Cloud computing is an umbrella term for delivering computing services – like analytics, storage, servers, intelligence, and software – over the internet.
Cloud providers, such as Google Cloud Platform, use the internet (cloud) to deliver their offerings and provide a more efficient and flexible solution than your traditional on-prem setup.
Migrating to the cloud paved the way for new business models such as data-driven enterprises – which rely on processing vast amounts of data instantly. This new way of doing business is helping companies understand their customers better and stay one step ahead of their needs.
Read more: How to Build a Data-Driven Company: The Ultimate Guide
Cloud computing is a big step forward compared to the traditional IT infrastructure, which requires you to build and maintain physical data centers to run regular operations and store data. So it’s not a surprise that it’s fast becoming the dominant IT setup – by the end of 2022, companies will spend almost $500 billion on public cloud services.
Now, let’s take a closer look at the benefits of cloud migration.
Benefits of Moving to the Cloud
With cloud computing, you only pay for the services you use and have the option to upgrade your plan when and if needed. This payment method allows you to reduce operating costs, scale up without stress, and focus on innovation. Moreover, cloud computing removes your worries regarding software and security updates, as that’s the provider’s responsibility.
Lower costs are one of the biggest benefits and a powerful reason to move your business to the cloud. A Gartner research paper showed that moving from on-prem to a public cloud could reduce your monthly IT costs by as much as 55% over a three-year period.
Several factors contribute to the decrease in costs:
- You only pay for the functions and features that you use.
- Lower costs of purchasing and maintaining equipment.
- Your electricity use and bills go down.
- Without bulky servers, you need less office space.
- You need fewer IT people to take care of the equipment.
That said, you need to know that the initial costs of migrating to the cloud might be pretty high. Therefore it’s crucial to consider the cloud’s total cost of ownership, which includes points like data transfer or data duplication.
Greater Flexibility and Scalability
The cloud provides your organization with greater flexibility on the market while giving more freedom to your teams. Here’s how.
When working in the cloud, you can easily add or remove features and functions based on your goals and needs. The increased flexibility means your business is better prepared to respond to sudden changes on the market or pivot to take advantage of new opportunities.
On the other hand, your teams can work from anywhere – provided they have internet access. This offers them greater freedom while giving you access to a global talent pool.
Higher Security Standards and Practices
Once you migrate to the cloud, you increase the security of your data not only because of the cutting-edge technology but also the security-related economies of scale that you wouldn’t be able to take advantage of otherwise.
On-prem data centers have been around for more than 20 years. Because of that, most current systems are built on layers of legacy solutions – many of which do not play well together when it comes to security.
By contrast, cloud solutions are based on modern technology, bringing the newest safety and security features. Cloud providers based their whole business model on the cloud – so they are heavily incentivized to keep investing billions into keeping their solutions safe.
And this doesn’t just cover online attacks. Public cloud providers also cover around-the-clock security personnel and physical protection, ensuring your data is always safe.
Finally, cloud operators guarantee compliance with the latest regulations and standards (such as PCI, ISO, SOC, and FedRamp). This, in turn, means that all their users are automatically beneficiaries without paying for any of the work.
When we talk about cloud reliability, we usually want to say that the cloud service is running as advertised, and providing the services it was meant to.
Of course, in the real world this is not always the case and there will be instances where the cloud will fail – either due to human error, external factors such as natural disasters, or software glitches.
However, cloud service providers have millions of customers, which means they are incredibly motivated to make sure these failures either:
a) never or rarely happen OR
b) that they last the shortest amount of time possible and cause the least amount of disturbance to your business.
Because of this, cloud providers invest heavily in multiple redundancies and monitoring tools. These ensure that they detect any disturbances before they have a chance to bring the service down.
Anyone who’s ever collaborated on an online presentation or a Google Doc knows how much time – and back-and-forth emails – this way of working saves. Gone are the days of endless email attachments or having to check if you have the final version of a document.
With the cloud, your teams can collaborate on projects no matter where in the world they are. And instant messaging and video-call features make it much easier to share ideas or brainstorm without having to be in the same room.
It also provides a single source of truth for the whole organization – as the data is saved centrally and can be accessed instantly by those who need it. This freedom of access is essential for breaking down data silos – a growing challenge that the cloud is uniquely positioned to solve.
Better for the Environment
With the climate crisis in full swing, there is no better time for companies to turn towards sustainability. And moving to the cloud is a huge step.
Cloud providers operate massive data centers serving millions of customers, allowing them to run more efficiently due to economies of scale – something you can’t achieve with smaller on-prem setups.
These centers are also equipped with the latest technologies, designed to use less energy and produce less waste. For example, a research paper done by Microsoft, and supervised by Stanford University, has shown that Microsoft’s cloud is up to 93% more energy efficient and can generate up to 98% less carbon emissions than traditional on-prem data centers.
Finally, cloud providers often power their data centers through renewable sources, eliminating high electricity costs for themselves and providing you with a much greener alternative.
Disaster recovery is your organization’s ability to quickly recover its critical systems after a disaster. Some disasters that might cause your IT systems to fail have become more common in recent years, making it a hot topic. These include:
- natural disasters such as flooding or hurricanes
- cyber-attacks (especially ransomware attacks)
- equipment failures and power outages
The cloud revolutionized disaster recovery, as you can now bring back your systems quickly and without much fuss. All your data is stored across multiple servers in different parts of the world. As a result, even if one of them goes down, others can take over in minutes (even instantaneously), allowing you to keep operating as usual.
Cloud Migration is a Must for Data-Driven Organizations
Moving your business to the cloud might not be easy, but it is a crucial step in ensuring your success in the long run. Data-driven organizations are set to dominate the markets in the coming years, as they will be better positioned to understand customer needs, and anticipate and react to market changes before they even happen.
But for these insights and patterns to emerge, your teams need to work together and process vast amounts of data across the whole organization – something that’s only possible with the power of the cloud.