For more than a decade, the concept of cloud computing, or just the “cloud,” has dramatically changed how businesses operate and deliver services. In fact, the global cloud computing market is expected to grow 16.3 percent a year between 2021 and 2026, reaching $947.3 billion in value by 2026.
But what encompasses the cloud and the services it provides to each organization can be dramatically different.
So what exactly is cloud computing, and is making the move to this service delivery model right for every business? To help your business make the best decision for your operations, here are some key considerations to think about along your cloud journey.
What is cloud computing?
Cloud computing is the delivery of technology services and resources on demand via the internet.
While the exact makeup of what comprises an organization’s cloud can vary, it generally includes access to applications, data storage, and processing power to deliver business services to your employees and customers via the internet. Instead of owning the computing infrastructure or data centers themselves, organizations can pay as they go or rent access to these cloud services from a cloud services provider.
The three basic categories of common cloud computing services are:
Infrastructure as a service (IaaS): The provision of virtual servers and storage to allow organizations to deploy virtual machines and storage as needed. Examples include ERP, email, redundant data centers for different coast offices, running servers in the cloud, and disaster recovery in the cloud.
Platform as a service (PaaS): The delivery of development tools via APIs or web portals to support an organization’s in-house software development. This category includes developing applications in the cloud, having one single environment for developing without hardware and dialing in, and allowing your IT group to focus on development activity with rapid deployment capabilities.
Software as a service (SaaS): The delivery of a business’s key software applications and databases to users’ endpoint devices, assisting greatly with remote working by reducing security complexities for businesses. Examples include Office 365 and ERP systems.
In addition to different levels of cloud services, organizations can also choose to have their applications and data hosted privately, using hardware and software specifically dedicated for their business, or in a public cloud, where data is segmented, but hardware resources are shared across multiple customers.
What are some key benefits of cloud computing?
The business drivers for each organization’s transition to the cloud can vary, but some of the more common reasons include:
Supply chain delays: Moving to the cloud allows you to bypass the current long wait times for IT hardware. Currently, many manufacturers are forecasting 6-24 months of back orders.
Scalability: Cloud service providers are able to increase or decrease their customers’ computing resources—both in computing resources delivered and, in turn, cost based on their business needs. This agility is difficult to match with on-premise infrastructure, which takes time to deploy or sunset.
Innovative support: With a tight technology labor market, having access to the staff able to support a wide range of networking and infrastructure devices can be difficult—especially when they need to have continuous training to stay ahead of the latest best practices. However, a cloud provider has in-house experts available to support your services 24/7/365, each with access to the latest technology, services, and support practices.
Reduction in hardware management: By moving to the cloud, you eliminate the need for IT staff to secure, manage, monitor, and maintain your physical hardware, a cost savings that can help offset cloud costs.
Flexibility: As the last several years have demonstrated, the need for businesses to be able to remain flexible to meet customer and employee expectations continues to increase. A shift to a cloud service—with the support of its staff—helps organizations to implement new web-accessible services to power remote learning, working, and collaboration.
High availability: Cloud computing providers are in the business of delivering secure, reliable, and strong connectivity, usually offering over 99 percent uptime to meet your business demands.
Business continuity: One of the biggest challenges that organizations have with in-house infrastructure and support staff is meeting regulatory and business requirements for business continuity and disaster recovery. Working with a cloud services provider introduces the redundancy and distributed locations that are central to business continuity and disaster recovery planning.
What are some limits to cloud computing?
There can be some specific cases where a move to cloud computing isn’t the right fit for an organization. While the business case for or against a move is unique to each organization, some limits of leveraging the cloud include:
Cloud is not a one-size-fits-all model: Every organization is unique and needs to determine its own cloud needs. Some companies may find optimal efficiencies at being 100 percent in the cloud; others may find it at 50 percent or less.
Migration can be cost- and time-intensive: With the benefit of years of experience, tools, and proven approaches, migration to the cloud has become easier and more efficient. However, for large organizations with a lot of sites, local and enterprise systems, and large amounts of data and applications, the migration to the cloud can be time- and cost-intensive. In these instances, a well-researched business case can help to identify the cost benefit and eventual return on investment of a potential move.
Choosing the right provider is key: Cloud may not be for everyone due to latency issues, the amount of data an organization has, or if it has highly customized software that can make it costly to move to the cloud. Finding a partner that knows your industry and can understand your business and its needs is critical to the success of your cloud migration and to prove ROI.
Let VectorUSA help your business make the right move.
It can be tempting to follow the digital crowd and ride the wave to cloud computing, but each organization needs to make the best technical and business decision for their customers, employees, and future.
That’s where VectorUSA’s knowledge of the versatility of manufacturers coupled with its customer-first approach sets our experts apart from others in the industry. We have more than 30 years of experience guiding a wide range of industries on how to strategically and successfully bridge their technology framework to enable their services to provide the best in class business outcomes.
Want to learn more about what a move to the cloud could mean for your organization? We recommend our latest resource, Cloud Adoption 101: Everything to Consider Before Liftoff.
Post Topic(s): CLOUD