“Why companies are moving their operations to the cloud”
To stay one step ahead today, SMEs must embrace technology with open arms. An aversion to technology is a recipe for failure. In fact, the companies that see most success are those that bravely embrace new technologies and take the plunge into the unknown depths of the cutting edge. Cloud computing and cloud migration are the embodiment of this. With roots in non-local computing innovation from the 1950s, the worldwide cloud computing industry is expected to reach a value of over €703 billion by 2025. In this blog, we take a closer look at why companies the world over are flocking to the cloud and leaving behind yesterday’s world of physical storage and computing.
The cloud – what is it?
The cloud is nothing new. The term ‘cloud computing’ was coined back in 1996 but it wasn’t until 10 years later, in 2006, when things really kicked off. Put briefly, the cloud consists of servers that are accessed online and encompasses the software and data that run on those servers. The servers are housed in data centers across the globe. In other words, the cloud is a type of global computing network that enables users to make use of computing capabilities – storage, task processing, and data sharing, among others – online, eliminating the need for physical computing equipment.
There is practically no limitation to who can use the cloud, nor their reasons to. Over 850 million people use Apple’s iCloud to store pictures and access their data from anywhere while as much as 94% of enterprises use at least one cloud service. It goes without saying that the cloud is now the go-to destination for the business world of tomorrow. The question is – why? As with any groundbreaking technology, there are setbacks and hurdles. However, the benefits of using the cloud vastly outweigh any drawbacks, which is driving the global cloud migration.
Big data insights
The vast swathes of data in circulation today are simply known as ‘big data’. The far-reaching scope of this data enables business to make data-driven, informed decisions with tangible, measurable results.
The businesses that don’t take advantage of big data are the ones that lose their competitive edge. The catch here is that deriving value from big data requires cost-effective and efficient data processing solutions, which on-premises solutions might not be able to handle. To stick with the traditional on-premises approach would also require a large-scale infrastructure investment.
Migrating to the cloud not only affords users modern data processing tools hosted off-premises that would otherwise require advanced physical infrastructure – it also makes on-premises data storage an easier operation as physical storage is now out of the question.
Flexibility and scalability
Scaling is part and parcel of running a business and the technology used by businesses needs to scale in tandem. A major benefit of using the cloud is scalability and many businesses in (early) growth phases leverage cloud capabilities to manage bandwidth requirements. This is because cloud services can scale up or down on a dime based on user needs. The alternative, on-premises infrastructure, requires costly investments into immovable assets like servers and networking equipment, as well as software licenses.
Cloud services are testaments to flexibility. Collaboration is seamless as cloud access can be gained from anywhere on any device and documents can be shared with the people who need to see them effortlessly. To grow in a competitive market, this kind of flexibility is crucial. Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic has this flexibility shown its mettle as it enabled remote work for millions of people around the world.
Continuing from the above, cloud services enable high levels of efficiency in organizational work processes. Cloud services let employees within an organization collaborate on an unprecedented scale, from home or from the office in efficient ways that weren’t possible before. Project management tools like Asana, Trello or Microsoft Teams are two examples of cloud-based collaboration tools that enable teams to work together without being together.
Cloud technology also enables businesses to circumvent geographical restrictions and, in doing so, create multiregional and multinational teams who can keep operations running for more hours of the day, more efficiently.
Business continuity, disaster recovery
As the world moves online, so too does crime and the dangers associated with business and entrepreneurship. Disasters can happen and are often unforeseen nightmares – 60% of enterprises that experience nonrecoverable data loss usually close within six months after the incident.
Cloud backups have stepped up to offset these damages. These backups enable users and businesses to regularly upload data to the cloud so that in the event of a catastrophe, there’s always a backup point from which data can be recovered. This allows operations to continue without any (major) downtime. In the fast-paced market of today, every second of downtime is worth a fortune. Here too, the Covid-19 pandemic demonstrates the capabilities of the cloud as countless businesses were able to continue their operations despite the significant disruptions caused by the pandemic.
Simple and cost-effective
Scaling up on-premises infrastructure is costly, complex, and time-consuming. The additional investments needed aside, maintenance requires software licenses and in-house engineers while the infrastructure is more prone to physical damage from things like floods and fire.
Moving to the cloud eliminates the need for investing in redundant infrastructure. Cloud migration does involve initial setup costs and training but attaining an economy of scale in the cloud is achieved much quicker than in comparison with on-premises infrastructure. Cloud migration is simply more cost-effective than traditional systems, which pushes more businesses to the cloud.
The cloud is not new. Millions of businesses and individuals are using it and for good reason. However, there is still much more to be achieved with the cloud and the capabilities are practically endless. As we progress technologically, only time will tell what innovations we can expect in the field of cloud computing and storage.