After years of data center growth and IT evolution, many businesses are left living with complex, overgrown computing platforms that are chronically underutilized. These systems take up valuable data center floor space, depreciate quickly, consume large amounts of power and cooling resources, and can cause management headaches. Plus, this rigid architecture makes it hard for an IT organization to quickly adapt or respond to changing business demands, and it makes it difficult to share resources throughout an enterprise, in order to increase utilization and improve efficiency.
By providing resources as a service, cloud computing addresses these fundamental data center challenges. Some examples of applications include software as a service (SaaS), Customer Relationship Management, file storage, file synchronization and file back-up. It's now possible for businesses to have their own private cloud, which incorporates specific services and is only accessible to specific people.
Cloud Computing is very flexible
There are lots of advantages when using cloud computing for companies, and one of the major ones is the flexibility that it offers. That staff can access the files and needed data even when they're working remotely and/or outside office hours. As long as they can get on the Internet, staff can access information from home, on the road, from clients' offices or even from a smartphone. Staff can also work collaboratively on files and documents, even when they're not physically together. Documents can simultaneously be viewed and edited from multiple locations. What that means? Cloud computing increases IT responsiveness and efficiency.
Very easy to get up and less labor-intensive for companies
Everyone knows that the most used cloud computing tool is the email. Do you remember how long it takes to set up your account and start emailing? I'll tell you: no more than a few minutes. And all you needed was a computer and an Internet connection. Downloading and installing software, on the other hand, takes much longer.
Cloud computing is often cheaper and less labor-intensive for companies too. There is no need to buy and install expensive software because it's already installed online remotely and you run it from there, not to mention the fact that many cloud computing applications are offered free of charge. What that means? Reduces capital expenditures and operational overhead.
The need to pay for extensive disk space is removed
Cloud solutions offer virtually unlimited storage space compared to server and hard drive limits. Needing more storage space does not cause issues with server upgrades and equipment. Usually all you need to do is increase your monthly fee slightly for more data storage. With cloud computing, you subscribe to the software, rather than buying it outright. This means that you only need to pay for it when you need it, and it also offers flexibility: it can be quickly and easily scaled up and down according to demand. Plus, online storage and back-up means their data can't be lost or destroyed. What that means? Cloud computing provides greater business flexibility through an on-demand, pay-as-you-go model that scales with your business.
Don't worry about maintenance
With cloud solutions, there is no need to take on specialist IT staff, and businesses don't have to worry about maintaining and upgrading software or fixing bugs, as all maintenance is done by the providers. Remote maintenance means it's easy for businesses to always have the latest and most powerful version of any particular software. Automatic software updates can be especially useful for legal or financial compliance reasons. For example, consider accounting and bookkeeping software. When tax rates change the system will be automatically and centrally updated.
A few key benefits of cloud computing to remember:
- Increase IT responsiveness and efficiency.
- Reduce capital expenditures and operational overhead.
- Provide greater business flexibility through an on-demand, pay-as-you-go model that scales with your business.
- Get more choice in providers — use in-house or third-party vendors.
Sources: Cloud Computing Journal, Forbes, Small Business Blog