While not exactly a new technology, the speed with which cloud computing is transforming business models and efficiency seems to have accelerated over the past few years. As the world of data and information continues to expand, the cloud grows with it.
Cloud computing has many benefits and holds the potential to dramatically change the businesses that adopt it.
Cloud computing enables businesses large and small to move some of their operation to third-party servers, which allows for variable data packages, rapid expansion, and mobility without the fear of downtime, crashes, or permanently lost data. This allows a small business to access resources that would have been cost prohibitive for them in the past. These operations can also compete against corporations with far more funding, causing small and medium-size businesses to go from being constrained to certain geographies because of budget limitations to having the ability to scale globally with significantly reduced overhead costs. All of this can happen without building a physical data centre at a new location. Instead of deploying on-site infrastructure to run their operations, companies can access infrastructure as a service, via managed service providers. Cloud technologies enable larger companies to create a modular organisation. Cloud technology permits better participation in small teams, which allows organisations to be more modular and less hierarchical, lessening the risk of the collapse of any department or its unit.
The cloud is a cost-saving technology which enables businesses to dramatically lower their cost of operations, saving the corporate world on two fronts: equipment costs and IT staffing. Cloud service providers look after all the system and maintenance updates, so businesses can halve their IT budgets. Of course, you still need IT for many functions, but cloud computing may mean a full-blown IT staff is less needed, and costly equipment upkeep and upgrades are avoided. The cloud enables data to be more easily shared which, in turn, allows resources to be allocated more efficiently. Then, cloud computing makes innovation easier and cheaper, also lowering the cost of starting a business — and thus spurring entrepreneurship. By simplifying the use of APIs of other applications, it reduces the cost and difficulty of partnering with other businesses. Then, via the cloud, independents can share collective infrastructure costs.
Storage and Security
The cloud is a very secure form of storing data. Files, data, and documents are stored in one location, which keeps corporations coordinated all the time. Information is stored in the cloud, as opposed to on a device, so business data is always accessible and secure. Cloud service providers take extra measures to protect stored data by only granting access to users with encrypted passwords. Service providers also avail themselves of the most recent security monitoring software, ensuring that security breaches do not happen. With cloud computing, you never have to concern yourself about running out of storage or server capacity, resulting in major cost savings.
Mobility and Flexibility
The cloud offers the corporate world great mobility, and this is leading us to a world characterised by a mobile workforce. Employees are the main driving force behind many changes related to cloud computing within the business environment. For example, employees may wish to telecommute or even use more familiar devices. Cloud computing has made it easier for remote employees to enjoy all of the benefits of working in an office while they are working remotely, and most businesses are seeing the benefits of allowing their employees to work remotely: increased productivity and efficiency, as well as a willingness to work longer hours. Cloud computing also accelerates the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend, which allows employees to ‘dial into’ their systems with their own computers or tablets. Whether employees desire to work from home or share documents and files with colleagues anywhere in the world, it becomes possible with the cloud. Using it, employees share and access business-related data from everywhere. It enables greater collaboration on any computing device from anywhere in the world.
Cloud computing has changed business models in the way that you interact with customers. It offers you the flexibility to react immediately to customer needs; customers need not wait for business hours to shop for products or get services. They also want a full experience that often involves websites with videos, tools, and interactive presentations (most medium to small businesses are unable to host these interactive files). The cloud makes it easier to share data and this, in turn, makes it easier for the same data to get to computers all over the world faster than ever before. Also, users can access web content faster. Outsourcing your interactive data to a cloud vendor means that you have enough capacity to store these files and allow customers to download or view the files at higher speeds from a secure cloud computing platform. It works on all computing devices. Businesses can reach their customer more easily, regardless of what device they use.
Using the cloud improves operations, saves costs, keeps data safe and yet easily accessible, offers greater mobility and flexibility, and improves interaction with customers. An essential technology transforming our world, the cloud permits greater efficiency and productivity than ever before.
Jill Phillips is a freelance writer from Buffalo, NY. She is an aspiring entrepreneur and a tech lover who loves to share her insight on various topics. When she is not writing, Jill enjoys taking photos and hiking with her dog. You can find her @jillphlps.