The business benefits of the cloud
Cloud computing is becoming increasingly popular. Companies used to rely on their own data centers and on-premises brought all applications and data together, but nowadays more and more transactions, applications and data are moved to the cloud. This is, of course, explainable because the cloud has quite a few business benefits. In this blog article, we will explain those benefits to you and show you how to get the best out of the cloud in business.
Saving on capital and operational expenses
An important advantage of cloud computing is that it is considerably better for the business expenses if you make a direct comparison with on-premises infrastructure. With cloud computing, you pay (usually in the form of a subscription known as pay-to-go) only for the servers, computer power, and functionalities that you actually use. Moreover, in the cloud, you mainly work with licenses instead of expensive software packages.
Staff costs also decrease when switching to the cloud, mainly because you need fewer conventional system administrators. This means that enormous savings can be made on operational expenses. The impact the money being saved is, of course, partly dependent on the exact wishes and needs, but thousands of euros per year is a very realistic amount. Additionally, you save on the hardware costs. By using the cloud you do not have to invest in a physical IT infrastructure with expensive server rooms, air conditioners, and cooling systems.
In the case of on-premises, you are mostly stuck with a certain IT infrastructure, a problem that you certainly do not have to deal with in the cloud. Cloud computing makes your IT network easily scalable. Depending on current needs, you can easily grow or reduce capacity.
For example, does your site suddenly attract a lot more visitors? Then you can easily increase the capacity of the computer network in the cloud. And if you need less computing power, you can also easily contract again. With on-premises, such adjustments would result in an expensive and time-consuming job. Do you need other applications or have new applications been developed for the cloud? Then you can turn it on or off at lightning speed. “The cloud gives you the chance to grow at the pace that suits the organization”, said Marko Baric, managing director at Typeqast Croatia.
The cloud ensures that employees have access to their online documents, data, and agendas, always and everywhere. This means you are no longer dependent on place and time and you can start working while on the road or at a flexible workplace. The benefit: work and private life are easier to combine. Various studies also show that people who can work mobile are generally more productive and happier.
Another practical benefit of working in the cloud is that a broken or crashed computer does not immediately disrupt the entire workflow. Important documents are stored on external servers and can simply be accessed via another device. You can always reach it again and the damage is limited. Moreover, the service device does not necessarily have to be a different PC, because modern cloud platforms are also easily accessible on devices such as notebooks, tablets or smartphones. The specific functionality of a cloud application is automatically adjusted to the device that the user uses.
Many people and companies still think that the cloud is more unsafe than on-premises solutions. However, this is a misunderstanding. Systems that are set up on-premises can also be hacked and cracked or infected with malicious malware that blocks the network or steals sensitive data. An example of this is the major Petya cyberattack that took place from Ukraine in 2017. The attack ensured, among other things, that the system used to measure the radiation level around the Chernobyl nuclear power plant went offline. Also, several Ukrainian ministries, state-owned companies, banks, and subways were hit. The cyberattack eventually caused mega problems around the world, including Western Europe and the United States.
The idea of the unsafe cloud is mainly fueled by the incorrect assumption that everyone can access your data if you store it in a cloud environment. Because the data is not on a dedicated server, but on a server that is shared with other companies that also purchase a cloud service.
Yet this fear of the unsafe cloud is largely unfounded. Cloud providers store information in firmly secured data centers so that only a select number of people (with the highest security privileges) have access to the physical servers. Besides, cloud software offers extensive export options. This allows users to download backups of their data and cloud providers to build in good APIs. Most cloud solutions also allow you to determine yourself, who has access to certain data. Systems such as AWS and Azure, for example, use an authorization system with which the account owner can set for each employee what exactly this team member can see and do.
Additionally, large cloud providers such as Amazon, Microsoft, Google or IBM have enough budget to attract the very best engineers. So they can put a lot of money and research into both the physical protection and online security of their centers and networks. Unless you have a hefty pot of gold and can attract an army of extremely expensive IT people yourself, your own IT team can never match the bundled knowledge of these top experts.
IT becomes easier to manage and deploy
An IT network that runs in the cloud is easier to manage and can be deployed faster. For example, you have little to no worry about maintenance. The all-important software updates, upgrades and security patches are provided by the cloud provider. The cloud also takes a lot of standard actions off your hands. The benefit: people can focus on activities and processes that really add value to the organization.
Respond faster and maintain your competitive position
In the current business landscape, it is essential to respond properly and quickly to innovations, new market developments, and changing customer needs. By moving part of your services and data to the cloud, this goes a lot faster and you prevent that you fall behind the competition.
“If you use your own data centers and on-premises solutions, it takes a lot of time (sometimes months) and money to adapt the IT infrastructure to a new reality. The result? You fall behind other companies, which means your competitive position is deteriorating”, says Baric. “This is in stark contrast to working in the cloud, where you can quickly respond to changing circumstances and purchase what is needed to meet current market demands and requirements.”
Attracting good people becomes easier
Good IT people want to work with the latest, most interesting and progressive technology. Working in the cloud provides more flexibility and opens the way to exciting new technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and the Internet of Things (IoT). “A company that mainly builds old-fashioned things and does not modernize its IT infrastructure, or make it more flexible, will certainly not win the war for talent”, explains Baric.
Certain applications can only be built in the cloud
Another important factor is, that the current IT universe no longer allows you to build and apply everything within your own on-premises network. Especially applications and solutions that rely heavily on relatively new technologies such as AI and machine learning can only be built in the cloud and with the help of an agile method.
The cloud is the future
Thanks to the above benefits, the cloud is still gaining ground over on-premises. Yet not all companies are completely in. “An important reason for this is that the cloud option can be a little unpredictable financially”, said Baric. “The costs depend on what you purchase, and that is not always clear in advance. Some companies don’t like that unpredictability. Another factor is, that good cloud engineers are still in minority in many places and therefore difficult to recruit. But this will become less of an issue in the future as companies move more things to the cloud. As a result, more good IT people will also focus on working in the cloud.”
The trend is therefore that more and more companies are starting to find their way to the cloud. Cloud computing is already the norm for the majority of start-ups, but more and more large companies such as Siemens and Philips are gradually moving services and data into the cloud. Such multinationals usually use a hybrid form that combines both on-premises and cloud solutions. This is partly because some specialist solutions (such as certain robots or machines in a car factory) are still dependent on local data centers and cannot be controlled from a cloud platform.
Especially for the more basic applications, there is little reason not to use the cloud. It is cheaper, faster, safer and easier to scale, while the cloud also offers more opportunities for experimentation (important when working according to the agile principle). “Moreover, the entire world will soon be in the cloud. Jumpin in now prevents you from missing the boat and losing ground on the competition”, concludes Baric.
Cloud solutions at Typeqast
Would you like to place parts of your IT network in the cloud? Do you need advice when choosing the cloud? Or are you looking for smart cloud solutions and apps that give your competitive position a big boost? Then you have come to the right place at Typeqast. We specialize in developing customized solutions that run in the cloud. Each project is led by a permanent project manager who works with the client and a dedicated team on the best solution for your organization.