Cloud computing is not a new concept; it has been around for 20 years. However, it was only recently that organizations have started to explore how they can incorporate it into their current technology strategy.
While the term ‘cloud computing’ has only been widespread in the last few years, it is actually almost as old as the Internet. Our exponential and accelerated digital transition to the 21st century has made it difficult for companies, governments, and individuals to store and manage important information and systems in in-house servers. Hence, the utility of cloud computing.
By definition, cloud computing is the delivery of (computing) services, such as storage, servers, databases, software, networking, intelligence, and analytics over the internet or “the cloud” with the goal of offering versatile resources, better innovation, and scalability.
We actually use a lot of cloud computing services, but don’t realize it. Google Drive, Gmail, Facebook, and Instagram, to name a few – these applications are all cloud-based.
Whether you represent a large enterprise or a small business, you can benefit from cloud computing at this point in time. In this article, you will see some benefits of cloud computing for businesses. First, how has cloud computing evolved?
The Evolution of Cloud Computing
How did cloud computing become what it is today? It all dates back to the 1950s, with different technologies playing important roles in its evolution. Some of the technologies involved in the evolution of cloud computing include the following:
A. Distributed Systems
These are computing environments wherein different components of a project are spread out across several computers or other computing devices – distributing the work with different members of the team and thus producing more efficient finished products.
One problem that this introduced is the need for all systems to be in the same geographic location. Thus, the birth of three peripheral computing systems, namely: Mainframe computing, cluster computing, and grid computing. Cloud computing in recent times, provides a solution to this problem by making the work accessible to permitted individuals across different geographical locations as long they are connected to the internet and are provided with access to the files.
Introduced in the 80s, virtualization allows users to simulate multiple scenarios on the hardware at the same time via a virtual layer created over the hardware. This technology is key to what cloud computing does today, laying the foundation for cloud computing services such as VMware, vCloud, and Amazon EC2, to name a few.
Web 2.0. Simply put, Web 2.0 is the reason we have Facebook, Twitter, Google Maps, and the likes. Majorly popularized in 2004, Web 2.0 is a variety of applications and websites that allow users to create and share material they have created.
C. Service Orientation
A core reference benchmark for cloud computing, service orientation gave way to flexible, evolvable, and low-cost applications. Quality of Service (QoS) – including SLA (Service Level Agreement), and Software as a Service (SaaS) exist today because of Service Orientation.
D. Utility Computing
This is a service provisioning model that seeks to meet the customers’ fluctuating needs by charging them for specific usage, rather than a flat rate. This approach is increasingly becoming popular for services such as storage, website access, file sharing, and other applications. For example, a user can be an authorised editor to a public file at one time and an administrator at another time. Different people can have different roles, needs and accessibility.
E. Cloud computing today
Cloud computing today combines all these features along with its evolution into a formidable and powerful tool that can be very beneficial to businesses in the present day. Remember that businesses are largely becoming online-based with the help of Web 2.0. For such businesses, they might require the input of people across different locations, there is no definite need to pack every resource and personnel into a physical location and amongst other benefits, cloud computing provides an extra layer of security for documentation in the business of today.
Let’s now see more of the benefits of cloud computing for businesses today.
8 Benefits of Cloud Computing Today For Businesses
1. Cost Savings
Building an in-house data center, or even a small, separate server closet for your company costs a lot of money. You have the hardware, cabling, and routers to spend on, not to mention, maintenance, cooling, and power costs. You can significantly reduce this capital expense by partnering with a cloud computing company. You can then use your savings on value-adding investments that can help you provide a better customer experience and innovate further.
2. Improved Infrastructure
Many businesses find it challenging to keep their servers up-to-date, especially those that do not have the capacity to invest in every new generation of servers as they become available in the market. Cloud computing addresses this problem. Cloud providers can help businesses solve performance and compatibility issues that come with outdated physical servers.
3. More Mobility and Flexibility
Thanks to smartphones and IoT devices, customers have more ways of accessing data and services. Businesses today should be able to quickly adapt to this. Moreover, remote work has become central to the new norm in the modern workplace, especially post-COVID. This makes it more critical for companies to take advantage of cloud computing services in providing distributed teams with access to vital information and opportunities to work together on projects simultaneously.
4. Faster Growth
For businesses, particularly startups and smaller companies, scalability is a top priority. The inability to adapt quickly and grow rapidly can mean the loss of opportunities to increase business. In a traditional setup, a company would wait for new equipment to arrive in order to accommodate new demands. Cloud computing allows companies to promptly expand their capacity and address the increasing needs of customers.
5. Better Insight
We are in the midst of an unstoppable digital transformation, and it’s not enough that we just gather, store, and manage data efficiently. Businesses today are compelled to make sense of the available data — quickly and effectively — and come up with actionable insights. Data engineers incorporate analytics into cloud storage solutions to help businesses with this by putting built-in report customization capabilities and tracking mechanisms.
6. Prompt Recovery
Downtime due to disasters, power outages, or cyberattacks can create a huge dent in your business’ productivity, revenue, and reputation. This is why it is crucial that you recover as quickly as possible. Cloud computing allows for quick data recovery in any type of emergency scenario. In fact, 20% of cloud users report that they were able to recover from downtime due to a disaster in less than four hours.
7. Increased Security
There are companies that are still hesitant to adopt cloud solutions, and security is one of their concerns. With files, data, and programs stored somewhere else where they can be accessed remotely, some think that they might be more vulnerable to security breaches. One thing to take note of is that a cloud solutions provider’s primary job is to closely monitor security. This is considerably more efficient than an in-house security system. In fact, 94% of organizations that switched to the cloud saw an improvement in security.
8. Greater Sustainability
Organizations are constantly challenged to up their green game and adopt more sustainable practices. Switching to cloud computing is a great way to do this, as it results in a lower carbon footprint. Using cloud infrastructures means less, if not non-existent, paper waste, and better energy efficiency. While cloud computing is not yet net-zero carbon, it is more environmentally friendly than the alternatives.
Popular Businesses That Use Cloud Computing
Here are five top companies utilizing cloud computing.
- Netflix: Using AWS as their provider, Netflix provides a secure and steady service to hundreds of millions of users all over the globe. Aside from security and storage, AWS also provides infrastructure that enables them to scale and continue innovating with ease.
- Pinterest: This company, which has been a go-to site for marketers and bloggers for generating traffic, also has AWS as its cloud provider. Pinterest has been utilizing cloud computing since its early days, and it has been instrumental in its growth.
- eBay: With 175 million active buyers across 190 markets all over the world, eBay manages its massive data and secures all of its transactions through a cloud computing service provided by Google Cloud.
- PayPal: To be able to manage billions of transactions and serve 300 million users all over the world, PayPal also uses Google Cloud to maintain top security, prevent fraud, and address financial risks — all while managing massive amounts of data every day.
- Twitter, etc.
Considering the pace of recent technological advancements and innovations, the importance of cloud computing in business will keep its prominence. It is high time for companies to develop a cloud strategy to meet the demands of the modern business environment. Growing businesses can benefit from cloud computing in so many ways, such as improved security, scalability, faster growth, and improved infrastructure, just to name a few.
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