Businesses across the globe are realizing the advantages of cloud computing. From small startups to global enterprises, cloud adoption is on the rise.
According to experts, 83% of enterprise workloads will be in the cloud by 2020. Digital transformation (63%), IT agility (62%) and better security (66%) are among the most compelling reasons for cloud adoption among enterprises.
According to one report, 66% of enterprise companies and 60% of SMBs had either intermediate or advanced cloud maturity in 2018. However, only about 4% of organizations run their applications exclusively in the public cloud.
Cloud adoption is a relatively easy choice for up and coming businesses who don’t already have legacy infrastructures in place. They simply make the choice to initiate their systems, processes, and workloads in the cloud, then pursue it.
But for established companies who have been in business for decades, cloud adoption is a steady process that requires a significant investment. Assets must be migrated from legacy systems to new cloud systems, and the entire enterprise must re-learn how to collaborate and execute their business operations.
Nonetheless, the benefits of cloud computing far exceed the costs.
Here are 10 of the greatest advantages of cloud computing.
1. Cost Savings
While savings can vary among companies, there is already plenty of evidence that migrating to the cloud can produce significant cost savings when compared to other IT infrastructures.
Cost savings are typically achieved through the following methods:
- Access to more versatile IT services
- Replacing on-premise hardware and server rooms
- More on-demand services
- More operational efficiencies
While it is possible to overspend on cloud services, most companies can mitigate their costs by partnering with a managed services provider or another cloud expert to help them identify potential savings.
Migrating to a cloud infrastructure requires an initial investment. But with the right strategy and an expense management protocol, most organizations can realize savings very quickly.
At a fundamental level, cloud computing is a more flexible solution than on-premises computing. There’s no need to integrate more physical resources if you need to scale up. In fact, in many cloud computing arrangements, you can access more resources in real-time when a need arises, then scale back down to save on costs.
For example, if you operate a website with an e-Commerce function, you may know that it will receive more activity at certain times of the year. Instead of maintaining servers year-round just for those times, you can use a cloud solution to scale up your resources right when you need to.
It can be challenging to predict how your company will scale in the future. If you’re operating an on-premises server network for your computing needs, you’ll need to forecast how much hardware you’ll need so you can be prepared for growth.
Of course, if you purchase too much hardware and it doesn’t get used, that’s a lot of money wasted.
Cloud computing solves the scalability problem by letting you scale on demand.
There are three types of cloud services that can help you scale:
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
- Platform as a Service (PaaS)
- Software as a Service (SaaS)
IaaS refers to fully-outsourced, cloud-based computing infrastructure, in which hardware and software resources are delivered through a virtual interface.
PaaS is similar to IaaS in that it provides an infrastructure, but this model also includes a stack of other tools and solutions. These may include an operating system, run-time system libraries, or a graphic user interface.
SaaS providers provide customers with fully functional web-based applications. This is the type of cloud service that most people think of when they think of cloud computing. SaaS applications can include anything from a web conferencing tool to a CRM – even some computer games are SaaS-based.
It will be up to you to decide which of these services will work best to help your business scale. Most business choose their service based on the capabilities they have in-house. For example, if you don’t have much technical expertise, you may be best served by PaaS or SaaS.
Remote work is quickly becoming the norm. Even small businesses are working with networks of contractors across the globe. Enterprises who want to remain competitive must onboard talent wherever talent can be found, whether it’s in the same city as the company’s headquarters or on the other side of the planet.
According to Forbes, 50% of the U.S. workforce will soon be remote. Freelance workers will be in the majority by 2027, overtaking part-time and full-time workers. Meanwhile, 55% of those who work remotely are already doing so full-time.
Cloud computing enables businesses of all sizes to engage their remote workforces and stay mobile. Because cloud applications are accessible from everywhere there is an internet connection, there’s no need for employees to work onsite to access the resources they need to do their jobs.
5. Better Analytics
Most cloud service providers include analytics resources in their service packages. These enable you to optimize your usage and leverage cost-savings efficiencies.
However, access to cloud computing can also give your business the opportunity to take advantage of cloud analytics.
Cloud analytics is a service model in which business data analysis processes are provided through the public or private cloud. Using all the scalability and flexibility of cloud computing, you can extract information from massive data sets and present it in a way that is comprehensible.
There are six components of cloud analytics:
- Data sources
- Data models
- Processing applications
- Computing power
- Analytic models
- Data storage and sharing
Cloud analytics is the implementation of all these components in the cloud rather than on a local computing network.
6. Easy Collaboration
Gone are the days when colleagues had to email files back and forth to get anything done. Now, everyone uses cloud storage solutions that update files in real-time as they are edited.
This is perhaps the most basic example of cloud collaboration software. Regardless of how you use your cloud tools, you can collaborate easily with a workforce across the globe without having to worry about how you’ll sync local files with the rest the company’s.
7. Reliable Disaster Recovery
Today’s consumers recognize the importance of disaster preparedness, so they are backing up their important files in the cloud (even if they don’t realize they are). The same is true in the business realm.
Most organizations must recognize that a disaster will occur at some point. If all their important documents, files, and hard work are only secured in a single location, a single disaster could wipe the entire organization out.
Cloud storage enables companies to store vast amounts of data off-site and in multiple locations. In the event of a disaster, they can simply engage their recovery protocol to get back to square one.
8. Consistent Availability
Cloud service providers succeed and fail based on their uptime. That’s why most cloud service providers give their customers uptime percentages as a way of ensuring them their tools will always be available.
The same can’t be true if you are using a local computing network. If one of your servers goes down, it will be up to your company to fix it. While it’s down, your customers could suffer outages. The loss in computing power could also bring your operations to a halt.
9. Enhanced Security
When public cloud services first emerged, there was some scrutiny about how secure the cloud really was. After all, storing sensitive data on proprietary servers means there are (supposedly) more physical and digital barriers between that data and hackers around the world.
Most cloud service providers must provide substantial security checks as a matter of business continuity. However, it’s very important for users of cloud services to implement strong security practices, especially when controlling access to data and managing security keys. This is especially true for hybrid clouds, which are used in the majority of enterprises. Using consistent security across both internal and cloud infrastructure is the best way to make sure your infrastructure is secure.
Combining the best security tools from cloud providers with careful attention to infrastructure-wide best practices can provide very secure infrastructure.
10. Less Waste
This is an often-overlooked characteristic of cloud computing, but the cloud can actually make your company more sustainable.
Cloud service providers have their own server farms, but they are optimized to provide cost-effective functionality to all their customers. If you partner with a cloud service provider, you won’t have to purchase, install, maintain, or dispose of your own machines – you’ll simply requisition or rent space on theirs.
When you don’t have to maintain a server room, you can save significantly on electricity costs. There are no climate control costs to worry about, either.
Harness the Advantages of Cloud Computing
Whether you intend to use the public cloud, a private cloud, or a hybrid model, cloud computing can provide several benefits to your business. Companies that adopt the cloud typically experience faster time to market, more efficient internal processes, a reduction in IT costs, and more opportunities to grow and scale.