Cloud computing services provide the opportunity for companies to adopt the best suited service delivery models in combination to address business needs with efficiency and speed. The benefits offered by the cloud in general are: collaboration, data availability, flexibility, greater business agility and cost savings. Cloud computing services are providing the headlights on how companies can invest and use technology. This is further highlighted by the report titled “Cloud adoption Practices & Priorities Survey Report” published by Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) in January 2015. Their survey shows an interesting 86% of IT companies have adopted some kind of cloud service within their organization.
The focus of this article is to understand some of the top benefits that can be derived from cloud from the perspective of organizations’ as a whole. The main advantage of cloud adoption is that it offers scalable enterprise IT with speed. Speed can be understood as efficiency and is a pre-requisite for gaining competitive advantage. The cloud offers the required speed for a company to launch new products quickly and gain competitiveness in markets easily. Cloud models create what is known as ‘shadow IT’, where the need for IT personnel is reduced and employees are able to use enterprise applications efficiently. This can be another advantage. Hence, companies in almost all sectors irrespective of their size, scale and strategic goals can reap benefits from the cloud.
The top 5 benefits of cloud computing are:
1. Reduced Capital Expenditure: Capital expenditure refers to money incurred on purchasing new hardware and in building and managing an in-house IT infrastructure. In the case of cloud, there is no need for any in-house infrastructure equipment as the entire network and storage infrastructure can be made available from a data center. Likewise the company need not spend money in upgrading hardware and buying software licenses with limited time span because the cloud service provider will take the responsibility for providing infrastructure and provisioning resources (both hardware and software) for the company to suit business needs. In the cloud, resources are made available on-demand and redundant resources can be returned back, thus saving cost. Similarly the company may not spend money on hiring IT personnel to look after the infrastructure. Also, the cloud provides the ability to expand easily in future without additional expense in purchasing in-house equipment.
2. Scalability, Flexibility and mobility: Cloud allows users the ability to scale or de-scale infrastructure on demand with ease, resulting in optimal utilization of resources. This apart, cloud services allow users to access resources from remote locations using any type of device (Tablets, Laptops, Smartphones, etc.). Data, files and documents can be accessed around the clock and it is also possible to work online replicating an office environment. Hence, flexibility and mobility are inherent benefits which make employees to be productive. Cloud models provide everything that allows people to stay connected while being mobile.
3. Easy to maintain and upgrade: The management of infrastructure (servers, storage, software, network, bandwidth, etc.) is the responsibility of the cloud service provider. With this benefit the in-house IT personnel can be allocated with other work and may not engage themselves full time to monitor the IT department. Cloud service providers hire teams of experts who are responsible to ensure continuity of service. In addition to this, upgrades are done by the service provider and may not be done in-house which saves time and money for users. This implies that whenever a new solution or a patch is implemented in the cloud, it becomes available to all the users immediately at no extra cost.
4. Enhanced IT security: The area of IT security is highly critical for organizations. Many companies have compromised their data and information due to security breaches or attacks. Cloud computing actually makes servers and storage more secure by defining different levels of security by implementing robust intrusion detection and prevention systems, firewalls and performing security audits regularly in their data centers to protect data. As cloud computing models are maturing fast the aspect of security and fear of data loss or theft is relieved for the user.
5. Ensures Business Continuity: This benefit refers to providing continuous IT services to ensure continued business operations during events such as technology outage, hardware failure or even unexpected disasters such as fire or flood. Business operations can be seriously affected and disrupted for many days during such events particularly in case of in-house IT systems. The remote working capabilities offered by cloud models ensures user data and services are available during unforeseen events. With cloud services, employees can simply login normally from their laptops and perform work as usual. In addition to the above benefits, there are many more advantages of cloud computing services. Clouds ensure smooth integration of data during mergers and acquisitions, launch new business products or services without spending money on supporting systems and leveraging latest technology and tools to foster a tech-savvy enterprise, and so on, to mention a few more advantages.