Companies across the board are increasingly leveraging cloud computing as a way to remain innovative and relevant in a rapidly changing business environment. According to Gartner, Inc., the worldwide public cloud services market is forecast to grow 17% in 2020 to total $266.4 billion, up from $227.8 billion in 2019, making cloud adoption mainstream.
The rise of high-speed bandwidth has contributed to cloud computing’s rapid growth, as has the expansion of the “as-a-service” business model. Why invest in hardware and servers when you can use an Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) delivery method? Similarly, Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) allow companies to outsource specific functions, opening up new opportunities by providing them with greater storage and networking capabilities as well as access to the latest hardware and software tools.
The Case for Cloud Computing: 4 Key Business Benefits
For companies looking to expand their capabilities without costly IT investments, accessing the public cloud makes good sense. It allows them to focus on their core business without the constant burden of managing a complex and costly internal network. There are many different reasons to migrate to the cloud. Here are just a few industry examples, along with the associated business benefits:
Consumer goods and services is a fast-moving sector with fierce competition and high customer expectations. Cloud computing services can help speed-up the development and deployment of new products by providing rapid access to new technologies and reducing the costly and time-consuming IT procurement phase.
Key Benefit: According to market research, companies that adopted cloud services experienced a 20.66% average improvement in time-to-market.
Financial and healthcare service providers need to gather, store and quickly act on large amounts of data. They also have elevated security and privacy concerns. Cloud solutions allow them to meet these demands without the high cost of building and maintaining massive data warehouses.
Key Benefit: Ability to store larger amounts of data and increase analytics capabilities while lowering expenses due to reduced equipment and personnel costs.
Retail companies often have fluctuating demands for their product depending on factors such as time of year, weather and promotions. By moving to the cloud, they can quickly add or drop capacity based on real-time needs, while also increasing inventory visibility.
Key Benefit: Scalability and flexibility that allow lower operating costs during slow cycles.
Manufacturing facilities that manage multiple locations and supply chains benefit from cloud solutions that boost transparency, efficiency and reliability.
Key Benefit:Always-on server availability, even during maintenance, increases production uptime and delivers greater insights into everything from equipment health to inventory levels.
Don’t Let Security be a Deal Breaker
Regardless of industry, many executives struggle with security concerns surrounding the public cloud, preferring the control and ownership of a privately-hosted network. Ultimately, security risks exist in both instances, but private networks may actually be more vulnerable simply because they lack the necessary expertise and manpower. In fact, nearly 60% of organizations that suffered a data breach reported that a known, but unpatched, vulnerability was the culprit.
Public cloud vendors have several advantages over private. What may seem like a negative—persistent hacking attempts of the public cloud—is actually a positive in that public providers have instituted technologies and policies to harden their networks based on real-world experiences. Additionally, public cloud vendors tend to attract the best security experts, deploy top-rated equipment and have the bandwidth to stay up-to-date on the latest threats.
Important Steps Toward a Successful Implementation
Whether a company chooses to migrate 100% to the cloud or employ a hybrid model that mixes private and public, it’s important to map out a thoughtful approach to help ease the transition. A few best practices to consider include:
Identify the business goals of your company’s cloud technology strategy up front. For instance, is the aim to reduce infrastructure costs, access more innovative solutions, increase storage capacity, or is there a combination of goals?
Determine what applications should be moved to the cloud and which, if any, should remain on your server.
Decide if a single cloud provider is right for the company or if the applications should run through multiple vendors. Additionally, conduct due diligence into all providers and always read the fine print to make sure there are no hidden costs.
Update your governance policies so that they take cloud services into account including identifying clearly defined client/vendor roles, accountability standards, performance metrics, disaster/recovery protocols, compliance mandates, etc.
Analyze potential security risks that could take place during the migration and develop a strategy with your vendor to mitigate them. Additionally, update your security policies to include specific roles and responsibilities in the new client/vendor relationship.
Plan your migration carefully, including the possibility of service disruptions. Additionally, be sure that any required internal employee training takes place in advance.
By making high-power computing capabilities available to the masses, cloud solutions have the ability to level the playing field for companies of all sizes, industries and geographic locations. This not only translates into more competition, but greater opportunities for companies that recognize the benefits and take advantage of all the cloud has to offer.