Cloud computing is quickly becoming a standard for IT infrastructure, software, and hardware resources. See why with these 7 key cloud advantages.
According to a recent study, 69% of businesses are using cloud technology and 18% say they plan to implement cloud-computing solutions in the near future. In a survey by RightScale, both public and private cloud adoption have increased in the last year. Gartner predicts this trend will continue through 2020, with most companies expecting to have cloud-first or cloud-only policies and procedures. With factors like low operating costs, better flexibility, and data security, the cloud offers several advantages for businesses of all sizes.
What is the cloud?
Use of hardware and software delivered via a network (usually the internet) – it represents the infrastructure that enables software, hardware, computation, and remote services. Simply put, cloud computing allows people to access the same kinds of applications through the internet instead of a physical computer. Cloud computing takes place often on a remote machine, where the data collection and processing happen, separate from the device that's accessing it - this means the device used to access the cloud data doesn't also have to handle the processing and storage.
Benefits of the Cloud
While cloud computing services are barely a decade old, many organizations are leveraging these 7 key benefits of cloud computing and/or cloud-based services:1) Accessibility
With 99.9% up-time, data in the cloud is accessible 24/7, from any location with just a few clicks. The cloud also delivers access to data via mobile devices, perfect for remote employees or staff in different locations – this ensures staff can all access the same information, as long as they are connected to the internet. Another added benefit – product updates and upgrades are done automatically, saving time and effort in maintaining systems and dramatically reducing IT team workloads.
2) Efficiency and Cost Reduction
Using a cloud infrastructure requires very little upfront investment, since there’s no need for on-premises data centers, servers or maintaining off-site facilities. This reduced IT infrastructure also means businesses don’t need a large IT staff to maintain these operations and equipment, resulting in significant cost savings. In addition, the cloud also reduces costs related to downtime. With near 99.9% up-time, businesses don’t have to spend money and time fixing issues related to downtime.
Without the burden of physical equipment, the cloud offers the advantage of scalability. As businesses grow or contract, the cloud can scale easily to meet the storage and computing requirements of the organization. This flexibility means the cloud can handle fluctuations in bandwidth demands, allowing businesses to be nimble and more efficient in their daily operations.
4) Data Security
Cloud providers offer many advanced security features already, and often go through routine third-party security audits to ensure data is properly secured. This means an added layer of security at little up-front cost to businesses – plus, organizations often add additional security features to restrict access to sensitive information.
5) Control and Collaboration
Since the cloud allows multiple users to access the same information simultaneously, business can have total visibility and control over their data/documents. This means controlling access to specific information and restricting editing and viewing capabilities.
Cloud computing also improves team collaboration, since one document can be accessed and edited by different team members. This real-time collaboration can drastically improve productivity, especially as with tele-working or remote users. Another added benefit is greater version control – with teams having access to their specified documents/information, it reduces the chance of multiple versions or copies living offline on individual file shares.
6) Disaster Recovery
Along with data security, data loss is a major concern for any organization. Storing data in the cloud guarantees data can be recovered, even if physical equipment such as PCs or laptops are damaged. Cloud-based services also ensure data recovery in the event of power outages or natural disasters. The cloud infrastructure also helps with loss prevention – despite the best efforts of IT teams, computers can still be infected by malware or viruses. Storing data in the cloud means your data is safe despite a laptop malfunction.
94% of businesses say they saw an improvement in security after moving to the cloud and 91% say the cloud makes it easier to meet government compliance requirements. This is because many cloud providers align their security and compliance standards with that of regulatory requirements. For example, changes made to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) in 2013 designate cloud service providers (CSPs) as business associated of covered entities, which means CSPs must also be HIPAA compliant. With the ability to encrypt, control access, and perform audits, cloud providers can assist companies with protecting sensitive information, extremely critical in the wake of GDPR and the new CCPA.
Cloud computing and cloud-based services have many benefits, as they provide the accessibility, scalability, and security that organizations need to be more efficient, connected, and competitive.