It has become very difficult to contest the power of digital transformation with such a wealth of current examples.
50 Advantages of Cloud Computing in One Convenient List
Author: Jake, Marketing
Last updated: November 9, 2017
The cloud, more than ever, is becoming the bedrock to future business projects.
When implemented correctly, it can enable both technology and business outcomes to come together and create positive change.
With a great understanding of the benefits it brings, you are better placed to act. As such, here are 50 essential advantages of cloud computing, all on one convenient list.
This guide will provide you with all the examples, stats and tools needed to overhaul your business.
Cloud Computing Advantages Infographic
While this article goes into great depth around the general and industry specific advantages of cloud computing, you may just be looking for a high-level overview.
No problem – we’ve got you covered.
See below a conclusive infographic that evaluates the ease with which a cloud computing plan can adapt to meet your organisation’s specific requirements at any one time.
Or, the enhanced ability that it gives you to budget in accordance with those needs, for the short, medium and long term.
If you appreciate the value in this graphic, feel free to share it with your community. Otherwise, keep reading.
Why Cloud Computing?
Before we move onto all the advantages in detail, here is a light background to cloud computing:
It provides a necessary platform to which organisations can sprint into value-lead projects.
If you stand back, and look at some of the key trends enterprises have been prioritising in recent years, cloud is very much leading the way.
So, with this dynamic change, enterprise organisations have come a long way in just a few years. We are seeing widespread adoption by companies who are appreciative of the scope that the cloud provides in boosting corporate efficiency, productivity and revenue.
Types of Cloud Computing
There are three core types of cloud computing, each with their own merit.
- Private cloud
- Public cloud
- Hybrid cloud
Private cloud solutions were by far the dominant transition into the world we have now become accustomed to.
Whereby, organisations of all sizes used on-premises, dedicated data centres to support their IT demands.
Public cloud providers have made huge headways in recent years. Their model is about providing on-demand, scalable cloud solutions for organisations.
This platform has become the standard for emerging companies, and has pushed the traditional practices of heritage organisations.
Hybrid cloud has, as the name suggests, become the balanced solution to any questions of the previous two options.
Equally, it has become the natural stepping stone from private to public.
Following on from the scalable environment that the cloud has setup, there are three core services that have naturally come from it.
There are quite a few nuances that distinguish these – you can find this, along with examples and benefits in this guide →
Lastly, if you look at the size of the opportunity, you will see that spending on cloud computing infrastructure and platforms will grow at 30% compound annual growth rate from 2013-18.
Compared with 5 percent for overall enterprise IT [Goldman Sachs].
50 Cloud Computing Advantages in 6 Chapters
Having previously looked at the various cloud benefits from a birds-eye-view perspective, we are now going to break down each point individually.
Hopefully this will aid you in building a business case.
In addition, to achieve relevancy, we have broken the 50 into 6 chapters, feel free to jump to an applicable section:
- Business [1-8]
- Users [9-15]
- IT Function [16-32]
- Architecture [33-41]
- Finance [42-45]
- Security [46-50]
However, if there is anything else you think would be helpful, we’d love for you to comment below.
The first chapter starts with arguable the most important argument of any technology – the business case.
We begin with flexibility.
This application of cloud computing gives organisations the ability to flex various resources to best meet business objectives.
Beginning with analysis, CXOs are always interpreting different parts of their revenue streams - trying to implement changes to exploit more value.
With the cloud, this is taken to the next level.
For example: if you look at the common use of Excel as a business-critical application, with the cloud, you have the option to expand its capabilities to no end.
Unlike a private data solution, the cloud brings unparalleled rapid scaling.
From a business perspective, this reduces response time, and in competitive markets, can give you that edge.
So much so that 65% of respondents to an InformationWeek survey said “the ability to quickly meet business demands” was an important reason to move to cloud computing.
2. Competitive Advantage
Secondly, and arguable the most compelling advantage of cloud computing from a business perspective:
Whether the technology be email, phone or Internet; businesses have always been conscious and forward-thinking regarding how technology can enhance their position.
Dell notes that companies who invest in technology enjoy up to 53 percent faster revenue growth than their competitors.
When you consider the importance of scale, speed and delivery to businesses, it is no surprise that 77 percent of businesses feel cloud technology gives them a competitive advantage [Verizon].
If someone asks me what cloud computing is, I try not to get bogged down with definitions. I tell them that, simply put, cloud computing is a better way to run your business - Marc Benioff, Salesforce
Make no mistake, this is not industry specific, there are digital transformation examples from all different walks.
Whether they be Amazon or Deliveroo, business across the word and chasing the promises that technology offers.
Businesses cannot stand still, they are at constant horns with the future, and need a digital transformation strategy to accommodate.
As can be seen from this study, ‘enabling innovation’ is a priority for organisations of all sizes.
We’ll discuss this from an architecture perspective later, but in essence, the cloud offers any business the opportunity to efficiently scale, through cost-efficient tests.
This means that rather than rely on large risks paying off, you can make data-led decisions.
Which, from a business perspective, is exactly where you want to be.
Equally, it forces IT to focus on innovation rather than maintenance. In such scenarios, the value of a technology partner is presented, and is worth considering.
4. It Suits any Business Infrastructure
There is a big fear that certain technologies only benefit the few. In contrast, one of the main cloud advantages is its ability to transcend any business infrastructure.
As the second line item shows, the basic need of obtaining necessary features is just far easier in the cloud.
Now granted, there will be certain elements that organisations wish to remain on-premises, but there is never a scenario where none of the environment would benefit from moving to the cloud.
More importantly, if you apply the benefits of cloud computing to business related functions, you can see find that there are resources and routes that could never previously be considered.
This argument is especially critical for the technology wary CEO.
5. It Provides real Business Results
Following on from the matter of business focused architecture, we have the actual means of creating real business results with the help of the cloud.
This factor is a real game-changer, and it enables the business to not only see its value, but it encourages the business case for further work.
As such, when people ask:
What is the main benefit of using cloud computing?
This is it.
As an example, you can look to the property asset management of Telereal Trillium, who were able to make improvements to key components of the firms forecasting engine.
The engine is used to forecast multi-year budgets based on numerous complex business scenarios. The forecasting models were built on legacy technologies and as a result the business process had become inefficient in executing long term forecasts.
With that said, now with the cloud, they can rapidly expand their forecasts, and use the data to create real business value.
In scenarios, this not only covers the costs, but generates incomparable ROI.
6. Facilitate Mergers, Divestitures and Acquisitions [M, D & A]
For larger organisations, the excitement of a merger or acquisition is later undermined by the complex and detail of combining two infrastructures.
Whereby, there is usually a rough two-way Active Directory forest trust and then a long pause.
These environments co-existing in separate arenas, each carefully accessing each other’s resources. Such that these states of limbo exist for weeks, in some cases, years.
However, with the cloud, you have tools such as Microsoft 365. This offers the flexibility to keep on-premises infrastructure separate in a merger, while integrating both halves of the business into the same cloud services.
When you consider the work that would otherwise need to be done in the event both environments where on-premises, you can see that a great deal of the heartache is removed.
Thus, allowing native access to each other’s resources and services.
But the benefits don’t stop there:
Like many areas of cloud computing, once you have created the formulas and cookie-cutter patterns & processes, you are easily able to replicate them for future use of on-boarding of new business entities.
In the event of divestment, you are afforded the ease of knowing that the cloud will enable a suitably controlled distributed workforce.
Cloud adoption lead to 20.66% improvements in time to market.
As such, when you consider the past 15 years, we are very much pointed in the direction of one thing: speed.
Speed with be the difference between success and failure.
Mark Zuckerberg continues to press that Facebook must get it to market, then they will improve. They use speed as a key barometer of their technological and personnel capabilities.
For all companies, they must focus on taking an idea, process, application or model and get it to market as soon as possible.
Once this has happened, you can gather user data and begin to start aligning yourself to user demands. But until then, you must be working at a rate of knots to get to market.
From a practical perspective, teams are frequently unable to do so due to one of the following restraints:
- Opportunity cost
- Technical impracticality
When you start to dive into these further, you see that the technology can really be the route to moving past these points.
Once you have implemented the cloud, you can give users the necessary access to move beyond the bureaucracy. In addition, with time saved on automated tasks, businesses are able to have more focused technical resources, which reduces the technical impracticality.
Lastly, with the ability to scale and burst at will, you are no longer enslaved to on-premises full time costs.
8. Environmentally Friendly [PR]
Lastly, the business will have a far more environmentally conscious estate when using the cloud.
While this may not be the most economically driven cloud computing advantage, it is definitely a beneficial one for organisations that are looking to manage their public presence.
Through using a cloud provider like Microsoft or Amazon, they are incredibly conscious of their impact, and give you the frame of mind to continue.
In addition, businesses using cloud computing only use the server space they need, which decreases their carbon footprint.
Proof in case:
Using the cloud results in at least 30% less energy consumption and carbon emissions than using on-site servers.
Now we move onto those who will invariably feel the biggest day-to-day impacts of cloud computing - the users.
9. Easy Access to Information
For a company to succeed, there needs to be a reduction in the unnecessary obstacles to productivity.
At the end of the day, most staff just want to be efficient and do their jobs.
However, there are frequently walls put in place that while they may seem helpful, have huge negative effects.
As you can see this email from Elon Musk to his staff, even the rapidly growing Tesla have such an issue →
You may remark that:
‘Information access doesn’t have that great an impact’.
In-fact it is a structural matter in how you think about the flow of data within your organisation.
Whereby, if you acknowledge that with the cloud you don’t need to personally monitor all communications, as it is always being stored in archives, you can start to remove shackles.
10. Increased Collaboration
Collaboration should not by reserved for a few, it should be a value for all.
When you consider the importance of your workforce, they should have the tools to collectively produce their best work – and collaboration is essential to that.
A team that can be distributed yet still working as one.
Firstly, this must be a cultural shift. The shift to remove barriers that the cubicle created.
Secondly, you have to implement the technology that makes this possible. Whereby you have state-of-the-art tools like the Microsoft Surface Hub.
These enable global teams to come together, using the power and security of cloud computing, to forge a better path.
However, this is not just for the sake of all coming together and singing kumbaya, there must be business impacts. This could be quicker product to market, or a higher quality of output.
With this in mind, a survey by Frost & Sullivan found that companies which invested in collaboration technology had a 400% return on investment.
11. Increased Communication
More than any other time in history, the ability and cost effectiveness of communication tools are at their optimum.
We have solutions like Microsoft [Teams] and Slack fighting for market share in what will prove to be the bedrock of future practices.
Why is this so important?
Well, with both platforms operating in the cloud, they are able to offer enterprise level encryption. In addition, they are also able to integrate with platforms like Azure Active Directory.
As such, these forms of communications make business more compliant than ever before, whilst removing staff from using personal services like WhatsApp.
In contexts of remote work, which we’ll discuss below, communications, especially light and convenient forms of it, enable a global distribution of staff.
12. Remote Work
There been a significant shift in recent years, whereby users view remote works as a key part to any job.
Unlike before when this was reserved for the experienced sales department. We are now in a position whereby people feel entitled to work wherever, and however they choose.
All they require is internet access and a device.
While this rhetoric has been spoken for a while, there has been a recent change in dynamics that actually makes the possible for employees of all businesses.
The developments in user-specific rights management has meant that the often-vulnerable personal Dropbox and personal cloud providers can be controlled through specific policies of IT departments.
Such developments have made the business case of a distributed workforce possible. It no longer creates vulnerability, and as such, the most confidential of data can be accessed globally, and from many devices while maintaining its integrity.
Whereby, with tools like Microsoft 365 Enterprise, organisations can use tried and tested rights management to ensure that staff act correctly while away.
In addition, this flexibility positively affects knowledge workers' work-life balance and productivity.
One study found that 42% of working adults would give up some of their salary if they could telecommute, and on average they would take a 6% pay-cut.
While business may not think this benefit of cloud computing is critical, it does however enable them to expand their hiring potential to a global basis. In addition, they can reduce the need to pay for over-priced office space.
13. Document Control
There was once a time when IT departments relied on users to maintain the security of the company’s data.
However, users shouldn’t be expected to not wonder into more sensitive parts of document management tools like SharePoint.
IT should be the master of this area.
Equally, there should be a consideration of the various ‘back and forth’ that exists with regards to teams, especially those in different locations.
Gone are the days that we rely on emailing a document back and forth, or worse, deploying personal clouds like Dropbox in order to satisfy their demands.
With this in mind, cloud computing benefits a workforce whereby clear regulations can be imposed, however with great functionality like version history, users will feel more empowered than ever before.
To be more concrete:
73% of knowledge workers collaborate with people in different time zones and regions at least monthly. Source
14. Cloud Adoption
Despite the common argument that millennials will naturally adopting cloud computing services – the rules applies to all.
Over the last 10 years personal devices have become reliant on cheap, functional, cloud-based system that make their lives that much simpler.
With this in mind, the adoption of these various platforms, whether that be IaaS, PaaS & SaaS, have been prolific within companies.
If you were to compare this to on-premises solutions, you often find that there are intricate traditional techniques that have to be passed on from person to person.
In reality, this just isn’t scalable and relies far too much on the user to be the owner.
15. Freeness to Adopt new Platforms
According to a study by Cloud Security Alliance, 79% of companies receive regular requests from end users to buy more cloud apps.
We see this trend continuing to grow.
More than just the wants of businesses to exploit the benefits of cloud computing, in reality, the users are very much pioneering this move forward.
More so, with tools like Trello and so one, there is great access to free cloud software that enable people to get their job done.
You see, with the cloud, users can freely test and compare various options without the lengthy approval process that is associated with on-premises solutions.
With that said, what you may find is that with certain applications dealing with very sensitive information, there may be a need for on-premises environments.
Now we move onto the IT function of an organisation. The beating heart of its processes and the goalkeeper of data.
- The last line of defence.
16. Easy to Move to the Cloud
When business functions approve the introduction and migration to cloud computing, IT can take a sigh of relief.
Don’t get us wrong, there is often a great deal of work to do, infrastructure alignment and so on.
In-fact some tout it as a disadvantage of cloud computing. However, the work needed to move existing workloads and so forth will only have to be moved to the cloud once.
Once there, IT departments can focus on other aspects, rather than the cyclical fears of renewing potentially million pounds of hardware.
Even more so, the most traditional of organisations are using cloud solutions in some format.
17. Aiding the Old and the New
There is a fallacy that the cloud only benefits newer organisations, those with no legacy infrastructure - such they can start anew.
However, the reality is far different.
There are great advantages for organisations of all sizes and heritages. If you break down the two:
Start-ups: cloud-first solutions
- Their lack of technical debt enables them to scale rapidly
- Deployments are cloud-only, with little or no links to on-premises legacy infrastructure
- SaaS or PaaS based apps is the universal norm
Established organisations: hybrid environment with on-premises commitments
- There is a continual assessment of on-premises systems against the cloud
- Layered legacy complexities across hardware, software and processes
- Slow deployments, often undertaken in segments
Both organisations consider the cloud to be a staple ingredient in how they currently/ will be conducting their future business practices.
18. Option of Hybrid Cloud
Should you confine organisational practices to on-premises only, you limit the opportunity to compare how different solutions respond in different environments.
With cloud computing, this is different.
Whereby, you can compare the performance of certain workloads in the cloud and on-premises, and make a suitable decision.
Whether it be through costs, structures, compliance or another reason, there are many organisations who see hybrid cloud as their best choice:
Through opening yourself up to the advantages of cloud computing, you enable the critical thinking of how different services can be benefitted over time.
19. Automatic Software Updates
You will find this theme amongst this chapter, but in general, the ability to focus on the right areas of IT is critical to a successful technology function.
No more so is this applicable than software updates – the bane of an IT manager.
Whereby, it is a poor use of resources in checking the suitability of software updates – they should just enable work to happen.
Equally, especially with SaaS options, there is willingness to adopt an iterative approach to products. Whereby continual tweaks can be made and assessed thereafter.
In the ‘masters of scale’ podcast by LinkedIn Co-Founder Reid Hoffman, he discusses the how Facebook view the subject of updates, to which Mark Zuckerberg describes that being ‘live’ is better than ‘perfect’.
Assuming one uses stable platforms like Microsoft Azure or AWS, you can make these solutions global at the tap of a finger, and then monitor results.
You see, Mark is far more concerned with how users interpret his products, rather than unproved theories of his staff.
This is no different from the specialised risk modellers at FTSE 100 organisations. Let them make the suggestions, and with great frameworks in the cloud, you can respond accordingly.
20. Built from the Latest Technology
In-line with the need to continually maintain software updates, the cloud, unlike other utilities is built from the latest technology.
In recent years there has been a move to evergreen software like Windows 10.
Whereby, with the cloud, you can be assured that data providers like Microsoft are continually throwing resources to ensure that the speed and security and their platforms is only getting better.
Were you to buy a datacentre, effectively, like a new car, once it has left the forecourt, it has been replaced by something superior.
And, like a car with a financing model, you will have to wait until the next buying cycle, 2-3 years, before you can consider upgrading.
From a competitive perspective, you are continually playing catch-up to companies who are using the latest tools. Even more compelling, in recent years, large providers have gone for building for cloud first, rather than the previous alternative.
Whereby they can efficiently proliferate changes.
21. It Grows With You
Whether a business is scaling or shrinking, the last thing it needs to fret over is whether it is responding to its data needs.
As much as you would hate to slow down services to meet capacity, you don’t want to be over-spending.
The cloud enables a scalable, minute-by-minute assessment of what is needed, with immediate response.
While some incorrectly see the cloud as a pure ‘lift and shift’ alternative – this is incorrect.
Scalability is helpful on many fronts. Whether it be internal or external applications; global services or staff access to common data – these all need to be handled with care.
With this all done in the cloud, IT is merely needed to track usage and spending patterns in order to predict future costs to share with the business.
They are not fearful of their actions limiting architecture teams.
22. It is Change-Ready
CIOs and IT directors rank ‘operational agility’ as a top driver for cloud adoption – Gartner.
While we had noted ‘agility’ as a factor with the business chapter, there is an equally compelling feeling from an IT directive.
Granted, the business value is huge, but the opportunity for CIOs to be able to implement the changes needed, and do so in a matter that don’t cause huge levels of disruption is monumental.
As an example, we recently undertook a detailed analysis of the potential impact of moving the workstations used by trade floor staff from a data centre in London, to another data centre further afield.
You see, those who are on-premises must thoroughly examine the possibility of making improvements to their practices. Were they in the cloud, this change could have been tested very easily, at a small scale, both in time and costs, then a logical decision could be made.
23. Global Speed of Data
One might think that having data centres in their offices enable their speed of data to be higher than those whereby their data centres aren’t local, or even the same country, but this isn’t the case.
The leading cloud providers have ensured that their investment has meant that they have enormous power in their datacentres. But more importantly, with globally distributed workforces and clients, you need to be able to serve people everywhere, and that is where the cloud has great powers.
Were you to have offices across the globe, you can be assured that you are within a fair distance of their platforms.
Equally, should one of their data centres fail, you are not pushing all workloads onto a reduced capable system. They merely re-allocate onto a different rack, or in some cases, a completely different building, whereby end users can continue to experience great service.
Again, the IT department doesn’t have the headache of being looped into a new location, and forced to find a suitable way of organising the data. Cloud solutions have this answered.
Or, should you still need on-premises data held elsewhere, the cloud can nicely integrate to form a suitable hybrid solution.
24. More Services are Relying on it
It is becoming almost impossible to deny the use of cloud computing within organisations. As such, it seems to be the logical trend going forward.
Whereby more and more organisations, more departments, and more users will become reliant on it.
As the graph shows, over a third [public sector] currently use two cloud based services, and this number is only going in one direction.
There will be certain hyped technologies that prove themselves to not be as influential as we once believed they would – the cloud seems to be far too ingrained to be one of these.
As such, for IT departments to start making bets as to where it wants to spend its time and resources, the cloud looks the bet to make. Whereby it enables many future bets to have a solid foundation.
25. Easier to Manage for your IT Staff
When you consider the helping hands that have been noted above, this all comes together to make the ‘managing’ if IT that much easier.
Or, as the graph below also shows, it reduces the pressure.
You will find that this advantage has some incredible knock-on effects, whereby staff are able to enjoy the right parts of their job, which in turn means they are more likely to commit to longer-term projects.
Some may therefore think that this newly found power of the IT departments means that they may be more susceptible to security risk from the inside, however tools like Microsoft 365 enterprise counteract this.
Whereby admin authority can be checked against a history log, meaning every key stroke can be monitored. Equally, you can provide temporary access, approve access or even consensus access.
This means that not only do you make it easier for IT to manage infrastructure and users, but you also make it easier for IT to manage the access to IT.
26. Unlimited Storage
Most business will experience seasonal changes. Granted some are more impactful than others – like retail.
But whether it be a fiscal year-end or another cause, the weight placed on infrastructure does vary.
However, it is no longer good enough to just guess your future needs, more so, because you don’t need to. Gone are the days of worrying about the possible effects on an unprecedented surge on your capabilities. The cloud has no end-point.
But here’s the kicker:
Despite the potential to rack up enormous, scaled costs. Transparent pricing and caps can avoid such situations.
As such, your product teams and users no longer need to call you in advance of a heavy workload. IT can work on the more valuable, business driven objectives.
27. Future-Proof [Focus on Innovation]
There has always been a dichotomy within IT departments as to balance the need of maintaining the current, while keeping one eye on the future.
Which, as you can expect, is a very difficult task.
However, were you to speak to CTOs, CIOs, CEOs – they would all tell you that they want their IT functions to focus on innovation – not maintenance.
They want them to start building roadmaps and carving out digital transformation strategies. Whereby, as the many examples of this prove, it can provide competitive advantage.
This can manifest itself in many different formats, whether than be the ability to take on new products, to creating new revenue streams.
This mind-shift is why the IT function must become even closer to the boardroom. They need to be working closely with marketing, sales, data and so on. They need to understand how they can provide value and become an enabler rather than a cause of friction.
This is where IT want to be.
They don’t want to be marginalised, stressed and in fear of being replaced. They want to work on great projects that have significant impacts.
Such is why the benefits of the cloud are so appreciated.
28. They can Push things Further
It becomes very difficult to inform an IT function that the great tools they have created can only go so far.
They will only get some of the features.
This moves beyond scalability - this comes down to whether the toolset that on-premises requires is good enough. And in many cases, it isn’t.
The cloud gives you the type of data and solutions that will take ordinary systems and push them to an entirely new level.
Not your usual example
A leading marketer recently wrote a list of the various tools that enable him to do his job, and one of those listed was Google Cloud Platform, not for the reason you might expect.
You see, he applied one his largest data sources, Google Analytics and plugs that into the cloud.
By doing so he can really squeeze all the juice, and compute far more data than would ever other be possible.
That’s a really game-changer to his workflow, and a real advantage of cloud computing.
29. ‘As a Service’ Opportunities
We have previously spoken about a rough introduction to ‘as a service’ opportunities, but it can be easy to forget about what a journey we have come through in recent years.
The three most popular, IaaS, PaaS & SaaS have really been the cornerstone with how users have interacted with the cloud, and the service they have come to expect.
And this cloud benefit has gone viral - it is hitting all parts of the technology world, including:
Whereby all these essential functions have now been productised in a way that makes them incredibly consumable and easy for business to deploy.
And there are many benefits of doing such, whether that be for the way in which you can pay, to the ease at which it can be applied to users.
Once in the cloud, you can consider these at their own merit.
Why are these on advantageous in the cloud?
Well, there is no reason that a private datacentre consumer cannot let users interact with these services, but they do become far less limited.
Once you are in the cloud, you can easily plugin into the data via APIs, and easily collate things together, rather than viewing things in silos.
But equally, once in the cloud, you can nicely fit many of these products into your Azure Active Directory, and in doing so apply rights management and single sign-in.
This means that the data and work done goes under the control of the organisation, while still letting staff use the tools they require.
30. Reduced Admin [Self-Service IT]
In conjunction with helping of both the user and the IT staff, we have the matter of self-service IT.
This includes activities like:
- Password resets
- Access to software
- Changing personal details
These activities are dealt with by IT, whereby a series of unnecessary steps are taken to amend something which could in-fact be approved by a line manager, or even just done by the user.
At RedPixie, we have such a product, named uDezk. For more details see here →
The main value of this form of IT is that internal support is reserved for more important matters.
Equally, you no longer slowdown – or in some cases stop the work of professionals who are a great cost to the business.
The saved opportunity cost is worth its weight.
Were a business not in the cloud, there is really a far less likely feasibility of doing so whilst maintaining the security aspect of such.
31. Identity Management
Having enabled users to do so much, now you get onto the topic of ensuring that they can do so in a globally secure manner.
This should cover a variety of different areas:
Starting off with devices, a company must create a situation whereby users can use personal or company devices without reducing their productivity.
Whether they be management or any user, you should be able to deploy products like Microsoft Intune, and understand exactly what devices are used to log in.
Many companies may fear that if their servers are in contact with a device that is in an obscure location, that it may in some form be cautious.
This doesn’t not need to be your consideration when in the cloud. Whether people like to check in while they are on holiday or so forth – as long as they pass certain security protocols, you are fine.
Fortunately, cloud providers like Microsoft are continually using machine learning to better understand what activity looks suspicious, and what is run of the mill.
Then they can they send you that data, or act accordingly.
You see, as a CEO of a large organisation, they may require access to every document, no matter device or location, but this may not be the case for all members of staff.
This cloud advantage helps to show the granularity to which you can easily say that: these hierarchy of users, from these teams, can see this information, on these devices.
32. Active Directory
Lastly from an IT perspective, you have the matter which makes all the identity management and user specific tools happen.
[Azure] active directory.
With a good AD, you can have a live record of your users, their details, and more importantly a means of implementing changes for them.
Granted, you can attempt to mirror this type of data in an on-premises environment, however, when in the cloud, you can easily link all your services together, introducing features like single-sign.
Moving onto chapter 4, we now discuss the benefits and advantages of cloud computing from an architectural perspective.
Whereby, if you look at the various infrastructure architects at [larger] organisations, their reliance on great technologies is incredibly impactful to many other business segments.
As such, it’s important to consider how the cloud enables them, and what they can achieve with such tools at their disposal.
33. Application Architecture
Whether you be re-configuring existing applications, or building out new ones, there are vast benefits to baking in the cloud.
Amongst others, three of the core impacts are:
- The drive for stateless components
- Business logic and data are housed in appropriate locations
- Application services are scaled at will
From an architect’s perspective, there is immense value in putting applications on a base which enables them to tweak and add features thereafter.
When organisations look where they may start their cloud migration process, this is a suitable place to start.
Whereby, they can focus on a few cases that can provide great user outcomes, while not fearing the disastrous effects on people. Equally, should it be a client facing resource, you are able to turn it in on in certain regions and test the impacts, and pit the two against each other.
34. More Reliable Applications
In addition to the matter or just moving the application, you can also enjoy the reliability, both in the process of building in the future, but also for the future use.
As is a basic advantage of cloud computing, the ability for one datacentre to communicate with others, so that should one drop-off, your data, applications and processes aren’t disrupted.
Going back the matter of innovation, rather than maintaining, once you feel confident on the process of applications in the cloud, the patterns created are incredibly replicable for future activities.
This not only frees up more time, but encourages architects to be willing to create and evolve, rather than fearing the outdated bureaucracies in just testing something.
We recently completed a piece of work whereby the on-premises system had been built by many people over several years and comprises traditional Windows Servers, Excel, SharePoint, Web Servers, SQL clusters and WCF code.
Whereby the architecture was responsible for millions of calculations.
So, we were tasked to build an equivalent cloud solution [Azure]. This needed to ensure that all numbers fully reconciled and that both the cloud infrastructure and our code were rock solid.
There is always a fear that the introduction of technologies [in the case cloud computing,] leads to a huge learning curve.
This often discourages companies from progressing forward with it.
However, the cloud provides a sharp alternative. The ability to deploy becomes a much easier for architects.
Equally, when scaling the team, the transfer of process is far more unified, avoiding the common issue of a select group of individuals who hold the historic keys.
Example: the Microsoft Azure portal has clear documentation, so that those coming from different technical backgrounds can start experimenting.
Should you be a large organisation, you may find that certain teams have already deployed cloud computing for small scale projects. In doing so, they will have already picked a provider [either AWS or Azure].
This means you don’t need to spend time deciding on the perfect provider.
Whereby you will happy to know that both Amazon and Microsoft, along with a plethora of other providers, provide great integration between platforms.
Therefore, you can choose to conduct a risk modelling platforms on Azure, while you may choose to migrate cold data to AWS, and the two can communicate should they need to.
As such, with certain guidelines, teams can select the most appropriate platforms for their requirements, enabling them to go after business outcomes, rather than walking around the core solution in order to stay in the box of one provider.
Should you be looking to compare the two biggest cloud providers, you might want to check out this thorough guide →
37. LoB Applications
As discussed line of Business applications provide a great measurement of the power and contextual use of cloud computing.
Here is a relevant case study that any enterprise might be faced with:
A global insurance firm were looking to provide increased resiliency for many LoB applications using cloud services. As such a proof of concept was used to achieve business buy-in.
This process involved hosting an application in both Microsoft Azure and Amazon AWS using PaaS where possible, with the aim of proving that the vendors Cloud technologies could match or outperform the existing on-premises solution.
If you look at the average day of your data architect, you will notice the limited time they have at their disposal.
As such, automation, and the means of creating Infrastructure as Code [IaC], is a necessity. More so for enterprise, whereby large-scale cloud projects require significant management.
This covers many aspects, including:
- Post-deployment scripts
- Service start-up and shutdown [based on a tagging framework]
IaC, a cloud first principle also covers the best enforcement of policy (naming conventions, tags, etc.), auto-scaling virtual machine size, auto-scaling service size (SQL as a service for example), reporting orphaned resources and more.
39. AWS vs Azure Features
When you are in the cloud, you have the advantage of being able to compare serious players in AWS vs Azure.
But unlike your on-premises environment, you will continually have access to business outcome driven projects.
Whether you choose to use either of these providers or not, the cloud means that you always have the option of migrating from one to another without the fear of how the infrastructure investment effects a 3-year-old ROI scheme.
With the cloud, you can continue to measure of the benefits, and more importantly, the suitability of different providers and assess your options.
Despite data science’s media attention, it is the knock-on events that are more interesting. For example, take the widespread use of IoT.
This practice has taken off the tandem of two events: the cost efficiency of devices and the ease at which data can be processed.
The later very much related to cloud computing.
With these tools together, RedPixie have built out an IoT model for the health industry.
However, while this was technically possible before, you now have all the tools available with a single cloud provider. This makes the process smoother, and you can be assured of using tried and tested methods.
With the cloud, you can move away from fearing the possible obstacles that are associated with legacy hardware, and begin to embrace possible digital transformation strategies.
41. Ease of Building Applications
As you have seen, the cloud has become a great base to which applications and operations can be built on demand.
As this graph shows, there are a variety of DevOps tools that have expanded their popularity and importance within organisations.
Whether they be Puppet or Chef, we are finding that architects are embracing a new form of openness and willingness to adapt.
Without the cloud, on-premises environments required the hiring of specific staff, to best mirror their current practices.
Now you’re able to cast a much bigger net, and be fortunate to take the benefits of cloud computing as part and parcel of your success.
As we move onto the 5th chapter, finance, we can see how advantageous cloud computing is for yet another figurehead within the business – the CFO.
Often left as an afterthought, the finance backing of an organisation is essential, not purely for approving costs.
42. Reduce Spending on Technology
Well… maybe not reduce spending. But better prioritising spending.
What does that mean?
Well, as a CFO, they want to ensure that every line item matter, every cost is somehow quantified, and that there is value to expenditure – specifically that of a technological nature.
This advantage re-engineers spending into ROI. Which, as this graph shows, is very much on a positive trend:
Well, businesses are seeing IT as a source of growth, whereby results are being as transparent as ever.
To be more specific, the public cloud is replacing traditional data centres. Equally, as per advantage No. 18 - hybrid cloud is also taking a stronghold.
While some may remark that a disadvantage of cloud computing is the associated increase in costs. In fact, organisations will just be spending more money on the right things.
43. Monetising Data
For many organisations, they have been, whether for compliance or choice, collecting vast sums of data over the past 10 years.
To what sum?
Now with the benefit of cloud computing, organisations can start to monetise that data, understand trends, draw conclusions and create new assets.
As an example:
Within the financial sector, they could build new risk modelling engines, which creates more client value, and as such, builds a competitive advantage.
Cloud computing ensures that enterprises can put vast sums of data into a solution like Microsoft Azure and let their years of experience take hold.
You don’t have to re-skill, re-locate or re-access the resources of your internal teams, the cloud will help take all of that.
44. Cap-Ex Reduced
Whether you be choosing between AWS vs Azure - all cloud providers are very much focused on providing a pay-as-you-go service.
More than just a monthly overview, they are providing contextual minute-by-minute pricing structures. As such, business have minimal project start-up costs and predictable ongoing operating expenses.
We have seen this benefit organisations whose modelling and data-lead teams are able to quickly spin off a server to see their work at scale.
Enterprises are paying in the range of 40 percent for over-capacity. Source
45. Planned Costs
Lastly, finance can plan costs with the help of the cloud.
With the cloud, you have the benefit of accessing TCOs, forecasting costs associated with moving current requirements to the cloud, and what that will look like in 12 months’ time.
This understanding in tandem with a lack of upfront investment means that businesses can allocate budgets elsewhere and bring the benefits to many sectors across the business.
For example: SunnyDelight could increase profits by $2 million a year and cut $195,000 in staffing costs through cloud-based business insights.
Finally, we move onto our last chapter, security.
Cloud security is often talked about, not always in the best light, whereby significant data breaches are often [unfairly] unloaded on the cloud.
As such, we’ll dive into this matter in more detail:
‘Security is a process. Not a product.’ – Bruce Schneier
The matter of data security is a difficult subject because there tends to be a see-saw approach whereby you are either secure or otherwise.
However, it should be continually reviewed and never taken from granted.
More so, cloud providers are under pressure to provide far greater security solutions than those on private servers, in order to break down the mental barrier.
And - it has.
Cloud providers have made sure that products like Microsoft Azure have really become [almost] impenetrable business tools. In addition, the level of capital investment that goes into their process means that no private solution is as compelling from this perspective.
With that said, there is no need to reconsider everything. One of the most compelling advantages of cloud computing, specifically larger organisations, is that a hybrid approach can enable them to move select data, and once comfortable, build a roadmap.
Cybercrime damage costs to hit $6 trillion annually by 2021. Source
If you look at this from a practical perspective, Rapidscale claim that 94 percent of business saw an improvement in security after switching to the cloud.
A Cloud Security Alliance report noted that 73% of companies cite ‘the security of data’ as their top concern for holding back cloud projects.
This disadvantage of cloud computing has a strong standing in how it was perceived 10 years ago, and some of that has not dropped away.
The truth is that beyond the various advantages of cloud computing, companies don’t have to view this as an ‘all or nothing’ scenario. In-fact they are able to keep highly secure, industry compliant data with traditional on-premises data centres, and deploy the cloud elsewhere.
Whereby, we acknowledge that there are certain industries, like finance, whose governing arm tends to advise organisations against the use of cloud solutions.
And when it comes to the case of more recent events like GDPR, organisations will have to create a secure architecture that solves for long-term data regulations.
This will very much involve the value in Microsoft, and Amazon’s promise of 99.99% uptime.
48. Data Backups
Following on from the balance of on-premises and cloud-based, we have matter of backups.
Should you choose to do so, this offers the ability to have constant data backups, in multi-regions across the globe.
Beyond the general benefit of not losing data, the cloud enables such redundancy to be done in a manner that is seamless from a user's perspective. In doing so, they are able to continue to work, and serve clients.
Should you be using an on-premises solution, you may wish to replicate your datacentres, or use the Azure Cloud Stack so that you have the opportunity to quickly access a replacement, and not cause any security scares.
Equally, many cases of large scale data breaches are only understood months after the infiltration takes place.
Should you have daily/ hour redundancies in place, whereby they are stored as cold data, you are able to go through versions of your data, understand the various gaps, and access non-modified data.
49. Manage Shadow IT
When it comes to vast solutions, locations & devices of staff – you need to bring a security solution that creates order.
This issue has become more prevalent in recent years, with Shadow IT becoming a concern, especially in industries whereby the data in use could add enormous value to competitors, such as recruitment.
With the cloud, there are tools so that you are able to see who and where people are accessing your networks, equally, you can work to solve the gaps that users feel they need in order to do their job.
As such, you can respond accordingly.
In addition, you will often find that companies in the cloud tend to take fairly open approaches with regards to Shadow IT. Whereby, they will allow users to access software that is fairly low-level, and doesn’t involve the loss of current data.
However, should a new CRM or so forth be created – they will be consulted and review accordingly.
50. Disaster Recovery
Lastly, Disaster recovery seems to be one of the most overlooked advantages of cloud computing.
Maybe because these events happen less frequently than the very popular phising attempts. Nevertheless, when you elect to trust in the cloud, your approach to considering all elements of your disaster recovery plan change.
Cloud computing providers take care of most issues, and they do it faster.
Make no mistake, there will always be human related incidents, such as the AWS coding error, but global backups mitigate against the risk of cloud computing.
75% of all downtime is reported to be due to a power outage. Hardware and human errors round up the top three. Source
Summary: all the Cloud Computing Advantages you could need
So, there you go, there are 50, very compelling benefits of cloud computing.
If you were wondering what we think are the most important:
Top advantages of cloud computing
- Competitive Advantage
- Freeness to Adopt New Platforms
- You can Push Things Further
- Ease of Building Applications
- Monetising Data
- Manage Shadow IT
Now – what’s next?
Good question. While all factors are beneficial, you will find that prioritising your staged approach is best. Even more so, not all the elements will be as helpful to your industry, so you have the opportunity to undertake an audit.
As such, you may come to the conclusion that that a hybrid model is more suitable to your organisation.
Nevertheless, we hope that in discussing these with your colleagues, and possibly different teams, you can collectively create a more suitable structure.
Let us know which of these advantages of cloud computing was the most interesting. Should you wish to learn more, download this hybrid cloud jumpstart guide.