Cloud computing, in the simplest terms, is computing based on the internet. In today’s technological climate, many people don’t recall a time when computing WASN’T internet based! Yes – a long, long time ago, in a land far, far away…companies relied on information stored on actual computers or servers located at their business. Well, actually, some still do because it is what works best for their situation. However, many other companies of varying sizes, industries, and geographies have found cloud computing to be very advantageous. They have many applications that are stored on cloud-hosted virtual servers that can be accessed by their employees from any device at any location. For example, employees can access customer information via cloud-based CRM software like Salesforce from their smartphone or tablet at home or while traveling, and can quickly share that information with other authorized parties anywhere in the world. I’ve listed some of the top reasons companies move into the cloud:

Cost Efficiency – Because companies don’t have to purchase equipment and build out and operate a data center, they don’t have to spend significant money on hardware, facilities, utilities and other aspects of operations. With traditional computing, a company can spend millions before it gets any value from its investment in the data center. Cloud computing is probably the most cost-efficient method to use, maintain and upgrade. Traditional desktop software costs companies a lot in terms of finance. Adding up the licensing fees for multiple users can prove to be very expensive for the establishment concerned. The cloud, on the other hand, is available at much cheaper rates and hence, can significantly lower the company’s IT expenses.

Flexibility – The cloud offers businesses more flexibility overall versus hosting on a local server. If you need extra bandwidth, a cloud-based service can meet that demand instantly, rather than undergoing a costly and arduous update to your IT infrastructure. This improved freedom and flexibility can make a huge difference to the overall efficiency of your organization.

Backup & Recovery – Since all your data is stored in the cloud, backing it up and restoring it to working order is much easier than if the data were stored on a physical device. Hence, this makes the entire process of backup and recovery much simpler than other traditional methods of data storage. We can’t always anticipate or prevent data loss (think of emergency situations like power outages or natural disasters) but cloud based services can quickly recover data to help quell any long-term damage to your organization.

Mobility – Since data and applications are available no matter where they are in the world, employees can work just as effectively from a variety of devices regardless of where their physical office may be. You have the ability to access data from home, on holiday, or while commuting to and from work (with an internet connection, of course). With cloud computing, if you need access to your data while you are off-site, you can connect to your virtual office, quickly and easily!

Environmentally Sound – Technology often has an impact on the environment. When your cloud needs fluctuate, your server capacity scales up and down to meet those needs. So you only use the energy you need and you don’t leave oversized carbon footprints. With fewer data centers worldwide and more efficient operations, there is less physical electronic waste and thus less of an impact on the environment. Companies who use shared resources are improving the world around them a little at a time.

Security – One of the greatest banes of company life is that of lost equipment. A lost or stolen laptop, tablet or phone is not only bothersome because of the cost of the asset, but because of the sensitive data it contains. Cloud computing gives you greater security when this happens. Because your data is stored in the cloud, you can access it no matter what happens to your machine. And you can even remotely wipe data from lost devices so it doesn’t get into the wrong hands. A cloud host’s full-time job is to carefully monitor security, which is more efficient than a conventional in-house system, where a company has to deal with many other IT issues and complaints.

Collaboration – Cloud applications improve collaboration between employees by allowing groups of people to meet virtually and easily share information in real time and via shared storage. This capability can reduce improve product development and customer service, and save time on ongoing projects. If teams can access and share files and ideas from anywhere, a business is going to be more productive and hopefully more successful.

Automatic Software Updates – Most cloud service providers will include system updates as they are released and automatically apply them. This could include up-to-date versions of software, as well as upgrades to servers and computer processing power. Immediate upgrades and frequently released software enhancements gives employees the features and functionality they need to make them more productive.

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