What is Cloud Computing & What are its Benefits ?
It is surprising that in spite of the obvious advantages provided by cloud computing, many businesses still operate the conventional way. A study conducted by Dell says that companies that leverage technologies like cloud, mobility, and big data, experience over 50% quicker growth in revenue as compared to competitors who do not employ them. Cloud computing helps businesses to operate more efficiently, service customers better, and grow rapidly.
Cloud computing simply put, is the use of a network of servers hosted on the internet for storing, managing, and processing data instead of on a PC or local server. With data being used in every aspect of business today, storing crucial information, systems and programs on in-house computers and servers is no longer feasible for most businesses.
It operates on a premise similar to that of web-based email clients: allow users access to all system files and features without storing most of that system on their computers. Facebook, Gmail, Google Drive and Instagram are example of apps powered by the cloud – so yes, we have all been using it for some time now.
While it’s true that the initial outlay for switching over to cloud based servers is a bit steep, you need to look at the ROI – then you will realize that in the long run, it’s actually way more cost effective because:
- Employees have easy, anytime access to data, saving time and money
- You only pay for those features or services of the cloud that you want – and not everything they have
- You only pay for the exact amount of storage space you need to service customers and other stakeholders
You may fear that providing anytime, anywhere access puts your remotely stored data at risk of cyber-attacks. However, the security of your data is the sole responsibility of the cloud host – and they are pretty good at it, as they are not diverted to other IT tasks. Studies conducted by various experts state that over 90% of businesses who moved to the cloud experienced more security in data, and that meeting GRC requirements was also easier. The chief reason for this increased security is that all data transmitted and stored is encrypted. This makes it extremely difficult for hackers to gain access to your data. The majority of cloud computing service provides also add extra layers of security – like restricted access based on the role or designation of the employee.
When you’re running a business you have several responsibilities to handle; focusing too many resources on IT issues may hamper your achievement of business goals and serving customers. However, outsourcing your IT infrastructure and hosting to a third party sets you free to give your core business activities your full attention, and achieve your goals.
Thanks to cloud computing, you can access corporate data through mobile devices – meaning that you can keep all stakeholders in the loop 24/7. Telecommuting, remote access and other ways of collaborating on a project helps to stay on top of developments and keep clients updated about progress. It also offers more flexibility and work-life balance to employees who stay far away, are traveling or freelance employees.
In today’s digital world, data is power. Hidden in the vast mounds of data are precious chunks of actionable data, simply waiting to be discovered and used. But wading through this ocean of information will be a tough ask without access to the perfect cloud computing solutions. To this end, cloud based storage services usually offer in-built analytics that provide a 360 degree view of your stored data. As your data is in the cloud, it’s super easy to deploy tracking tools and create custom reports to analyze the data from across the enterprise. These insights can help you craft plans to meet your business goals.
Any team should be able to work as one well-oiled machine – regardless of where they are physically. Collaboration becomes a breeze with cloud computing, as everyone in the team can easily and safely share information across a cloud based platform; some vendors actually offer social spaces for employees throughout your organization to collaborate, increasing engagement and the fun factor.
Poorly created, inconsistent reports can, believe it or not, hamper your business success. In a cloud computing environment, all your documents are stored in a single format and in one location – and all relevant personnel have access to it, helping to maintain the consistency and minimize errors; any alterations made are recorded too. This is a huge improvement over the silo method of managing info – which results in recording documents in different versions, leading to data inconsistency and confusion.
Control is a crucial factor that decides the success or otherwise of a business; however, there will always be certain things that are beyond your control. In today’s uber competitive world, even a little bit of downtime and non-productivity can affect your business adversely – causing loss in revenue and reputation. While prevention or anticipation of disasters is nearly impossible, you can speed up recovery. Cloud services offer quick data recovery for a range of emergency scenarios – from power outages to cyber-attacks and natural calamities.
Cloud-based applications undergo auto updating and refreshing without relying on human intervention (your IT department) to perform a manual update. This means your IT employees can focus on more critical tasks.
There is no doubt that taken together, all these benefits you get from cloud computing give you a competitive edge over other businesses in your industry; so if you haven’t yet moved your data to the cloud, you shouldn’t delay any further. The cloud is the future.
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