Cloud computing has become an indispensable resource for enterprises and an integral element of digital transformation. Providing a secure environment in which to store, manage and process vast quantities of data, it offers considerable savings compared to on-site datacentres as well as unlimited scalability and the potential to deploy technologies such as AI, ML and IoT. Here, we’ll take a deeper look at some of its main benefits.
1. Significant cost savings
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) solutions provided by cloud vendors give enterprises the use of the latest hardware and hosting technology without the need for capital investment. There is no need to purchase servers or networking equipment or create and operate a datacentre in which to house them. All the infrastructure you require is provided, maintained and managed for you by the vendor. This enables enterprises to make considerable, long-term savings and to invest their IT budgets on more business focussed projects.
2. Instant, pay-per-use, scalability
If running an in-house datacentre is expensive, building in additional capacity to scale up makes it even more so. It means purchasing expensive hardware simply for it to remain redundant for most of the time while the company waits for spikes in demand. Scalability, however, is essential for enterprises. Without it, the business could lack the IT capacity to maintain critical services during periods of high-demand or undertake resource-heavy processes like data analytics.
Enterprises that use the cloud do not have these issues. The enormous capacity of their vendor’s datacentres means that they can scale up and down on-demand, providing them with all the computing resources they need.
What makes this even more attractive is that the additional resources needed when scaling up are paid for on a pay-per-use basis. There is no need to upgrade to a larger cloud package; instead, companies are only charged for the resources they use, as and when they use them. This cost-effective way of using additional resources helps businesses to remain agile.
3. Speedy deployment
The time needed to deploy servers and applications in the cloud is virtually zero. This means enterprises operating in the cloud can have critical applications up and running almost instantly. At one time, this would have given a strategic advantage over competitors who had yet to adopt cloud technology. However, as most enterprises now use the cloud, it enables newly migrated companies to remove previous disadvantages and begin competing on a level playing field.
4. High availability
Enterprises increasingly rely on applications to run their critical operations and this means it is imperative that they remain online. Server failure can have disastrous consequences, not only from the financial impact of disrupted operations but also from reputational damage. Getting a server back online can be a lengthy and challenging process and the longer it takes to recover, the worse the consequences can be.
Companies that run mission-critical applications in the cloud are completely protected from server failure. This is because their applications are hosted on virtual machines that can be instantly migrated to different hardware in the event of a server issue. This hyper-converged infrastructure protects against everything from hard disk to an entire server failure. Indeed, even if the entire datacentre is taken offline by a natural disaster, virtual servers can be migrated to datacentres in geographically different locations to ensure mission-critical applications maintain consistent performance with guaranteed 100% uptime.
5. Superlative performance
Technology is continually advancing and this puts financial pressure on businesses with in-house datacentres to regularly upgrade hardware and keep pace with competitors. Cloud-hosted companies not only forgo the need for this expenditure; they benefit from the fact that the cloud service providers themselves continually update to the latest technologies to meet the needs of their customers and remain competitive.
This means cloud computing offers enterprises servers with exceptional performance, using technologies such as the latest CPUs, super-fast SSD drives and load balancing.
6. High-security environments
Cloud service providers have to comply with stringent security regulations to protect their datacentres and their customers’ systems and data. To do this, they employ significant IT security expertise and make use of the most advanced security tools. These include robust, next-gen firewalls that feature intrusion prevention systems and in-flow virus protection that detect and isolate threats before they reach a client’s server.
7. Remote working
Remote working was growing in popularity even before the pandemic forced companies to adopt it. Post-pandemic, it is likely to be the new normal, with many enterprises seeing the benefits: downsizing office space, better working conditions for employees and reduced commuter pollution.
To offer remote working, however, employees need to access business systems and data over the internet and this means migrating these to the cloud. Today, there is a growing number of highly secure, cloud-based platforms specifically designed to help enterprises adopt remote working. These offer video conferencing, secure messaging, project management applications, instant document and file syncing, task and employee monitoring and much more.
8. Technology of the future
The cloud is quickly becoming the go-to environment for business systems and because of this, most of the newer technologies being developed are cloud-native. Artificial intelligence, machine learning, data analytics and the Internet of Things are all cloud-based technologies and many of the applications created to make use of them are designed specifically for the cloud. Indeed, cloud users can deploy these applications at the click of a button and be using them within minutes of creating a cloud hosting package.
It is highly likely that any new technology currently in development or yet to be conceived will also be cloud-based. Enterprises that have migrated to the cloud have a clear advantage here in that they will be in a position to benefit from them before competitors who have not migrated.
The cloud offers many benefits to enterprises. It is the platform of choice for businesses, big and small, offering secure, high-performance, cost-effective computing with high availability, speedy deployment and unlimited scalability. What’s more, it enables companies to deploy the latest technologies and offer remote working.
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