Digital transformation was a top priority for many businesses even before the pandemic. Once Covid-19 disrupted the globe, companies understood more than ever how important it was to have a flexible, composable technology plan.
Cloud solutions offer a dynamic, scalable architecture for processing data. Employees can access company apps and tools from anywhere, and cloud computing enables scalability better than an on-premise system. Moving to the cloud has allowed businesses to reimagine how their technology works, and cloud-first strategies enable innovation at a fraction of the cost of traditional computing.
Let’s explore the benefits and challenges of moving a business to the cloud.
The benefits of cloud computing
Companies engage cloud computing services because it enables innovation, but how does it do that? Here’s what you need to know.
The cloud is cost-effective
A business’s bottom line is often the first reason companies decide to make the switch. In a traditional technology strategy, companies must invest in physical servers to process, store, and secure data and other virtual assets. They must also invest in the expertise necessary to install and configure these systems and tie up talent with time-consuming maintenance as new threats arise, or new tools need to be integrated.
This costs businesses a lot, and it’s tough to scale up or down because the hardware is set. With the cloud, a company doesn’t have to worry about precisely what to configure or how much to invest because it’s easy to upgrade data storage and processing through the cloud at significant cost savings. Companies simply pay the host or SaaS provider, with pricing often based on usage, and worry about accomplishing their goals rather than becoming infrastructure experts. Then, the company can reallocate funds towards innovation.
Cloud services can improve security
When a company maintains its own storage and processing, it is solely responsible for cybersecurity. That means hiring experts and often taking a reactive rather than proactive approach.
Cloud adoption allows companies to push security updates automatically to each connected app and tool. In addition, cloud service providers have built-in security capabilities and automatic monitoring and alerts. This layer can improve response times and ensure that security features are the most up to date without fail.
Cloud services have more security resources, have staffed their centers with experts, and typically have the most current knowledge of potential threats out there. A business that isn’t a tech company won’t have to invest heavily in an IT team to maintain operations but can rely on the security of the provider’s cloud storage and processing.
Moving to the cloud can put high-quality equipment in reach
Building an on-premises solution requires a lot of investment. Companies might hesitate to outfit themselves with the latest GPUs or launch with a generous amount of storage. When companies move to the cloud, they can often take advantage of the hardware that might be otherwise out of reach.
Cloud service providers invest in the latest to stay competitive and offer the most value to their customers. Instead of paying for the total cost of the equipment, a company shares that cost with others using the same cloud provider.
This could mean a serious upgrade in potential processing power and speed for many businesses. Plus, if an enterprise is currently maintaining legacy systems, integrating everything in the cloud makes continual upgrades faster and easier.
The cloud enables workforce flexibility and collaboration from anywhere
One of the biggest reasons companies began looking to the cloud was pandemic disruption. They needed to find a way to manage a distributed workforce while securing devices connected to the network but not necessarily sanctioned by the company itself.
Cloud services enabled with features like artificial intelligence can help make security and access easier. They can detect anomalies faster so that companies can close loopholes and build a more secure network from anywhere. They also enable better governance so that employees can access the apps, tools, and data they need to complete their jobs from home—even without months of preparation time to shift remote work.
This is a crucial feature for cloud operations. New business models must remain flexible and ready to face the next disruption. Companies that couldn’t manage the shift downsized or closed altogether. And workers began looking for jobs elsewhere when some companies tried to pull back from remote and flex options.
The cloud streamlines workflows and provides a level of interoperability unmatched by your standard on-premises architecture. Teams can continue to work, which gives customers continuity, and everyone can view the data insights they need to make decisions.
Risks of moving to the cloud
There are some risks to moving to the cloud despite the benefits. When introducing a third party into the operations mix, one of the biggest challenges is protecting sensitive data—particularly important in regulation-heavy fields like healthcare. Some companies may keep things on-premises to safeguard data or switch to a hybrid model with some in-house components. Other options could include using a private cloud instead of a public cloud.
Other risks include losing some control over your data and some opacity when it comes to knowing exactly how and where data is stored. This is mitigated by asking the right questions about governance and methodologies and carefully reading and negotiating agreements. In addition, downtime caused by issues on the cloud provider’s servers could derail operations or cause data loss in a single cloud environment.
Large companies with extensive legacy infrastructure may also be reluctant to move to the cloud, although those objections are becoming increasingly rare. Depending on the cloud migration roadmap, it can cause some temporary upheaval, and companies may need change management to embrace cloud computing fully.
Building cloud operations will address a new era of business needs
A cloud platform streamlines company workloads and can handle the needs of many different businesses—from small business to global enterprise. It upgrades IT infrastructure to account for quick changes and disruption while ensuring full functionality even with a remote, distributed workforce.
Cloud technology is a growing area of interest for the business world, and more companies are choosing to leverage it for better cybersecurity and disaster recovery, increased collaboration, and real-time processing. All the business of the future needs is a secure internet connection and a cloud environment to tie everything together.