Despite how popular cloud solutions have become, it’s hard to say that the cloud needs no introductions. Many users engage with cloud solutions daily without really understanding what it is, or how cloud computing works. Which is a shame, because once you look past the technical jargon, the idea of the concept isn’t really that complicated. A lot of things are made possible by the cloud, from Google Drive, all the way to specific cloud solutions for accountants.
It all comes down to how the overall increase in internet speeds changed the way we engaged with hardware. Before, if you wanted to store 500 gigabytes of data and have it readily available, the best solution was to have a 500-gigabyte hard drive in your home/office. You couldn’t keep that hard drive elsewhere and download data as needed because low internet speeds made that impractical.
Now that downloads are much faster and connections are much more stable, it’s suddenly practical to let a big company like Amazon or Google store your data in their enormous data centers and download that data as it becomes necessary. That’s the basis of cloud storage. Cloud computing is similar, but instead of letting Google own hard drives so you don’t have to, cloud computing is about letting Google own software and processing power instead of you. The entire Google suite is composed of cloud computing solutions, from Gmail to Google Docs.
Now that you (hopefully) understand what the cloud is, here are the benefits of using cloud solutions for your business operations.
1 – Save money
There are many reasons why cloud solutions are often cheaper than the alternatives. First, the cloud saves you the cost of investing in high-end hardware, since you can just tap into already existing processing power and sever networks. You can think of the cloud as using public roads so you don’t have to build your own.
Second, since you don’t own the hardware, you’re not wasting potential profit by not using the full capabilities of the expensive hardware you just invested in. Let the cloud engineers worry about how they can make the most money out of their hardware.
And third, cloud solutions will spare you the cost of maintaining your own hardware. You will likely still want an IT professional to help optimize your team’s use of the cloud’s many solutions, but you won’t need a full IT department to do that. You can just hire outside help as it becomes necessary.
As cloud solutions become more and more crucial for the integrity of the web as a whole, you can also feel safe in knowing that your business is using the same tools that some Fortune 500 companies use. So as their companies work to make sure the tools in question are safe, cheap, and reliable, you’ll also reap the benefits.
2 – Scalable resources
The power to scale computing power up and down in accordance with your needs is one of the biggest benefits of cloud solutions. It’s the difference between being connected to the power grid and owning your own reactor.
Let’s use a simple problem as an example: website hosting. If you want your site to always be online and stable, then the servers hosting the site have to be able to withstand peaks in traffic. This means you’ll need to predict how high your website might peak — which in itself is a complicated issue — and have a hosting server that is powerful enough to handle those peaks.
If you were going to buy the servers yourself, being able to handle even the strongest peaks would mean you would have to overspend on serves whose capacity would go unused most of the time. Because peaks only happen a few times a year, and usually only last a few hours. To top it all off, your server might be able to handle expected peaks, but if a marketing campaign suddenly went viral, your site might still go down under the traffic increase.
Meanwhile, the major cloud servers are so big that — as far as regular consumers are concerned — they might as well have infinite computing power. On top of that, those servers are ready to allocate more or fewer resources to your task as needed. So in the case mentioned above, of a campaign going viral, a website hosted in a cloud server wouldn’t go down. The cloud would just allocate more resources to it, and at worst you’d get a bigger bill than usual at the end of the month.
3 – Increased security
While the past few years have proved that no company is too big to suffer a data breach, cloud solutions are still generally safer than implementing local solutions. Cloud providers also have to comply with all sorts of regulations regarding user data safety.
And, as mentioned above, all types of major companies and governments have started relying on major cloud services. And those companies have teams of lawyers and IT professionals watching those service providers very closely to make sure they behave and adopt proper security measures. This is not a reason to blindly trust major cloud service providers, but it can give you some peace of mind.
4 – Fast performance
Cloud servers are capable of processing requests very fast, and they are often incentivized to do just that, as working faster reduces costs and frees up resources to handle other requests. The result is that complicated searches and computational requests that a personal computer would take minutes to fulfill can be handled in milliseconds by AWS.
On top of that, those systems are also reliable. You don’t have to wonder if outdated drivers, the presence of bloatware, or browsers hogging up ram are slowing down your requests when you are working with the cloud. Your computer is just the access point — all the tough computing is happening out of your system, in servers that are always well maintained and optimized.
5 – Easier to manage
Hardware and software don’t just need to be acquired and installed. It has to be maintained after that. Computer parts are also vulnerable to the effects of time, weather, and are prone to malfunction. Software needs to be kept updated to stay safe and bug-free. All of that costs time and money if done locally, and having to wait while your computer downloads a major update can slow down productivity on an important day. The cloud can reduce or eliminate all those issues.
As far as hardware goes, cloud servers are built on many layers of redundancy, which allows part of the cloud to be damaged or shut down for repairs without greatly affecting the overall integrity of the cloud. And without damaging customer data.
Meanwhile, cloud software solutions can be updated directly on the server, with no need for new downloads and installations one each accessing computer, which saves time and prevents headaches.
6 – Access it from everywhere
The biggest benefit of the cloud may be in how it enables remote access. In many cases, cloud solutions make all your company’s software and files accessible from any computer and cellphone in the world. All you need is internet access and a password.
As more people seek the freedom of remote work to avoid commuting and reduce unnecessary costs, cloud solutions become ever more appealing.