make sure the cloud is up and running and to provide top-notch security. This has led to most vendors implementing incredibly sophisticated security mechanisms.
It should also be noted that the concern for data security is being addressed by multiple government and non-government bodies like the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA). The CSA works with over 80 000 members around the world and provides education, certification and research on the best practices related to cloud security assurance.
The possibility of hacker breaches and data theft is always going to exist, but the notion that cloud computing is less secure because it’s provided by an outside party is not entirely true.
An Environmentally Friendly Solution
With growing environmental concerns all businesses need to build a solid corporate social responsibility strategy and focus on long-term sustainability over short-term profit.
Cloud computing provides an opportunity to reduce your company’s carbon footprint by removing the need for building and maintaining an internal data center. This of course also leads to less energy consumption which is another major environmental concern.
At the same time, cloud-based solutions don’t require as much hardware as you would need for maintaining an in-house infrastructure. Using the cloud also reduces the amount of paperwork that businesses use or rather waste most of the time.
All individuals, as well as government and non-government enterprises, should also strive to reduce computer-based emissions. The transition to the cloud is a great place to start.
Cloud computing is the future when it comes to data storage and digital infrastructure as a whole.
The cloud is becoming a bigger part of business operations every day and not just for big companies but also for mid and small businesses as well.
That being said, many enterprises have not yet adopted the use of cloud applications or at least not to their full potential so your business can gain a huge strategical advantage if you start using the cloud sooner rather than later.