In the last two decades, cloud adoption has increased at an unparalleled pace. According to Synergy Research, the 2018 cloud computing market recorded $250 billion in global revenues with a 32% annual growth.
Additionally, most enterprises have now gotten on board with the cloud. Gartner predicts that by 2020, more than 30% of large enterprises will require a justification for implementing any strategy other than a cloud-only strategy will require justification. The Gartner report further confirms that by 2021, more than half of global enterprises already using cloud today will adopt an all-in cloud strategy.
Even with this much growth, many companies are still on the fence. Whether these companies are concerned about unknown factors like costs and security or they’re questioning if the returns are worth the effort, this article may help clear away any lingering doubts by taking a deep dive into the top 13 advantages of cloud computing.
- Lower costs
- Higher availability
- Flexible capacity
- Automatic software updates
- Improved data security
- Positive environmental impact
- Easier collaboration
- Effortless mobility
- Simple disaster recovery
- Streamlined IT support
- Better business intelligence
- More innovation
- Cutting edge ecosystem
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1. Lower costs
Most enterprises using on-premises infrastructure are struggling to keep pace with increasing data volumes, as the additional real-estate and hardware investments cause a big dent in their cost structure.
However, cloud providers have been able to straighten out this wrinkle by offering a pay-as-you-go model for data centers and other services, in which companies need to pay only for the specific hours of usage, resulting in huge cost savings for cloud adopters.
In its report on cloud economics, Cloud Technology Partners examines the savings due to cloud adoption in four key industries — financial services, technology, manufacturing, and communications. The average reduction in the total cost of ownership (TCO) to companies in these industries amounts to an impressive 40 percent.
2. Higher availability
Even as most enterprises successfully moved from monolithic to distributed systems to handle peak volumes and provide high accessibility, a lot of effort was involved behind the scenes. Redundancies needed to be built-in to systems in the form of multiple servers or many instances of applications.
Moreover, applications needed to be architected in the right way to enable this. In addition, human resources were required in the form of server administrators and maintenance teams to monitor outages.
With cloud migrations, enterprises don’t have to own this piece of the puzzle anymore. Most cloud providers with their massive data centers located across multiple regions promise an incredible uptime of 99.99%, which augurs well for enterprises. As a matter of fact, the discussion is now centered around how to increase the number of nines in the availability percentages.
3. Flexible capacity
Businesses do not run on a linear pattern, rather they have peak and slow cycles that come with sporadic demands. But most companies find it difficult to scale their resources up and down as needed.
Procurement of hardware, for example, has many steps including getting the right approvals. This could take months and hence, businesses need to start planning much in advance to handle surges.
On the other hand, with most cloud solutions, adding a new server just takes a few minutes. If there are specific months or even specific hours during the day when the demand is expected to be low, some server instances can be configured to be switched off.
The freedom to dynamically scale up and down as demand fluctuates, perform this process in a non-disruptive manner, and incur costs only for the actual resources used provide businesses with the agility to make quick decisions in favor of the customer.
4. Automatic software updates
Outdated software is a more common problem than one might imagine. In a report by BitSight, thousands of organizations were found to be running on outdated operating systems. Most companies seem to put this task off until something breaks because it’s often a distraction from core business activities and incurs expenditure to get this ticked off the list.
However, the risk is too high to be ignored. Microsoft states that almost 70% to 80% of the top ten malware detected by a company could be avoided if updates happened on time. Also, while it may appear that companies are saving by not performing upgrades, in reality, the losses from productivity and outages far outweigh the costs.
When enterprises move their infrastructure to cloud, software updates are automatically managed and installed by the provider with no disruptions. This brings in time and cost savings along with increased confidence in the infrastructure as the risk exposure gets significantly lower.
5. Improved data security
There is a common misconception that data in the cloud may not be secure. But, contrary to this popular myth, it’s actually more secure than storing on a company’s internal infrastructure.
Most cloud providers such as AWS and Microsoft Azure have committed to security with substantial investments by adding features such as data encryption, data masking, multi-factor authentication mechanisms, and secure keys to ensure that their solutions are foolproof.
For enterprises, outsourcing security to subject experts helps in saving the opportunity costs spent by focusing on peripheral activities rather than primary business-related tasks.
Gartner predicts that by 2020, public IaaS solutions will encounter 60% lesser security risk incidents than traditional data centers, making a compelling case for cloud computing.
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6. Positive environmental impact
Aside from the business impact, cloud computing has emerged as a key differentiator in the IT world’s contribution to the global carbon footprint.
Microsoft, in partnership with WSP USA, conducted a study to determine if cloud data center services could make a positive impact on the environment. The report determined that Microsoft Cloud is between 79% to 93% more efficient than a traditional on-premise data center.
These savings were attributed to four factors — operational efficiency, equipment efficiency, data center infrastructure efficiency, and the use of renewable electricity.
Most cloud providers are paying close attention to large-scale environmental issues in comparison to SMBs, who do not have the resources to focus on such initiatives.
7. Easier collaboration
Factors such as remote teams, flexible work models, and the need for constant communication have made collaboration a key requirement for companies to function today.
The availability of a plethora of cloud-based collaboration tools has resulted in huge improvements in business productivity and team communication. Even though some small businesses have been working with homegrown tools, the sophistication, performance, and sheer number of features in these cloud-based applications remain unmatched.
While we mostly tend to think of the benefits of cloud computing in terms of revenues and returns, it’s important to recognize the subjective cultural aspect that creates a long-term impact.
Sharing information like documents and videos, tapping into a company’s knowledge base, bringing together diverse teams and making them feel connected, and fostering informal discussions through collaboration tools have ultimately enabled transparencies and created the right community spaces to nurture new ideas.
8. Effortless mobility
Location of the workplace is immaterial today as employees juggle working from an office, home, or even cafes. Also, the fixed 9-to-5 work model has disappeared — most people check emails early mornings or take office calls late evenings from their homes.
This change in the workplace model must be supported by technologies to ensure that working from home is not a barrier to productivity. Cloud computing has made this happen by enabling employees to connect their smartphones, laptops, and other mobile devices into the office network, a process commonly referred to as Bring Your Own Device (BYOD).
As per a research conducted by Frost & Sullivan, employees noted that the use of mobile devices saved 58 minutes per day and boosted their productivity by 34%.
9. Simple disaster recovery
Disaster recovery (DR) is a classic use case of cloud computing. Traditionally, enterprises had to invest in backup hardware for failover during a disaster. However, this involved steep costs and the backup hardware was hardly used until an emergency situation came up.
There is also the question of how much depth can be built into disaster recovery planning in the traditional model. It may be easier to plan for a server outage, but what if the entire city faces a crisis? Is it possible then to plan for backup hardware in an alternate location? It’s difficult for most businesses to accommodate budgets at such a large scale.
Cloud computing solutions provide comprehensive recovery of data, applications, and other failback points as they have the capacity and resources to build alternate data centers. They have mechanisms to expedite recovery times, enabling companies to gain savings (Gartner pegs the average loss due to downtime at $5600 per minute) by avoiding downtimes and bouncing back to business quickly.
10. Streamlined IT support
By 2020, 83% of enterprise workloads are expected to be in the cloud. This includes data residing in data warehouses, hardware, and cloud-native applications that are used for various business needs. Only a small portion of technology actually sits within the premises of an organization.
While companies still need people to manage their assets residing in the cloud, this revised architectural landscape means a streamlined and meticulous approach to IT support.
Cloud offers a reliable infrastructure with clear SLAs. By offloading activities such as security, backup planning, database administration, and applying the latest patches, support teams can function thin and nimble, focusing on a smaller subset of tasks.
11. Better business intelligence (BI)
Businesses thrive on being able to determine patterns and mine insights from their data. Leaders rely on quick reporting and dashboards that present real-time data. This has become easier in the big data world data as cloud computing provides a near infinite amount of storage.
Also, products such as Amazon Redshift offer superlative performance by allowing data analysts to run complex ETL queries through large sets of structured and unstructured data.
A market study by Dresner Advisory Services says that cloud BI adoption nearly doubled in 2018 from 2016, confirming that there is a rapid growth in the way cloud has been used for BI purposes. The study further mentions that 66% of organizations who consider themselves successful with BI adopt cloud solutions.
12. More innovation
Mostly cloud computing is associated with efficiency gains. But interestingly it’s also fostering innovation within organizations. Due to the cloud, businesses are light-weight and carry fewer assets, setting up a risk-taking environment where there isn’t much bureaucracy to overcome before experimenting with new ideas.
The flexibility that cloud solutions offer allows businesses to easily prototype new ideas, achieve faster time to market, and scale up volumes as needed. If something does not work out as expected, cutbacks can be done without the added burden of accumulated hardware inventory.
Deloitte’s Innovation Group, for instance, launched a web-based document review application that uses machine learning and neuro-linguistic programming to extract information from contracts and invoices. While the fundamental idea was well-received, the underlying infrastructure could not cope up with volumes of documents.
In a couple of years, the team decided to move to a cloud-based application. The Deloitte team was able to save as much as 95% effort in reviewing documents due to cloud migration.
13. Cutting edge ecosystem
Ultimately, what makes cloud solutions so attractive is the availability of a great ecosystem. In this collaborative era of open-source projects, cloud computing gives access to the latest technologies, SaaS applications, off-the-shelf infrastructure, artificial intelligence libraries, and more with less effort from the business side.
The multitude of tools and solutions warrants careful research, but the availability of this ecosystem means that every company does not have to specialize in advanced technologies. Rather, they can continue to focus on their key business domain. By democratizing access to cutting-edge technologies, cloud computing has ensured that no one is left behind in the tech race.
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Getting started with cloud computing
The 2019 State of the Cloud Survey reveals that 94% of its respondents already use the cloud in some form. The current focus in this area has shifted to leveraging the best results from cloud migration. To achieve this, companies need to ensure that they have clean and trustworthy data that can serve as building blocks to make business decisions.
Talend Data Fabric offers a single suite of self-service apps for data integration and integrity. It lends enterprises a competitive advantage by solving some of the most complex aspects of the data value chain in a streamlined manner. Try Talend Data Fabric today to begin benefiting from cloud computing.