Beyond Security: The Many Business Benefits of the Cloud / Technology / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

When properly utilized, the cloud provides businesses with many benefits beyond increased data security. Learn more inside.

According to a recent survey on cloud providers, enterprises (defined in the survey as companies with 100 employees or more) consider security as the primary benefit of the cloud over any other advantage.

This isn’t much of a surprise, the cloud does provide its users with a relatively high degree of security, as most cloud service providers have a number of security features (stringent access controls including keycards and biometric scanning, 24/7 video surveillance, world-class encryption and other cybersecurity practices) that your business likely doesn’t have.

That’s not the only business benefit of the cloud, though, far from it.

Related Article: 6 Industries that Could Benefit from the Cloud 

Of the 300 enterprises questioned in the survey, security was considered most valuable with 22 percent of enterprises reporting it as the primary benefit, and it was followed by increased efficiency (15 percent), data space (12 percent), speed (9 percent) and scalability (also 9 percent).

But how, exactly, does the cloud increase efficiency? How does it provide more speed and scalability?

Allow us to explain: 

The Ability to Access Information Remotely Immediately and Immensely Improves Efficiency

Delays are a normal part of the workday. When employees only have from nine-to-five to get done what they need to get done, there just isn’t enough time to always meet so-called deadlines.

Projects are going to be pushed back, assignments skipped over… it’s an inherently inefficient system.

The cloud provides a much more efficient way of doing things, because with the cloud employees can access business data from anywhere at any time using their personal laptop, tablet or smartphone.

Employees are no longer tethered to their desks, they can easily share files and collaborate with their co-workers from their home, a hotel lobby, Starbucks, McDonalds, Burger King, or anywhere else with an Internet connection.

There’s a direct relationship between availability and efficiency. The cloud allows 24/7 availability, so when employees are out of town at a conference, they can still complete the majority of their usual day-to-day activities.

At home, employees can put the last minute touches on a project or presentation due the next day if need be.

This extra efficiency means employees get work done faster, which in turn means that you’ll have a much easier time meeting your revenue goals. More revenue is generally seen as a big benefit in the business world.

Related Article: Study Shows Small Businesses Are Doubling Profits by Switching to Cloud Computing

Speed, Space and Scalability

Also, accessing a top-of-the-line data center means that in addition to improved security and efficiency, you’ll benefit from improved performance as well.

For a cloud company, dealing with data is all they do. The life of their business is dependent on the quality of their data centers.

As such, cloud companies go through great pains to have the most powerful, most reliable equipment possible.

So by using the cloud, you’ll be accessing equipment that’s far better than anything you could afford on your own.

Then there’s the fact that access to the public cloud gives you basically instant access to an unlimited amount of data space.

Whenever you need to scale up, you can do without the hassle of ordering and installing new equipment.

Also, you can easily scale down to save money when you don’t need as much space, that’s a lot harder to do with on-site equipment.

The Savings

It’s impossible to ignore the role that money plays in the decision of companies moving to the cloud, or any business decision at all, really, and indeed, in addition to the reasons we’ve listed above, the savings to be had by switching to the cloud are a significant migration motivator.

The cloud will save your company money in the following four ways:

Hardware savings:

IT equipment can be quite expensive, especially when you’re dealing with enough to support 100+ employees.

It’s much more affordable to rent access to a cloud provider’s data center than it is to own and manage your own servers.

Software savings:

Just as it’s more expensive to own equipment than it is to rent it, it’s more expensive to buy software licenses than it is to rent that software.

Cloud-based software solutions such as Office 365 allow you to pay for access to software in small installments, which is much easier to manage financially.

Better backup:

Losing data to a power outage, malware attack, fire, flood, or some other incident can really cost you, who knows who many payroll hours it’ll take to make up for all the hard-earned information lost?

Onsite backups won’t protect you from physical damage to office equipment.

Storing backups offsite on the cloud means that no matter what happens to your office, backups of the files you need to conduct business are faraway where it’s safe. 

Realted Article: What's Your Disaster Recovery Plan?

Lowering labor costs:

The cloud can be used to connect your office to a managed service provider (MSP), which can remotely do just about everything in-house IT staff does.

Having IT talent as part of your on-site team is expensive, the average CIO makes $150,000/year, and even low-level IT workers make an average of $50,000/year.

It’s much more affordable to rent IT talent by using an MSP rather than hiring and managing more employees yourself. 

Savings, speed, scalability, increased efficiency, even when you don’t consider security; it’s easy to see why so many companies are ditching legacy services in favor of the cloud.

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