Cloud computing has been around for approximately two decades.
And despite the data pointing to the business efficiencies, cost-benefits, and competitive advantages it holds, a large portion of the business community continues to operate without it.
According to a study by the International Data Group:
- 68% of businesses are already using cloud technology in one capacity or another.
- 18% say they plan to implement cloud-computing solutions at some point.
At the same time, Dell reports that companies that invest in big data, cloud, mobility, and security enjoy up to 53% faster revenue growth than their competitors.
Tech-savvy business owners and leaders are recognizing the many benefits of the cloud-computing trend and are using this technology to more efficiently run their businesses, better serve their clients and customers, while drastically increasing their overall profit margins.
What is cloud and what does it mean?
Cloud computing isn’t only a buzzword and has gained widespread use over the last few years.
With the increase in data use that has accompanied business transition into the digital age of the 21st century, it’s becoming more difficult for individuals and organizations to keep all of their vital information, line-of-business applications, and systems up and running on in-house computer servers.
The solution to this problem is one that has been around for nearly as long as the internet, but that has only recently gained applicability.
Most people already use a variety of cloud computing services without even realizing it. Gmail, Google Drive, TurboTax, and even Facebook and Instagram are all cloud-based applications.
Cloud computing operates on a similar principle as web-based email clients, allowing users to access all of the features and files of the system without having to keep the bulk of that system on their own computers.
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8 advantages of cloud computing to your business
#1. Cost Savings
If you are worried about the price tag that would come with making the switch to cloud computing, you aren’t alone. According to Dell, 80% of organizations are concerned about the initial cost of implementing a cloud-based solution. Once you’re on the cloud however, easy access to your company’s data will save time and money. And, for those who are worried that they’ll end up paying for features that they neither need nor want, most cloud-computing services are pay-as-you-go. Taken together, these factors result in lower costs and higher returns.
Many organizations have security concerns when it comes to adopting a cloud-computing solution. After all, when files, line-of-business applications, and other data aren’t kept securely onsite, how can you know that they are being protected? If you can remotely access your data, then what’s stopping a cybercriminal from doing the same thing? Well, quite a bit, actually. For one thing, a cloud host’s full-time job is to carefully monitor security, which is significantly more efficient than a conventional in-house system, where an organization must divide its efforts between a myriad of IT concerns. And while most businesses don’t like to openly consider the possibility of internal data theft, the truth is that a staggeringly high percentage of data thefts occur internally and are perpetrated by employees. RapidScale claims that 94% of businesses saw an improvement in security after switching to the cloud. The key to this amped-up security is the encryption of data being transmitted over networks and stored in databases.
#3. Flexibility and Sustainability
Your business has only a finite amount of focus to divide between all of its responsibilities. If your current IT solutions are forcing you to commit too much of your attention to computer and data-storage issues, you aren’t going to be able to concentrate on reaching business goals and satisfying customers. The cloud offers businesses more flexibility overall versus hosting on a local server. And, if you need extra bandwidth, a cloud-based service can meet that demand instantly, rather than undergoing a complex (and expensive) update to your IT infrastructure. And, given the current state of the environment, it’s no longer enough for organizations to place a recycling bin in the breakroom and claim that they’re doing their part to help the planet. Real sustainability requires solutions that address wastefulness at every level of a business. Hosting on the cloud is more environmentally friendly and results in less of a carbon footprint.
Cloud computing allows mobile access to corporate data via smartphones and devices, which, considering over 2.6 billion smartphones are being used globally today, is a great way to ensure that no one is ever left out of the loop. Staff with busy schedules, or who live a long way away from the corporate office, can use this feature to keep instantly up to date with clients and co-worker. Through the cloud, you can offer conveniently accessible information to sales staff who travel, freelance employees, or remote employees, for better work-life balance. Therefore, it’s not surprising to see that organizations with employee satisfaction listed as a priority are up to 24% more likely to expand cloud usage.
#5. Increased Collaboration
If your business has two employees or more, then you should be making collaboration a top priority. After all, there isn’t much point to having a team if it is unable to work like a team. Cloud computing makes collaboration a simple process. Team members can view and share information easily and securely across a cloud-based platform. Some cloud-based services even provide collaborative social spaces to connect employees across your organization, therefore increasing interest and engagement.
#6. Disaster Recovery
One of the factors that contributes to the success of a business is control. Unfortunately, no matter how in control your organization may be when it comes to its own processes, there will always be things that are completely out of your control, and in today’s market, even a small amount of unproductive downtime can have a resoundingly negative effect. Downtime in your services leads to lost productivity, revenue, and brand reputation.
Cloud-based services provide quick data recovery for all kinds of emergency scenarios, from natural disasters to power outages. While 20% of cloud users claim disaster recovery in four hours or less, only 9% of non-cloud users could claim the same. In a recent survey, 43% of IT executives said they plan to invest in or improve cloud-based disaster recovery solutions.
#7. Automatic Software Updates
For those who have a lot to get done, there isn’t anything more irritating than having to wait for system updates to be installed. Cloud-based applications automatically refresh and update themselves, instead of forcing an IT department to perform a manual organization-wide update. This saves valuable IT staff time and money spent on outside IT consultation. PCWorld lists that 50% of cloud adopters cited requiring fewer internal IT resources as a cloud benefit.
#8. Competitive Edge
While cloud computing is increasing in popularity, there are still those who prefer to keep everything local. That’s their choice but doing so places them at a distinct disadvantage when competing with those who have the benefits of the cloud at their fingertips. If you implement a cloud-based solution before your competitors, you’ll be further along the learning curve by the time they catch up. A recent Verizon study showed that 77% of businesses feel cloud technology gives them a competitive advantage, and 16% believe this advantage is significant.