Businesses large and small have heard for years from Amazon Web Services and other cloud services providers about the benefits of cloud computing. Cloud computing increases efficiency, enables the rapid deployment of resources, increases business agility, provides services which better enable innovative business initiatives, enhances security and reduces capital expenditures etc.
Those benefits are obvious to the companies which have already switched to cloud computing services, including about half of small businesses. Both large and small businesses have seen firsthand how the cloud opens new opportunities for enhanced collaboration and accessibility, along with a more cost-effective solution for file backup.
The half of small businesses which haven’t moved to the cloud still have their doubts—for some, it’s a concern about privacy and security issues. Others simply don’t understand how the cloud works, or mistakenly believe only big business can benefit from cloud computing. For those doubters, the news that Amazon Web Services (AWS) became the first company to break through the $10 billion threshold in revenues tied to its cloud services was more than eye-opening; it was also reason to rethink cloud computing for their own companies.
Race to the Cloud
When Amazon Web Services announced in June of last year that it had made almost $6 billion in cloud services in the first 6 months of the year—and was on track to hit the $10 billion mark by the end of the year—businesses which hadn’t yet moved to the cloud began to question their reluctance. At the same time, other cloud service providers were quick to highlight their own cloud successes and initiatives.
Salesforce CEO, Marc Benioff, for example, quickly jumped into the fray, pointing out that Salesforce would be the first cloud-only company to reach $10 billion. Oracle, lagging in the corporate race to the number one position in cloud services, announced its decision to buy NetSuite for $9 billion. AWS, to reinforce its position in the catbird seat, rattled off the impressive list of the companies running SAP with AWS—corporate giants like GE, Kellogg’s, Brooks Brothers, Ferrara Candy and Lionsgate.
The one-upmanship, although at times a bit unseemly to the casual observer, sent a clear message to the businesses which hadn’t yet moved to cloud computing. What those corporate earnings and impressive client lists told them was that cloud computing must work, and be safe, and move business growth. If not, why would so many big-name companies be relying on cloud computing services, and why would cloud service providers be making so much money?
The Pervasiveness of Cloud Computing
The benefits of cloud computing have become clear to businesses across a wide variety of industries, and a rapidly rising number of those businesses have moved operations to the cloud. A study published by RightScale indicates that 93 percent of businesses now use cloud services for at least some part of their operations. Almost 90% are using public cloud technology, 63% are using private cloud, and 82% have a hybrid cloud strategy. In a separate study, Emergent Research predicted that the number of small businesses fully adapted to the cloud will double in the next 6 years.
How the Cloud Is Boosting Business Productivity
Businesses which have moved operations to the cloud have witnessed marked improvement in efficiency, functionality and productivity. Although some small businesses are currently limiting their reliance on the cloud to things like social media and email operations, they plan to expand cloud services to new applications, tools and platforms over the next several years, eventually moving to full adoption.
Here are 4 benefits of cloud computing for large and small businesses:
Could Computing Is More Cost-Effective
Cloud computing moves expenditures from fixed, capital equipment costs to variable, operational costs, providing a flexible (and scalable) platform which enhances opportunities to manage, control and share data for less money. In addition, the cost of cloud computing continues to fall, as the Economist points out:
“As cloud providers rush to build new data centers, and battle for market share, businesses are finding that the cost of putting their computing and data storage into the online cloud is getting ever cheaper. In the past three years, prices are down by around a quarter, according to Citigroup, a bank; and further significant falls look all but inevitable.”
Cloud Computing Enhances Security
Cloud computing offers businesses an inexpensive means to store their data safely, with robust data backup and a reduced risk of cyber threats and hacking. That added level of security also increases business productivity, as businesses have a new opportunity to operate safely, 7 days a week, 24 hours a day.
More than 43% of small businesses in the US were victims of cyberattacks in 2015 compared to just 18% five years earlier. Others experienced downtime due to natural disasters. That downtime is costly. Cloud computing eliminates those costs, with data which is stored remotely and can be immediately accessed through any mobile device.
Cloud Computing Enhances Collaboration
Cloud computing makes collaboration easier. The ability for businesses to more effectively collaborate—with team members, mobile workers and clients—results in improved daily operations, greater team cohesion and enhanced customer satisfaction, all of which contribute to productivity.
Cloud Computing Promotes Data Control and Access
With cloud computing, all business data is stored in one, central location, not segmented on separate employee computers. That means employees have access to any data or document they need, whenever they need it. This streamlines business processes and internal communications, both of which increase productivity.
The benefits of cloud computing are clear, as is the fact that an increasing number of companies—small, medium size and large—are moving to cloud-based services every year. Still, some businesses are hesitant to embrace cloud services because they assume the transition will be costly or difficult.
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