The shift to the cloud has brought about several solutions that make doing business easier. Whether it be cost savings, added flexibility or ease of use, companies are offloading workflows to the cloud and maintaining a competitive advantage.
Though cloud computing may not make sense in every business situation, there are several use cases that have undeniable benefits and should not be ignored. Here are the Top 10 cloud computing use cases:
10. Software as a Service (SaaS)
As companies grow and gather more data, SaaS technology has entered the market as a way to store, organize and maintain that data. Marketing automation tools, customer relationship management (CRM), etc. have helped lines of business to more efficiently do their jobs. Often referred to as "software on demand," SaaS solutions are centrally hosted in the cloud and can be accessed from anywhere, any time.
9. Big Data Analytics
Speaking of gathering more data, Big Data is a disruptive trend that is wreaking havoc on the business world. Companies like Amazon and Facebook are Big Data powerhouses, collecting information on consumer buying trends, likes, dislikes and analyzing the data to predict future purchases and grow their businesses. Companies today are all trying to collect and understand big data to make decisions on sales, marketing, R&D, and more. When it comes to storing, managing and analyzing this data, the cloud is a very powerful tool.
8. Software-Defined Wide Area Networking (SD-WAN)
One of the major issues related to cloud solutions is that companies make investments without considering the underlying network and bandwidth needed to operate a solution. SD-WAN has emerged to resolve the issue of bogged down networking due to cloud applications. SD-WAN integrates with your existing network solution to speed up your connectivity, addressing a major issue that is underrated.
7. Private/Public/Hybrid Cloud
Though the word "cloud" is rather ambiguous, the important thing to remember is that the cloud is essentially someone else's computer. Companies can host data in 3 different types of cloud environments: Public, Private and Hybrid. Choosing which cloud solution is right for your business is ultimately up to needs specific to your company. Typically, larger companies with larger budgets for building and maintaining of an on-site data center will choose a private or hybrid cloud solution, due to its protection of private information. Smaller to mid-sized businesses might choose a public cloud, as it is a simpler, more cost-effective solution to hosting data.
6. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
There is a lot that goes into building and maintaining infrastructure. There's the hardware costs, the cost of the space, the electricity to power it, and the overhead to build and maintain it. Building out a data center can easily cost a company millions of dollars. For this reason, companies are opting forego capital expenditures in favor of operational expenditures and host data in service provider run data centers. This allows companies to avoid costly infrastructure investments and easily access their data via the cloud.
5. Test and Development
The flexibility of the cloud allows for environments to be built up, tested and torn down quickly. There is no need to wait months for the provisioning of a new environment, the cloud can be spun up in a matter of minutes. The accessibility of the cloud means that your business is more efficient, and time to market for new developments can be cut down.
4. Virtual Desktops (VDI) / Desktop as a Service (DaaS)
With the mobile workforce growing in prevalence, employees are increasingly bringing their own devices. Virtual desktops and DaaS have emerged as a way for IT departments to standardize security and content access across devices. VDI and DaaS help to curb the effects of a disaster because they are hosted in the cloud and can be easily accessed from any device.
Falling along the category of SaaS, email is a technology that has been around for quite some time. Accessed via the internet, common clients ( like Microsoft's Outlook) are ingrained in core business processes. Whether its marketing, sales or IT, email has a use case in every line of business, and its accessibility via the cloud is crucial.
2. Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS)
Quickly become one of the core use cases for cloud computing, disaster recovery is critical to every business. With downtime causing companies to lose time and money, DR works to ensure your business can quickly recover and get back online in the event of a disaster. By having a standby site in the cloud for DR purposes, failover is quick and easy and does not require you to build and maintain your own infrastructure.
1. Backup as a Service (BaaS)
One of the easiest ways to begin your shift to the cloud is to invest in a backup solution. IT professionals know that having just one copy of your data onsite opens you up to vulnerabilities in the event of a disaster. Following the 3-2-1 rule - having 3 copies of your data on 2 different media and 1 offsite - is the best way to ensure your data is safe and secure. the cloud is where that offsite piece comes in. Restoring backups from the cloud is fast and can help companies avoid catastrophic data loss.
Looking to understand these use cases further? Start with our DRaaS for Dummies free download! Everything you need to know about Disaster Recovery as a Service for your business.