Cloud computing simply means storing and/or accessing data programs from a shared or dedicated pool of resources over a network (internet or dedicated) rather than locally on your computer’s hard drive. The resource pool can be tapped on demand, configured, and scaled up or down as desired.
The Evolution of the Cloud
It spawned in the 1950s by mainframe computers, combined with virtualized servers in the 1970s, and subsequent advances in storage capabilities, chipsets, operating systems, and virtual memory. Then, in the 1990s, the “cloud” exploded when sufficient network bandwidth speed was developed and made available to the public.
With dial-up modems a distant memory, today’s super-fast data speeds, high availability, mobility, and secure networks have materially transformed the way the global economy does business. Despite this seismic shift in tools available to businesses and empirical data showing that going to the cloud will generate competitive advantages, cost savings and business efficiencies, many companies have resisted going to the cloud.
There has never been a better time to leverage the cloud to align with your business requirements. In fact, companies that fail to do so risk being left behind in the digital economy. What follows are 8 key benefits of cloud computing.
Top 8 Reasons Why Your Business Needs to Be in the Cloud
Why wait? Your company could benefit from cost savings, flexibility, valuable insights, disaster recover, data security, high performance, mobility, and easy collaboration.
1. Cost Savings
The cloud transforms IT from capital expense (CapEx) into operating expense (OpEx). With no upfront investments required for real estate or computer hardware/software. Plus, there is no need for a multi-discipline IT staff of experts that design, configure, manage and maintain a complex computer network. Moving to and staying in the cloud is cheaper than you think.
In the cloud, a cloud service provider (CSP) will handle all IT infrastructure functions for a set monthly fee. Economies of scale may be realized by fully utilized hardware resources on the “pay as you go” model resulting in efficient consumption of computing resources. Internal IT staff can be reduced and deployed to other areas of the business such as applications development and stakeholder support, resulting in additional savings and performance. As noted in the Harvard Business Review, there’s wide consensus that cloud technology has the potential to offer more flexible, agile, and usable means to solve business problems — and that it’s cheaper to implement and run than on-premise solutions and, in some cases, the actual savings is in the magnitude of millions of dollars per year.
Companies in all sectors often get caught up in the upfront price of software and fail to realize the total cost of ownership (support, additional hardware, etc.). Cloud services allow you to pay for only the resource usage required, while taking advantage of scale and reliability. Those are two things that most companies can’t afford or quickly implement internally. Spreading the cost of large purchases out over time is beneficial because a budget can be allocated to marketing and other needs for company growth while still enjoying the advantages of cutting- edge, enterprise-grade cloud solutions.
Research analyzed by Vanson Bourne shows that companies who have switched to cloud computing have improved efficiency and performance. At the same time, they decreased IT expenses, as well as operational and IT maintenance costs.
2. Flexibility / Scalability / Agility
The need for operational agility is another major advantage of cloud computing. Many IT initiatives never happened mainly because the size of the investment in new functionality was prohibitive. Even when approval was obtained, it often took far too long to build new capabilities into the infrastructure. By using the “pay as you go” model in the cloud and “on demand” compute services, companies can quickly and seamlessly scale their compute infrastructure to facilitate innovation and respond to changing business conditions.
Tellingly, 75% of businesses surveyed by the Harvard Business Review reported getting a competitive advantage from using the cloud because it enabled them to land new opportunities faster than competitors. And, 65% of respondents to an InformationWeek survey said “the ability to quickly meet business demands” was one of the most important reasons a business should move to a cloud environment. With automatic scaling, dynamically provisioned compute services and resources and the ability to respond to opportunity with more agility, cloud solutions offer many advantages. When designed and managed by a CSP like Outer Edge, they enable the kind of business transformation that will support survive-and-thrive strategies businesses need today.
3. Insights / Analytics
In the age of “Big Data,” the wise man who said “knowledge is power” long ago couldn’t have known just how accurate that statement would be in the 21st century. According to IBM, 2.5 quintillion bytes or 2,500,000,000,000,000,000 bytes of data are generated every single day, and 90% of the world’s data was created in the last two years alone.
The result? Businesses are drowning in data. The problem? Much of that data is unstructured and can’t be analyzed by traditional methods.
By leveraging the massive computing power of the cloud and taking advantage of its scalable features, companies are able to analyze raw data to gain better insight about their customers and provide customer-centric services, streamline and make their business processes more efficient, and enhance the bottom line. Many cloud-based storage solutions offer integrated cloud analytics to parse, analyze and dissect data. With cloud-based storage, you can easily implement tracking mechanisms and build customized reports to analyze information throughout the organization. Entrepreneur reported that businesses using big data saw a profit increase of 8-10% and realized a 10% reduction in overall cost.
According to Forbes, more than 95% of companies must manage unstructured data, and over 40% report needing to manage it on a regular basis.
Alarmingly, 79% of enterprise executives say that not embracing big data will cause companies to lose competitive position and risk extinction. Don’t suffer the fate of the dinosaurs! A leveraged cloud solution is more critical than ever to competing and succeeding!
4. Disaster Recovery
In today’s technology-centric business environment, an outage or disruption that lasts for just a few hours can result in harsh financial consequences to businesses. According to Gartner, the average cost of IT downtime is $5,600 per minute or more than $300,000 per hour and the numbers are even higher for large enterprises. An astounding 60% of businesses will fail within six months of a data disaster.
If your IT delivery services fail, or even partially fail, would you be able to operate your business without access to your data? How much would several hours or even several days of downtime cost your business? Would you be able to recover? These are critical questions facing all businesses in today’s data-driven economy.
While there is no way to prevent or even anticipate the disasters that could potentially harm your organization, a cloud-based strategy can speed your recovery and quickly put the lights back on. Cloud-based services can provide, affordable, disaster recovery (DR) for all kinds of emergency scenarios, from natural disasters to power outages. By designing a solution that geographically and/or logically separates operational data from the DR environment, when an event happens, companies can seamlessly failover to the DR environment and be operational consistent with the RPO/RTO parameters built into the DR solution.
While 20% of cloud users claim disaster recovery in four hours or less, only 9% of non-cloud users could claim the same. Don’t be left in the dark. Talk to a qualified CSP like Outer Edge to design a DR plan that’s aligns with your requirements and keeps your business running.
5. Data Security
Whether your data resides on-premise or in the cloud, it may be at risk. According to Ponemon Institute’s 2018 Cost of a Data Breach Study, the root causes of a data breach in the US are:
- Malicious or criminal attack – 52%,
- System glitches, including both IT and business process failures – 23%, and
- Human Error -25%.
*Placing workloads in the cloud does not require a security trade-off; the opposite is true. According to Gartner, enterprises benefit from the security built into the cloud. In nearly all data breach cases, it is the user – not the cloud provider – who fails to manage the controls needed to protect an organization’s data. Gartner further opines that:
- Through 2020, public cloud infrastructure as a service (IaaS) workloads will suffer at least 60% fewer security incidents than those in traditional data centers;
- Through 2022, at least 95% of cloud security failures will be the customer’s fault; and,
- The 60% of enterprises that implement appropriate cloud visibility and control tools will experience one-third fewer security failures.
Data security is an enterprise wide responsibility. Managed properly, the cloud is a secure, highly available, cost-effective business tool. It is important that your CSP is well versed in securing both public and private cloud solutions. This includes but is not limited to your provider conducting industry recognized self-audits by third party auditors (i.e. SAE SOC 2, Type II) and regular security reviews in conjunction with the internal controls necessary to support these processes.
6. Performance and Resilience
When designed, built and managed properly, cloud performance, resilience and access is hard to beat. By utilizing geographic redundancy, enterprises can mitigate the risks of a localized geographic catastrophizes or events. Service Level Agreements (SLAs) often provide a 99.95% or better uptime guarantee, ensuring data is highly available wherever your employees have an internet connection. And, with adequate bandwidth, latency is a non-issue.
In fact, Outer Edge, in a recent ground breaking achievement, designed and built a cloud-based IaaS solution for a manufacturing execution system (MES) that had never been deployed in the cloud. The MES system, among other things, handles the environmental controls in a life sciences manufacturing facility that requires strict, time-sensitive environmental controls to produce innovative bioengineered therapies.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is here and its trajectory is skyrocketing. The statistics are mind boggling. According to techjury, there are currently 10 billion mobile devices in use, 7.9 broadband subscriptions worldwide, 2.71 billion smartphone users worldwide, 194 billion app downloads in 2018 and the list goes on and on.
What does that mean for business? The lights are always on for cloud-based companies, giving them an edge in the 24/7/365 global economy. Cloud computing allows access to corporate data via smartphones and devices allowing employees to stay connected anywhere they have cellphone or internet connection. By providing a single, central resource for all mobile devices to contact, the cloud is the obvious choice to manage mobile. The cloud also provides the tools needed to develop and deploy mobile applications easily and securely.
8. Enabling Collaboration
Businesses should be making collaboration a top priority and truly enable employees to work as a team. According to the Cloud Security Alliance, 79% companies receive regular requests from stakeholders to buy more cloud applications with file sharing and collaboration being one of the top-requested cloud services.
Cloud computing simplifies the collaborative process. Team members can view and share information easily and securely across cloud-based platforms in an efficient and productive manner. Documents are kept in a central, cloud-accessible location, and employees can edit a document without having to send an updated version to all the necessary team members…Problems with document version control are a thing of the past. Teams can work on projects without having to be in the same room, city ,or even on the same continent, and edits and updates appear in real time and can be accessed by everyone.
Why Choose Outer Edge?
Outer Edge Technology has been designing, building, hosting and managing IT solutions for over a decade. We have extensive experience in serving businesses with strict regulatory requirements, which need additional capabilities for data protection and integrity among other things. We specialize in helping small and medium-size businesses that don’t have the resources to fully staff their own IT department and often function as an extension of our clients’ IT departments.
If you are considering moving to the cloud or outsourcing some, or all, of your IT requirements, or would like to discuss other ways technology can benefit your business, contact us today at info@OuterEdge.biz or call 844-OET-EDGE. We are happy to provide more information about our IT services and give your business a competitive edge!
*Negligent insiders are individuals who cause a data breach because of their carelessness, as determined in a post data breach investigation. Malicious attacks can be caused by hackers or criminal insiders (employees, contractors or other third parties). The most common types of malicious or criminal attacks include malware infections, criminal insiders, phishing/social engineering and SQL injection. Id.