Smart business owners have taken a different view of IT over the past few decades. Their facilities no longer include large server rooms or data centers, filled with their signature racks and bundles of multicolored cables. Now, there’s minimal hardware on-site. Most of their infrastructure has moved to the cloud.
Why Is Computing Moving to the Cloud?
There are numerous reasons businesses are joining the exodus to the cloud, but one of the biggest drivers is cost. Deploying new on-prem infrastructure requires making substantial capital expenditures and then juggling unexpected service fees over its lifetime. Furthermore, as businesses rely more heavily on technology over time, the price tag for infrastructure rises proportionately. The outright costs – and costs related to bigger IT staffs or hiring service providers – often grow too high for a business to manage.
Agility is also limited with a system on on-premises infrastructure — growth, expanding to offer new products or services, or innovation have to wait until a business finds the budget and implements new infrastructure.
And, as businesses learned in 2020, leveraging cloud infrastructure and applications can also provide business continuity. The pandemic and remote work accelerated many organizations’ IT roadmaps to transition to the cloud now. Although overall IT spending is expected to decrease this year, Gartner predicts global public cloud spending will grow 6.3 percent in 2020 to reach $257.9, surpassing 2019’s total of $242.7 billion.
What Cloud Offers
Cloud infrastructure, aka Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), allows businesses to use a cloud service providers’ infrastructure (the cloud) instead of their own. No CAPEX is required. In fact, moving to the cloud allows businesses to trade a CAPEX for a predictable OPEX.
Businesses can also access their software applications and store data in the cloud, putting an end to buying software outright, installing it on-premises hardware and using in-house resources to update and patch applications. The Software as a Service (SaaS) model shifts that burden to the vendor – and ensures the business is always using the most up-to-date, secure version of their applications.
Additional benefits of moving to the cloud include:
- Easy deployment: Cloud solutions and services are generally easy to set up and use. Cloud also makes it easy to add – or discontinue – service as needed.
- Mobility: Business owners with multiple locations, field sales, team members traveling to an industry event and remote employees all have the access to the applications and data they need.
- Lower risk: The IaaS and SaaS models don’t require a long-term commitment to see a return on investment. The application stack and number of users can change as needed, often with just a few clicks. Businesses pay for what they need when they need it.
- Opportunities for innovation: Connected, cloud environments can also inspire new revenue streams, such as monitoring services or automatic replenishment of supplies.
Look before You Leap
With the promise of all the advantages a move to the cloud will deliver, there might be a tendency to rush in. But don’t. The best course is to research options, including whether to purchase cloud solutions and services directly from vendors or work with a managed services provider who can provide an integrated package, guaranteed to work the way it’s supposed to. This is an especially vital concern when using a complex management system – a managed services provider can take the role of advisor and provide support that can help a business increase adoption and get the most value from its investment.
A knowledgeable partner can also help businesses navigate the compliance landscape. Regulations, including the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act and industry regulations such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), have provisions related to the cloud that users must follow.
Don’t Fall Behind
Businesses are, with good reason, leaving behind the concept of legacy server rooms and data centers and making a move to the cloud. The new agility, efficiency and ability to innovate that they gain from the move will enable them to provide better customer service and increase their competitiveness.
How much progress have you made in your transition to the cloud?