Disruptive technologies have been changing the game in the IT world for the last decade. New trends emerge and it quickly becomes apparent that businesses need to adapt to survive. One of these disruptive technologies is cloud computing. Simply defined, cloud computing is the practice of "computing" over an internet connection. Chances are you are already using the cloud in one way or another on a consumer level. Do you use Spotify? Do you upload pictures to an internet repository like Photobucket or Flickr? Do you use social media, like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram? All of these are examples of cloud computing.
When it comes to cloud for your business, think of the examples above on a larger scale. Instead of loading pictures into a repository, you can back up your files, apps and more to the cloud. Instead of updating your status on Facebook, you can modify joint documents through the cloud. The possibilities of cloud computing are truly endless, and the capabilities are evolving daily. For this reason, more and more companies are shifting to the cloud to keep up with their competition and the changing tide of technology, yet these companies are gaining much more than just a competitive advantage. The benefits of cloud computing are numerous, spanning across all areas of the business, from helping to reduce costs, to increasing efficiency. Here are the top six strategic benefits of cloud computing.1) Mobility
Cloud computing is opening doors for the mobile executive and virtual teams. The versatility of cloud means that you can stay connected to your business from anywhere, on any device. In this way, cloud is helping executives make the most efficient use of their work day. Not only does cloud provide you more flexibility in working remotely, it allows you to collaborate more easily with team members in other locations.2) Security
One of the most important factors in any business is the security of data; and one of the biggest threats to data security is the theft of employee laptops. Luckily, with the capabilities of cloud, the loss of a machine does not have to mean the loss of data. Data stored in the cloud can be easily recovered on any device, and wiped from any stolen devices. Other security threats in today's work environment include ransomware, phishing attempts, and accidental file deletion.3) Customization
The beauty of cloud is that there is no such thing as a cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all solution. You can design your own solution to fit the unique needs of your business. Whether your needs are capacity specific or solution specific, your custom cloud can accommodate your requirements. For some, creating a custom cloud solution can be an overwhelming task. As with any new technology, it’s often hard to determine exactly what your needs are until you begin the implementation process. For this reason, most cloud providers will recommend you start the shift with a small investment in backup as a service, a low-risk, low-cost solution.4) Reduce TCO, Convert CapEx to OpEx
Speaking of expensive hardware, with cloud, your company can drastically reduce its total cost of ownership (TCO) of its IT environment. By moving capital expenditures associated with hardware and on premises solutions to operational expenditures in the form of cloud subscriptions, your business can potentially save hundreds of thousands of dollars. A shift to the cloud means no longer paying for the overhead to run your IT environment, the energy costs to power and cool your hardware, the floor space to house it, and management costs.5) Scalability
Companies experiencing high levels of growth should consider investing in cloud-based services. The scalability of the cloud gives growing businesses the flexibility to expand their bandwidth and capacity on demand. Similarly, if a company is experiencing a period of decline, it can scale down. As a result, companies can adapt to change in real time. When it comes to capacity concerns, cloud can meet your needs and take expensive hardware out of the equation.6) Optimizes your processes
Speaking of optimization, the cloud offers solutions that make your process more streamlined. Utilizing a document storage solution to find everything you need in one place can help teams work better, together. Additionally, from a sales and marketing perspective, cloud-based Marketing Automation and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools help track and analyze data, giving teams benchmarks to work from. IT teams can also spin up a sandbox environment in the cloud, providing them a platform to complete projects that may otherwise have been too expensive to attempt.
The tools and solutions that are available in the cloud open a door of opportunities for many companies. The possibilities alone are enough to inspire innovation in the curious techies at your company.
The Bottom Line
Ultimately, the shift to the cloud is something that cannot be avoided. With benefits like those above, this disruptive technology isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Cloud computing will create a domino effect for your business, improving the way it reacts, adapts and innovates in your industry. Investing in cloud will make your employees more efficient, giving them more time to manage their tasks by reducing the time spent putting out fires. With a more productive staff, your business will see more innovation, which will, in turn, spark growth. For these reasons and more, cloud computing is something that your company can no longer afford to ignore. See how industries like healthcare, financial services, and manufacturing are moving to the cloud.
This blog was originally published on January 11th, 2017 and has been updated for accuracy.