Type in “benefits of cloud computing” into your Google search, and your results will be flooded with articles, blog posts, and whitepapers all touting the same top benefit: Cost savings.
But here’s the truth about the cloud: There’s so much more to it than its price tag. After all, there’s a reason (five of them, actually) on-premises workloads are shrinking—from 37% last year to 27% in 2020.
In today’s age of daily disruption, fast-paced digital economy, and continuous innovation, it just makes solid business sense to move away from clunky old data centers and towards the cloud.
Why? Because it opens up the door to increased security, productivity, innovation,and the ability to truly do more with less. That means you can focus on the stuff that matters most: Growing your business.
Five reasons why businesses of all sizes, industries, and geographies are turning to the cloud.
1. Unparalleled Security
Many organizations have security concerns when it comes to adopting a cloud services solution. After all, when files and other data aren’t kept onsite, how can you know that they’re being protected? And if you can remotely access your data, then what’s stopping anyone else from doing the same thing?
Quite a bit, actually.
For one thing, your cloud services provider will make it their top priority to carefully monitor security. That’s much more efficient than an on-premises system, where an organization must divide its efforts between a myriad of other IT concerns (with security only being one of them).
And while most businesses don’t like to openly consider the possibility of internal data theft, the truth is that a staggeringly high percentage of data thefts occur internally--and they’re usually perpetrated by employees. In fact, old, unpatched security vulnerabilities and human error (like setting weak passwords and falling for phishing scams) are the top two causes of data breaches.
That makes the cloud a decidedly more secure option. Consider these concrete statistics, for example: According to RapidScale, 94% of businesses saw an improvement in security after switching to the cloud. And another 91% said the cloud makes it easier to meet government compliance requirements and regulatory standards (HIPAA, PCIDSS, and the EU’s GDPR requirements).
So what’s the key to the cloud’s amped-up security when compared to on-premises data centers? It comes down to the high-security physical locations of cloud servers and the level of encryption available. Encryption is one of the most effective ways to ensure data security. By scrambling the content of any system, database, or file, data can’t be accessed in a readable format, even if it is intercepted while in transfer online. This makes it nearly impossible for any unauthorized user to access your data.
2. Increased Reactivity
Your business has only a finite amount of time to divide between all of its responsibilities. If your current IT solutions are forcing you to commit too much of your attention to computer and data-storage issues, then it’s a pretty big roadblock getting in the way of you and your business goals.
The cloud helps you avoid those roadblocks altogether by offering more flexibility. For example, if your business was suddenly in need of extra bandwidth, a cloud-based service can meet that demand instantly. With an on-premises system, however, you’d have to undergo a complex, time-consuming (and probably expensive) update to your IT infrastructure. This improved freedom and flexibility can make a significant difference in the overall productivity of your business.
In fact, a 65% majority of respondents to an InformationWeek survey said, “the ability to quickly meet business demands” was one of the most important reasons a business should move to the cloud.
3. Improved Productivity
For those who have full to-do lists, there isn’t anything worse than getting kicked off your computer to wait for new system updates to be installed.
Fortunately, the cloud makes updating your IT infrastructure more accessible and manageable. Most cloud-based applications automatically (and frequently) refresh and update themselves, giving you access to new features and capabilities faster. For many businesses, this makes it easier than ever before to quickly adapt to ever-changing market conditions.
Research carried out by Harvard Business Review Analytic Services reported that 74% of businesses feel like cloud computing has given them a competitive advantage. The main reason? The cloud enabled them to "capitalize on opportunities more quickly" than competitors.
4. Deeper Insights
Hidden within millions of bits of data that surround your customer transactions and business process are nuggets of priceless, actionable information just waiting to be identified and acted on.
Of course, there’s only one challenge: Sifting through all of that data to find those magical kernels of wisdom can be very difficult—unless, of course, you have access to the right cloud-computing solution. Many cloud services offer integrated cloud analytics that give you a bird’s-eye view of your data.
With your information stored in the cloud, you can easily implement tracking mechanisms and build customized reports to analyze information across your entire organization. And from those insights, you can do a lot—like increase efficiencies and build action plans to meet organizational goals.
For example, the beverage company Sunny Delight was able to increase profits by about $2 million a year and cut $195,000 in staffing costs through cloud-based business insights.
5. Reliable Disaster Recovery
In business, no matter how hard you try, there will always be a few things that are completely out of your control. But today, with cloud computing, disruptive and unproductive downtime doesn’t have to be one of them.
While there is no clear way to prevent—or even anticipate—the disasters or downtime that could potentially harm your business, there is something you can do to help speed up your recovery. Cloud-based services provide quick data recovery for all kinds of emergency scenarios, from natural disasters to power outages.
While 20% of cloud users claim disaster recovery in four hours or less, only 9% of non-cloud users could claim the same. And every one of those seconds, minutes, and hours count: The average cost of downtime is a whopping $5,600 per minute for businesses.
Still wondering whether or not you should move to the cloud?
You’d also be in good company: 94% of businesses have already adopted the cloud—and that number continues to grow every single day (the cloud market is expected to reach $623.3 billion by 2023 worldwide).