Before the concept of the Cloud came along, thinking beyond the traditional enterprise IT environment was improbable; after all, this ‘environment’ offered stable workloads and it was able to meet all challenges posed by the customer–service provider relationship. In a word, ‘it could meet enterprise expectations’. The arrival of the Cloud changed the contours of the traditional IT model–enterprise relationship. Changing market dynamics, the need for cutting edge business processes, improved accessibility, reduced overheads and enhanced customer interaction, made a case for enterprises to use the Cloud.
While the benefits of the Cloud vary from one enterprise to another, there are some well-established benefits for all businesses irrespective of their size. The one benefit that towers over all others is that Cloud computing allows an enterprise to shift focus from IT to services. An enterprise’s IT department is the bedrock of its existence, but very often enterprises get so caught up in improving their IT processes that they forget implementing services that satisfy the needs of businesses. This is where Cloud comes to the rescue; shifting data center to the Cloud helps enterprise businesses become more services oriented rather than increasingly IT fixated.
Cloud deployments are going up with enterprise organisations eagerly adopting the use of Hybrid or Private Clouds to avoid the intrinsic limitations of the Public cloud. But, the surprising fact is there are still enterprises ignoring the Cloud. They are looking at the Cloud with jaundiced eyes because of the following risks associated with it:
Loss of control over IT infrastructure
Challenges to Data Protection
Performance and Up Time problems
These risks are holding plenty of large scale businesses back from using the Cloud. These are valid reasons, but the use of any new technology is peppered with challenges and if the benefits outweigh the risks, as is the case with Cloud computing, there is no reason why you shouldn’t use this technology.
So, let’s take a look at some of the benefits of the Cloud, which make a case for using the Cloud:
The Cloud works on the economics of scale and this is one of its primary advantages. Costly IT infrastructure has been the #1 stumbling block for enterprises in their bid to remain competitive. The cost efficiency of the Cloud is like their prayers being answered. The pay as you go model of the Cloud means enterprises pay for the storage capacity they consume, allowing them to scale up or down, without increasing their overheads.
Enterprises have for long used IT as a weapon to attain strategic business goals, but its utility as a catalyst for business process evolution decreased as IT became a more institutionalized feature of an organization, with its own escalating fixed costs and organisational and planning issues; the focus shifted to managing IT rather than using it as a tool for innovation and achieving strategic business growth. The Cloud gives enterprise businesses the opportunity to give their IT team the chance to do what they were supposed to do in the first place – Conceptualise and implement innovative IT initiatives to fuel business growth.
Yet another well-established benefit of Cloud based services is that enterprises no longer have to come up with disaster recovery plans as the recovery side is handled by Cloud computing providers. Disaster recovery on the Cloud is quick, seamless and very affordable, which is a huge plus for businesses losing sleep over their disaster recovery plans. A particular Cloud services provider can support a variety of disaster recovery architectures enabling business to get the benefit of fast performance, compliance, flexibility and a more secure recovery.
For businesses circumspect about the benefits that the Cloud brings to the table and who are more concerned about the risks associated with the Cloud, the hybrid Cloud offers a perfect environment to test the Cloud waters. One of the biggest advantages of the hybrid Cloud is you have the opportunity to leverage the Public and Private Cloud Computing. Your non-sensitive operations can be pushed to the Public Cloud while sensitive business critical operations can be accessed through the Private Cloud. If you’re worried about control and data security, the Hybrid Cloud makes for the perfect choice.
One of the often ignored benefits of Cloud computing is the environment friendly factor. An enterprise using the Cloud uses only the space it needs, which in the long run decrease carbon footprint. The Cloud decreases energy consumption and the carbon emissions that are a part and parcel of on-site servers.
Agreed, the Cloud hasn’t completely evolved as a technology, and there is still a lot of growing up that needs to be done, but it’s getting there. But, there is yet another aspect to leveraging the benefits of the Cloud and knowing what the Cloud can do and cannot do. For example, companies that deploy mission critical applications to the Cloud, which are not optimised for the Cloud environment, can rarely benefit from this deployment. If you’re a business that wants to leverage all the benefits of the Cloud, you’ll need to do your homework. There is a very good chance that you’ve lost the first mover advantage as your competitors might already be using Cloud technology, so it’s imperative that you begin harnessing Cloud power as soon as possible. The choice is between being left behind and running in step with your competitors. Decide what you want it to be?♦ End