The Top 3 Benefits of Moving Your Business to the Cloud
They say “numbers don’t lie.” If that’s the case, then cloud computing is certainly the way of the future. According to a report put out by the IDC (International Data Corporation), public cloud spending will increase to nearly $500 billion by 2023. To put this figure in context, public cloud spending reached $229 billion in 2019. Another study performed by MarketsandMarkets™ projects that the global cloud market will more than double between 2020 and 2026, when it is expected to balloon to a whopping $832.1 billion.
Behind this pronounced growth is a simple fact: More and more individuals and organizations are migrating to the cloud. Again, the numbers speak for themselves. End-user spending on cloud services totaled $270 billion in 2020, and a forecast from Gartner has that figure increasing to $397.5 billion by 2022. Research from Flexera indicates that 94% of businesses already use the cloud in some capacity.
The trend is obvious: there is a mass migration the cloud services.
But is the hallowed cloud everything it’s cracked up to be, or just another pie in the sky? Why are businesses moving to the cloud in droves? Are they simply following the latest trend, or is cloud computing the real deal — something with concrete and measurable benefits for growing businesses?
In this article, we’re going to break down some key benefits of cloud computing. When you understand what cloud services can do for your business, it’s easier to enter the cloud market at your own pace and on your own terms.
Benefit #1: Cost-Effectiveness
The desire to spend less on IT is one of the main reasons why businesses are flocking to the cloud. There is research suggesting that lowering costs is the primary reason behind nearly half of all businesses’ moves to the cloud. But does cloud computing really help companies save money?
In short, yes. That doesn’t mean adopting any kind of cloud services will lower your costs just like that. Like most significant shifts in your technology strategy, the devil’s in the details. That’s why it’s crucial that you have IT experts whom you trust to help you navigate the transition from on-premises infrastructure to cloud-based architecture. Working with an IT provider such as a managed service provider (MSP) can be a great idea for a growing business that needs help with their overall IT strategy. Moving to the cloud isn’t a one-and-done kind of deal; it’s a process, and without someone to guide you, it’s easy to lose control of the transition and end up suffering losses as a result.
With that said, let’s look at a few ways in which cloud migrations typically help organizations lower their IT expenses.
Trading Capital Expenses for Variable Expenses
Cloud computing removes the need for on-premises IT infrastructure — not all of it, but a sizeable portion. When business owners move to the cloud, they can utilize vital IT resources, like storage and processing power, without having to purchase and maintain onsite hardware to host those resources.
This can be a huge source of savings, as servers aren’t cheap, requiring vast amounts of electricity not only to run, but keep cool. Overheating servers can be an utter catastrophe, as high enough temperatures can fry hardware beyond the point of salvageability.
Economies of Scale
When you receive IT resources through the cloud, the relative cost of those resources compared to their implementation on-premises tends to be lower. This is due to economies of scale. But what are those?
The short answer is that economies of scale are gains in efficiency that result from producing something on a larger scale. How does this relate to cloud computing? Well, the datacenters housing the servers that host the most popular cloud services (AWS, Azure, Google Cloud, etc.) are definitely “on a larger scale” than almost any on-premises set-up. In fact, they’re downright huge, each one containing tens of thousands of servers. The biggest ones use as much electricity in a day that a small town uses in an entire year, and the tech giants who run these colossal facilities spend top dollar on cutting-edge approaches to the delivery of cloud services.
In the ongoing battle over the cloud market, efficiency is the name of the game, and, for a small-to-medium sized business (SMB), keeping up with cloud providers like Amazon and Microsoft is becoming increasingly difficult. Just as a small farm will have trouble growing corn as cheaply as a big industrial farm, so too will an SMB have trouble spinning up IT resources as cheaply as a massive datacenter run by a multi-billion-dollar tech company.
And so, it’s like they say — if you can’t beat then, join them — which is exactly what thousands upon thousands of companies are doing: opting for cloud services in order to get IT resources at a cheaper rate.
Cloud services are delivered on a pay-as-you-go basis, which means you pay more when you need more of a particular service, and less when you need less. This ties into the benefit of flexibility, which we will be discussing shorty, but it also means lower overall costs. You pay for what you need, instead of pouring money into IT infrastructure that you only need to use — or use to its full capacity — some of the time.
For some businesses, having a datacenter onsite is like paying a personal chef a full salary to prepare just a few meals a year. If you find that your organization is paying for more IT resources than it consumes, now is a good time to look into cloud-based services, as it could save you tons of money. With cloud computing, you pay ‘by-the-meal,’ to build on the previous analogy; when your business is hungry — i.e., when it needs more of a particular IT resource or tool — you pay for however much of that resource you wish to consume.
Fewer IT Staff
On-premises IT infrastructure needs to be taken care of, and that requires IT experts on your payroll. We mentioned the importance of keeping servers at the right temperature, but that’s only one of many tasks that your IT team will have to deal with if you keep everything on-premises. When you throw in the opportunity costs that arise when your IT staff is busy with looking after onsite servers — i.e., the price of them not doing other things to help your business — the price of on-premises infrastructure can quickly become unmanageable for your growing business.
Adopting cloud-based services allows you to employ fewer IT experts, and frees up any IT staff you do have to pursue projects that make better use of their time and talents. This means one thing for your business: savings.
Benefit #2: Speed and Flexibility
Cloud computing gives businesses more speed and flexibility. But what does that mean? An analogy can help here. Think about the way electricity works. When you need more electricity, you get it, and you don’t have to wait. You turn on your television, and voilà — you receive more electricity. And when you finish binging your favorite show and decide to finally turn your TV off, the electricity that was flowing subsides. Moreover, your electricity bill goes up and down with the amount of electricity you use.
Cloud computing works in very much the same way (although the analogy is far from perfect). Let’s say a game developer comes up with a popular app that quickly attracts thousands of users, then tens of thousands, then hundreds of thousands! If the hardware and software required to host the game are on-premises, the sudden explosion in users could be a big problem; simply put, the game developer might not have enough servers on-premises to accommodate its product ‘going viral,’ and acquiring and setting up the required number of servers quickly enough just might not be feasible or affordable.
But if the game is hosted on the cloud (i.e., on remote servers in a gigantic datacenter) the company can simply scale up the number of servers it needs to keep pace with demand. And if people get tired of the game, they can scale back down (i.e., rent fewer servers).
This is the speed and flexibility of cloud computing in action, and for a business that needs elastic scalability, it can be the difference between success and failure.
Benefit #3: Greater Productivity
The fact that cloud computing allows workers to access information quickly and from anywhere on the planet — all they need is a device with an internet connection — means businesses that use the cloud can serve their clients and customers much more rapidly and smoothly.
It also means that the rise of remote work and the need for cloud computing go hand in hand. Simply put, if a business expects remote work to be a continuing part of its operations — and many businesses are — pivoting to the cloud will be not only wise, but essential, as it will allow remote workers to do their jobs effectively and without falling afoul of compliance regulations.
Another way cloud-based services help businesses run more smoothly and productively is by providing robust backup disaster and recovery (BDR) solutions, along with an array of policies and technologies devoted to helping keep businesses’ data safe. Popular cloud providers like Amazon and Microsoft have data centers all over the world, and are able to keep your business’s data in multiple locations. So, if for whatever reason (natural disaster, cyberattack, etc.) your data gets wiped out at one of the datacenters in your public cloud provider’s vast network of facilities, you won’t lost that data altogether. This is a huge benefit, as downtime is far from cheap.
Moreover, it’s standard for cloud providers to guarantee certain levels of service in a service level agreement (SLA). Reviewing that document with a trusted IT expert — and even legal counsel — can help assuage any fears you have about the type of security that you’re getting from a cloud solution.
Despite a growing body of evidence that the cloud provides better security than on-premises IT infrastructure, there is still a widespread distrust of cloud services based on the belief that moving to the cloud means letting your information ‘float freely’ in a less-than-secure environment. This concern is not entirely unfounded. Security in the cloud is far from infallible, and migrating to the cloud doesn’t mean that your organization can simply forget about security. Keeping information secure has to be a joint effort, involving you, your employees, your cloud provider, and — if you have one — a trusted IT partner such as an MSP. But with the right cloud solution, your organization can actually experience more security, better BDR, and enhanced compliance.
We began this article with a simple question: Why are so many people and businesses turning to cloud computing? It turns out the answer is simple …
Businesses are adopting cloud-based computing services because doing so brings a host of benefits! It isn’t the ‘allure’ or ‘mystique’ of the cloud that is attracting so many users; it’s the proven functionality of cloud services. Cloud computing is continuing to evolve, and the technology — like any — has room to grow. But businesses that wait around for the cloud to reach its full potential before adopting cloud-based services are likely to get left behind, whereas businesses that jump on cloud computing now — and do so thoughtfully and with a sound strategy — can boost their bottom line and achieve new levels of efficiency.