Cloud computing technology has single-handedly changed the way our world operates — especially when it comes to business. From its initial invention in the 1960s up to its blooming period in the 21st century, we have witnessed a cultural shift in the delivery of computing services over the internet and it’s showing no signs of slowing down.
Back in 2019, 451 Research found that 90% of organizations used some type of cloud service. That number has likely only increased as more companies shift to a hybrid work model. But how did we get here and why is it so beneficial for businesses?
Simply put, cloud computing technology lets you run computer applications via the internet without having to buy, install, or manage your own servers. This allows you to run IT operations with just an internet connection. By delivering relevant IT services over the cloud, you can operate more efficiently, adapt to ever-changing business conditions, and remain up-to-date with the latest business technologies. Cloud computing technology also keeps your operating costs at a minimum.
Although admittedly it marks a giant shift from traditional IT resources, the cloud grants a substantial amount of benefits that justify the investment including cost, speed, reliability, security, scale, ease of access, and lower overhead.
The days of buying hardware, software, data centers, servers, and other forms of on-premise technology are long gone. Cloud technology enables you to cut costs across nearly all aspects of your business. It also eliminates the massive upfront investment previously required and replaces it with a pay-as-you-use service plan that is often based on a number of users, data storage, and other factors.
With cloud-based technologies, you can access software applications and data on any device, anywhere, any time. This not only helps with critical business decisions but also allows for efficient collaboration within your organization.
With cloud service providers handling upgrades, system administration, and maintenance, you can stop spending time and money working on servers.
Reliability is critical for all businesses and cloud computing technology ensures there are few interruptions or downtime while keeping a fast, secure connection to your servers.
Scalability is probably the most attractive feature of cloud computing technology. Under the pay-as-you-use service model, in most cases, you can always add to your cloud platform as you discover the need for additional resources without a substantial upfront investment. Your cloud computing technology will grow right alongside your business.
Cloud computing technology provides security measures that ensure your data, apps, and infrastructure remains protected. Additionally, there are different types of cloud computing technology available that can move your cloud from a public to a private connection for additional peace of mind.
Although nowhere near exhaustive, the benefits listed above paint a clear picture of how cloud computing has revolutionized the way companies operate and why adaptation has skyrocketed over the past two decades.
No cloud computing technology is the same as businesses will require specific capabilities. However, there are three general types of cloud computing technology offered: public, private, and hybrid.
Public clouds are environments created, owned, and operated by cloud service providers such as AWS, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure. Delivered over the internet, public clouds are the most common of the three options.
Private clouds are environments built specifically for one business or organization. Hosted either physically on-site or by a third-party cloud service provider, these environments operate on private networks. This offers an advanced level of security to meet more strict IT requirements. You can expect to see this type of cloud in larger businesses with critical day-to-day operations.
Hybrid clouds combine both public and private environments allowing for the transmission of data between the two. This setup allows for greater flexibility, different deployment options, and can meet more specific security compliances. Along with companies using a hybrid cloud for specific capabilities, this also allows for companies to ease their transition into the cloud in a gradual, phased process.
Cloud computing technology is usually offered in three different consumption models: Software as a Service, Platform as a Service, and Infrastructure as a Service. Unlike traditional servers, applications, and other product offerings, these models allow for a pay-as-you-use system making it extremely cost-effective for businesses.
Software as a Service is the most commonly utilized option for businesses with most instances being end-user software applications. With maintenance, upgrades, security, and infrastructure handled by the cloud provider host rather than yourself, you can focus on your day-to-day operations without worrying about your servers.
Platform as a Service takes SaaS one step further and provides an environment for applications and tools to run on. This on-demand environment tailors itself towards developers. It creates a platform for them to build software and applications without worry of underlying limitations such as servers, databases, and networks.
Infrastructure as a Service is the most basic service offering available for cloud technology. IaaS allows you to rent IT infrastructure (servers, computers, data storage, networks, etc.) but requires more management from the end-user.
Each consumption model provides businesses with specific features and functionalities that will ultimately determine which fits their scope best. Whether you are looking to use the cloud for storage, to build applications, or as infrastructure, there’s a model built for you.
Although cloud technology provides businesses with a vast array of benefits, there are risks that your organization should keep in mind to ensure a successful system.
Although normally reliable, no server is perfect and cloud servers are no exception. However, with cloud servers, if you lose internet access, you lose connection to your server and cannot perform any associated tasks until you gain service again.
Hosting a server internally gives you full control over features, settings, and accessibility of the system. Meanwhile, under some cloud service models, a third-party cloud service provider will conduct maintenance. Ultimately, your service provider will have the final say on pricing, data access and ownership, and other matters. Although not likely, you should have a plan in place if things go south. Be sure to read into contracts and have guidelines in place for who can access your data, what happens if you miss a payment when the pricing can change, and other clauses that could affect your day-to-day operations.
Briefly mentioned above, data security is a huge risk to take on when adopting cloud computing technology. Depending on your industry and your cloud service provider’s terms, your data might not be fully protected in the event of a breach. It is also possible that the cloud service provider does not assume liability. Double-check the data security compliance of your chosen provider and ensure its policies align with your business.
Most risks associated with cloud computing technology are also the same risks that come with more traditional, on-premise or hybrid systems. You face both internal and external threats that could drastically affect your business operations if not prepared. You should consider the different types of cloud computing technology available and assess the risks of being on a public cloud versus a private or hybrid cloud.
The revolutionary advancements in cloud technology over the past two decades have set the foundation for the cloud to thrive. Experts estimate that over 80% of enterprise workloads will be in the cloud and as technology continues to evolve, this number will only keep growing. Adopting cloud technology can help provide your organization the scalability, speed, and flexibility needed to further develop and support your IT solutions.
At Entartes, we specialize in helping businesses move their information and operations onto the cloud through the successful implementation of NetSuite, a cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. You can contact us for more information.
Principal at Entartes