Why Cloud Computing is Important for Your Business Today?

Cloud computing is the latest technological buzzword doing rounds in the business world these days. But what exactly is the cloud computing? In simpler terms, cloud computing is a utility model, using which small and large organizations can host their data centres, processes and applications online via internet against pay for use basis.

Cloud computing is a model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction.

Traditionally, the only way organizations would access software was through installing it on their computing desk or via intranet. However, with advent of cloud computing, firms can now log on to applications through a network connection from anywhere, anytime. That is because; all these applications and websites are hosted on a cloud server rather than the physical server on the company site. It usually works on a sharing of virtual and/or physical resources, instead of deploying a singular software and hardware.

Mr Omar El Akkad, in his article Outsource IT Headaches to the Cloud published in The Globe and Mail says, “As more consumers and businesses adopt tools such as smart phones and tablets, the ability to host data in the cloud and access it from just about anywhere on the planet is quickly becoming vital." Through cloud computing, organizations can now leverage information technology services, which were previously not easily accessible to them and reach out to more customers.

Now that we have understood the definition of cloud computing, let explore it in a little more depth and also further analyse how cloud computing can reap benefits for your business.

Types of Cloud Hosting Services

Depending on its business size and IT requirements, an organization can avail any of these three key services from umbrella of cloud computing.

  • Software as a Service (Saas), where the computing service provider gives ready to use, centrally and remotely hosted web applications to customers.
  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), where firms outsource their IT resources and equipments such as networking, data centre space, storage and networking.

  • Platform as a Service (Paas), where end to end IT solutions are delivered, right from sourcing equipments to configuration and deployment to continuous management of cloud applications.
  • Anything as a Service (XaaS), where apart from the above three, any other IT related service is offered to the customer. The ‘X’ here refers to ‘anything’.

Deployment of Cloud Computing

Once an organization decides to operate through cloud services, the next crucial step is to deploy the cloud infrastructure and data hosting. Here are four ways to do it:

  • Private Cloud: A private cloud is created exclusively to distribute applications and data for a particular organization. The firm has complete control over this.
  • Public Cloud: A public cloud is owned and hosted by a third party and made available to customers for a license or subscription. The firm doesn’t have to worry about maintenance issues here.

  • Hybrid Cloud: A hybrid cloud combines private and public cloud and is usually adopted by an organizing partly for scalability and partly for privacy of data.

Benefits of Cloud Computing

According to RightScale 2014 State of the Cloud Report, 94% of the organizations surveyed are using cloud. This indicates that number of organizations adopting cloud computing platform is significantly rising, owing to numerous advantages it brings.

  • Lower Costs
    The first and foremost reason that drives a firm to operate through cloud computing is the tremendous cost saving associated with it. Cloud computing allows a firm to scale its IT capability and outlay, without incurring a higher capital costs. Activities like acquisition and installation of hardware and software; maintenance of servers, license renewal and management of day to day IT issues is undertaken by the cloud service provider, which leaves an organization with more time to focus on its core business activities.

  • Flexibility
    Most of the organizations required to conduct business on the go, especially on smart phones and tablets. Cloud computing gives 24/7, on-demand services and allows the user to stay in tune with real time information and data from any computing device anytime and anywhere across the world. Google and Dropbox are two popular such cloud drives.

  • Scalability
    In the ever changing, dynamic market scenario, it is quite vital that an organization meets customer demands timely and efficiently. This calls for deploying further IT resources as quickly it is possible. In cloud storage, all hardware and software can be updated, modified or upgraded as per the existing business scenario or during crisis faster than a standalone in-house IT structure. In a similar manner, cloud computing can also be adjusted to scale down as per the needs of the organization.

  • Integration
    Often, organizations need to consolidate their business processes and software and make them work in tandem. Cloud computing can take care of all your integration needs, by converting your diverse applications into a sophisticated, user friendly multi-application service.

  • Data Security & Recovery
    Taking backups of data in storage devices is a routine activity in any organization. But isn’t it a daunting task, especially when you are handling a large volume of data? That is where, cloud computing can come quite handy. Cloud computing acts like a remote storage device, where you can not only safeguard your critical data from loss, but also recover it with ease during contingencies.

  • Environment Friendly
    Data centres in organizations need high end cooling systems to avoid them getting overheated and keep running smoothly and uninterruptedly. But these cooling systems can shoot up your electricity bills too and not an environmental and financially sustainable solution either in the long run. But when you avail cloud hosting services from a third party, you don’t require setting up your own data centres and thereby can save on your energy costs.

  • Geographic Reach
    Cloud computing deployment can enable organizations to explore new geographic territories and reach out to more customers. This can result in better utilization of resources, expansion of business and also higher revenues.

  • Workforce Efficiency      
    Cloud based set up can lead to hiring talented and motivated workforce, in fact from across the globe. Why? Because you can give them flexible working options, which can result in a better work-life balance, reduce commuting costs and also improve job satisfaction.

Is Cloud Computing Right for Every Business?

If you are a start up or a SME, cloud computing can help you save on on-premise IT costs and also give you benefit of new technologies required to face competition from counterparts or large enterprises. For large scale firms, cloud computing services can make them leaner, more efficient and effective.

The following graph clearly indicates that there is a growing trend of cloud computing adopted by companies of different sizes.

Though the benefits of cloud computing are multi –fold, cloud security still remains a major concern for business. However, this challenge can be overcome by hiring a knowledgeable cloud service provider and following best practices in cloud security.