The concept of cloud computing has been around for quite some time, but it’s only recently gained popularity among businesses seeking to take advantage of the flexibility it offers. A cloud is a virtual environment that extends and scales alongside an organization’s fluctuating needs, eliminating the need for companies to invest in and manage their own servers and hardware. It also provides dependable backup that ensures data, applications and programs are safe in the event of natural disaster or power surge.
The main advantage of the cloud is that it allows for greater business agility and speed to market, as organizations can spin up new services quickly without the long procurement process or large upfront costs associated with traditional IT purchasing. This can allow teams to get projects off the ground as soon as they receive executive approval, and if a project proves to be a hit, the rapid elasticity of the cloud can enable them to scale it up easily and quickly.
In addition, using a cloud can reduce a company’s infrastructure costs, as it eliminates the need for businesses to maintain their own servers and hardware, resulting in significant savings on both capital expenses and operational expenditures. A recent survey by RightScale found that more than 30% of enterprises reported reducing IT spend as a result of moving to the cloud, and this was especially true for smaller firms.
Other benefits of the cloud include that it can be more flexible than a typical server solution, with many scalability features built in to accommodate an organization’s changing needs. For example, with software as a service, users can access their applications through the internet, making it easier to work from home or on the go and increasing productivity and accessibility. This flexibility also means that employees can use familiar programs they’re used to, such as Google Docs and Microsoft 365.
Moreover, with the cloud, there are multiple ways to deploy and run workloads, with the choice of the platform, network and storage being made by the business user, according to their own preferences and requirements. This is known as a multicloud approach and allows for a great deal of flexibility in deployment and management, as well as a more cost-effective way to meet business requirements.
Additionally, using a cloud can help reduce a company’s carbon footprint by enabling them to avoid wasting resources on hardware that is sitting idle for long periods of time, with the cloud able to offer greater sustainability and energy efficiency than conventional IT models. This is particularly beneficial for firms who are looking to make the most of their sustainability and environmental policies.
As with any technology, however, there are some drawbacks to using the cloud, with security and reliability being two key concerns. For this reason, when selecting a cloud provider, businesses should consider the physical location of the servers and the level of security offered, as well as the availability of features such as self-service portals, broad network access, resource pooling, scalability and measured service.