All shapes and sizes of businesses have adopted cloud computing technologies today for launching applications, storing data, and automating various processes. In fact, about 95% of businesses use some type of cloud infrastructure today. There are many reasons for this.
Understanding What Cloud Computing Is
To begin with you need to understand what cloud computing is. Essentially this is the merging of IT efficiency and business agility to create interactive applications that offer real-time responses to user requirements. In this way you can think of the cloud as a parallel and distributed computing system that consists of a collection of inter-connected, virtual computers. There you’ll find a large pool of easily usable and accessible resources (e.g. hardware, development platforms, services). This gives you the illusion of having infinite computing resources without an up-front commitment since you only pay for what you use. It’s also a great way to make sure you have all the tools you need to compete with bigger businesses – like having a modern phone system for growing business.
Understanding the Challenges Cloud Computing Presents
Science Direct says that once you understand what cloud computing is, you also need to understand where the challenges to this technology lie. These include:
Security and privacy at all levels (e.g. network, host, application, data) is a major concern since businesses are responsible for protecting their clients’ information’s privacy.
Connectivity and open access are only available via high-speed internet which isn’t something that’s globally available yet today. There are also other issues here – mainly political in nature. Since every country has their own rules regarding protecting the privacy of clients’ information, these need to be taken into consideration when you decide where you want to conduct business.
Reliable support being available 24/7 is critical although failures and outages are unforeseeable, which means that contingency plans must be available to go into effect smoothly when any of these instances occur.
Interoperability (the ability of computer systems or software to exchange and make use of information) and the portability of information between private and public clouds is critical if businesses are going to adopt cloud computing. Many companies have made great progress toward standardizing their processes, data, and systems in this regard.
Cloud computing is expected to provide companies with a great return on investment as it grows. Since companies only pay for what they use, there’s no upfront capital investment, which also increases the economic value here.
The IT organization is affected by cloud computing, as seen with other technology shifts. This means that people need to acquire the new skill sets needed to deploy cloud technology. For this to happen they’ll need to be properly trained.
How the Benefits far Outweigh the Challenges
Thorn Tech says that while there are a lot of hefty challenges that need to be overcome, the benefits that the cloud can provide far outweigh these. For this reason, it’s important to pause for a moment and look at what these benefits are. They include:
- Lower upfront costs are very beneficial to anyone who’s launching a new business because of all the uncertainties involved (e.g. customer acquisition and rates of acquisition). Instead of spending a lot of money investing in servers and data centers right away only to discover you don’t need them later, you can leverage cloud computing to your benefit.
- Increased reliability and uptime are something the cloud is great at providing – more than 99.9% uptime guaranteed. When you don’t receive this service you’re given credits, but since you’ll use multiple cloud regions, you probably won’t ever receive them.
- When using cloud computing you share resources with many other companies, which helps make the services you receive more affordable.
The cloud enhances your IT security by dedicated a significant amount of resources here – including Identity Access Management (IAM), Cloud HSM (hardware security module), and CloudTrail.
- You can go global, faster with less latency since you can provision servers that are physically closer to your customers. This is a far less expensive way to make sure your app doesn’t fail and that your customers receive dynamic, static, and streaming content faster and more efficiently.
- The cloud improves mobility, which, in turn, improves your employees’ productivity since all the tools they need are now found within their internet browsers. This also makes it much easier and faster for teams of employees to collaborate with one another regardless of their location.
- You can now automate most of your manual, routine tasks, which will save you a lot of time and money. This is also easily scalable even though you only need to configure everything once. Your employees will appreciate how this automation makes their lives easier and their jobs more efficient.
- As a business you can’t overlook the importance of a good disaster recovery plan. While you can’t really “plan” for a natural disaster, you do need to know what to do when one occurs. This is where many big businesses come out ahead of smaller ones. However, cloud computing levels the playing field since it allows you to back up any amount of data, replicate servers to a remote site, and facilitate fast storage and retrieval of files – all of which gives you peace of mind.
- This is a great way to run an environmentally friendly, sustainable business. Companies who have servers on-premise typically only utilize 60% - 70% of them (much less for smaller companies), but even when not in use these continue consuming energy. The best way to save energy here is by moving to the cloud, which will cut your energy use by 87% every 12 months.