While it might sound like an imaginary land in the sky, “the cloud” actually exists as a physical network of servers, used to host data that can be accessed through an internet connection. Although cloud computing has been around for almost 20 years, businesses are still getting up to speed with all of the benefits it can provide in terms of productivity.
A report by Dell showed that “organizations actively investing in big data, cloud and mobility have up to 53% higher [revenue] growth rates compared to those who aren’t using the technologies”.
Here’s a quick break down of the 3 main types of cloud computing:
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) - think Amazon Web Services, which provides on-demand network and storage resources.
Platform as a Service (PaaS) - like using WordPress to build and host your website, instead of learning to write code.
Software as a Service (SaaS) - for example, accounting software that lets you upload a receipt for your accountant to see almost instantly.
Now let’s take a look at 5 key benefits of cloud computing, and explore how it can improve your business processes.
1. Cost Effectiveness
One of the primary advantages of adopting cloud computing is cost-effectiveness.
In terms of cloud metrics, 77% of businesses utilize cost savings and efficiency as their top KPI for measuring cloud performance. (Flexera, 2020)
This is partly because the upfront costs are low when you compare them to the cost of installing and maintaining hardware, like servers and other equipment. With cloud computing, users are able to pay for exactly what they need in terms of data storage and other features, and scale up as their business grows. This means that smaller businesses are able to spread their investments out, avoiding big outright capital expenditure.
Another reason cloud computing is more cost effective is because the administration burden is reduced thanks to the capabilities of powerful cloud applications. Not only is underlying infrastructure taken care of by the service provider, but with features like real-time analytics dashboards, mining through data is left to the software, and users are able to focus on implementation.
2. Data Security
Breaches in data security and other forms of cyber crime can be one of the biggest concerns for a business, especially when managing the data of other clients. Cloud offers more advanced security features that will guarantee that data is securely stored and handled by the provider.
From here, businesses are able to implement granular permissions and manage access to different areas, restricting access to sensitive data only to those who need it. Additionally, businesses can then use authentication and password management software to supplement security measures. Many providers will also have in-house teams or third party consultants that are constantly carrying out penetration tests to fortify these measures, allowing businesses to rest assured knowing their data is being cared for.
Different companies will have different needs when it comes to the features and capabilities of their business resources, and the IT requirements between large and small companies can vary greatly.
Traditionally, in order to be prepared for growth, businesses would purchase and keep additional servers, storage and licenses on reserve. This would not only be expensive to purchase, but these resources would often go untouched for long periods of time before being used - not to mention the time it would take to eventually get these up and running.
Scaling your usage with the cloud is easy and can usually be done in a matter of minutes. When businesses require more data storage or need to increase their users, it's a simple matter of upgrading their subscription with their service provider to have the settings updated.
Working in the cloud helps to improve individual and team productivity through seamless collaboration. After the Covid-19 outbreak, companies needed to adapt to “the new normal”, and be able to continue working remotely through the cloud 24/7. As long as users have access to an internet connection, they can share and edit data simultaneously, in real time, from anywhere in the world.
Operating in the cloud also gives better visibility by monitoring and tracking changes to avoid any conflict or confusion later down the track. This can come in handy when making amendments to important documents, or when you need to revert back to a previous version.
Some cloud-based services make collaboration even easier by integrating a social area to connect teams across the business in a fun and engaging way - like sending cat gifs over Slack.
5. Competitive Edge
Businesses are able to move in a way that’s more agile, thanks to faster deployment and implementation of cloud services - compared to their competitors who are still allocating IT resources to managing infrastructure. Using the cloud to their advantage, businesses are able to focus on doing what they do best, and making their customers happy.
The cloud allows businesses to extensively utilize analytics to pull insights from big data, giving them the powerful information they need to re-invent their customer relationships, share data effortlessly, and make data-driven and evidence-based business decisions.
The impact that the cloud is making on businesses and their operational productivity will continue to advance in years to come. The adoption of cloud is forecast to continue growing at an incredible rate, and future models are likely to offer even more groundbreaking innovations.
If you’d like to explore the ways that cloud computing could integrate into your business, get in touch with the team today!