[Checklist] Importance of Cloud Computing in Business
By: Ernest Sampera on December 19, 2019
Cloud computing has been a mainstay of the IT world for several years now, but many organizations are only beginning to explore how it can be incorporated into their broader technology strategy. Given the pace of recent innovations, the impact of cloud computing on business will only continue to grow in the future.
Strategic Importance of Cloud Computing in Business Organizations
When planning its IT strategy, an organization needs to keep the strategic importance of cloud computing in mind. Cloud computing presents many opportunities for companies willing to think beyond the traditional model of on-premises IT infrastructure. The industry is changing rapidly, empowering companies in a wide range of industries to undertake unprecedented digital transformations that allow them to break into new markets and better serve their existing customers.
Benefits of Cloud Computing Checklist
For many organizations, the primary benefit of cloud computing is its ability to significantly reduce capital expenses. By utilizing virtualized computing resources, companies don’t have to invest in hardware like servers, routers, and cabling. They also avoid the substantial costs of building out the infrastructure to manage all that equipment. Whether it’s a simple on-premises solution like a dedicated server closet or a full-scale private data center facility, building that infrastructure and managing power, cooling, and maintenance costs is far beyond the capabilities of many small-to-medium-sized companies. By partnering with a cloud computing provider, organizations can convert those capital expenses into much more modest operating expenses. While they still need to carefully manage their cloud expenditures to avoid paying for computing resources they don’t need, companies can use those savings to invest in innovation and building better experiences for their customers.
The ability to grow rapidly is incredibly important for most start-ups and smaller companies. As their IT demands change, they need to have an infrastructure in place that allows them to quickly expand capacity to meet their new demands. Traditionally, when an organization needed to add capacity, it was forced to purchase new equipment. This not only meant making a significant capital investment, but also carried additional costs in the form of time. Opportunities can be fleeting for a growing business, and the last thing an organization wants is to miss out on a chance to increase its business because it’s waiting for new servers to arrive. With cloud computing, that same company can expand its capacity instantly, allowing it to launch new applications quickly and manage ever-increasing customer needs. Since their entire infrastructure is virtualized in the cloud, growth is limited only by the cloud provider’s resources, which are typically quite expansive.
Data availability and mobility are critically important for today’s organizations. As customers are accessing services in more ways than ever before thanks to smartphones and IoT devices, companies need to be able to adapt quickly to those demands for access. More importantly, the modern workplace is becoming increasingly virtual, with employees accessing IT networks remotely and around the clock. Cloud computing services and infrastructure not only makes it easier for organizations to manage access from multiple locations and devices, but also facilitates greater collaboration by allowing people to work on the same project simultaneously. As workloads become increasingly complex, they can easily be shifted throughout a cloud environment to achieve maximum efficiency and performance.
Every organization needs to have a plan in place for when disaster strikes. The cost of losing data and services for any period of time is significant, potentially great enough to spell the end of a company. Whether it’s a natural disaster, infrastructure failure, or cyberattack, any event that causes system downtime needs to be accounted for by implementing redundancies to protect mission-critical data and applications. Cloud computing services make it easier than ever for organizations to back-up those essential assets. Rather than having to purchase dedicated backup servers, they can instead choose to store that data in the cloud and completely automate the backup process. This ensures that an organization’s redundancy solution is always up to date and ready to handle any disaster situation. And since it’s in the cloud, it can be accessed from anywhere, not just from where it’s being stored.
Keeping IT infrastructure up-to-date is a challenge for many organizations, especially ones that can’t afford to invest in new equipment every time the next generation of servers hits the market. Cloud providers, on the other hand, are in the business of delivering the best computing resources possible to their customers, which means they’re constantly working to make their infrastructure more efficient, flexible, and powerful. Using cloud computing services ensures that a company will be getting the best possible technology platform to build their solutions. This helps them to avoid ongoing compatibility and performance issues that might come along with using outdated physical infrastructure. While some portion of the costs for this equipment will always be passed on to users, most cloud providers are operating at a sufficient scale to render those potential costs all but negligible, especially compared to what it would cost a company to buy its own updated hardware.
The world of cybersecurity is constantly evolving and it can be difficult for IT departments to stay informed about all the latest threats. While enterprise-level organizations typically have personnel dedicated to cybersecurity, smaller companies are usually forced to rely upon third party services or trust in software updates. Fortunately, the public nature of cloud computing forces cloud providers to always be thinking about security and how it impacts their customers. They also have the resources to devote to implementing the very latest cybersecurity strategies to combat emerging threats. By keeping their systems updated and routinely patching known vulnerabilities, cloud providers can create a much safer environment for their customers.
When an organization shifts workloads and data to the cloud, it has a variety of choices in how it builds and manages that environment. By establishing a private cloud deployment for the sole use of a single organization, companies can maintain the control and visibility they expect from their own on-premises deployments. If they still want to be able to access the expansive power of public cloud services, they can always implement a hybrid cloud environment that combines the strict controls of a private cloud with the versatility of the public cloud.
Challenges of Cloud Computing
For all the advantages that the cloud provides, it’s important for organizations to understand some of the challenges of cloud computing as well. Some cloud providers are less than transparent about their pricing models and may even make it difficult to repatriate data from their system, which could undercut the key flexibility advantages the cloud is supposed to provide. Other providers may not have high standards for SLA downtime, resulting in services that are unavailable when they’re needed the most.
The variations in cloud services are one of the key reasons why many organizations are turning to colocation data centers for their infrastructure needs. By colocating a few physical servers in these facilities and building hybrid cloud environments, they’re able to leverage all the benefits of carrier-neutral colocation with the advantages of cloud computing.
As the need for flexibility and speed continue to increase, the strategic importance of cloud computing in business organizations is sure to become more prominent. Even as many organizations shift their workloads into private environments, they are still using multi-cloud and hybrid cloud deployments to access the expansive power of cloud computing to deliver services to their customers. Developing a clear cloud strategy that takes advantage of the many benefits of cloud computing could mean the difference between sustainable success and missing out on key business opportunities.
About Ernest Sampera
Ernie Sampera is the Chief Marketing Officer at vXchnge. Ernie is responsible for product marketing, external & corporate communications and business development.