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What are the benefits of cloud computing?

Less than a decade ago, many people were asking, “What is cloud computing?” Although it existed in a more basic form before the 2010s, cloud computing took off in that 10 years. Now, as it’s more available, businesses aren’t asking what it is. Instead, they’re asking which cloud computing provider is the best.

If you’re still in the dark about cloud computing, it’s a pay-as-you-go service that delivers a vast array of computing capabilities without having to set up a dedicated server. There are cloud computing providers that provide hundreds of services within various categories like security, developer tools, and data analytics, just to name a few. There’s a good chance you’ve already used cloud computing in your day-to-day business or personal lives. If you’ve utilized free online services of Google Docs, Dropbox, or Apple iCloud storage, you’ve used cloud computing.

With the many benefits of cloud computing, it’s no wonder why companies are moving to the cloud. Choosing which provider is best for your business will depend on its specific needs. There are three main models of cloud computing, IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), Paas (Platform as a Service), and SaaS (Software as a Service). Some providers provide all three, while others specialize in certain areas. The difference between the three is which computing features the cloud provider manages and which ones are managed by your company. Below is a list of feature categories provided by cloud providers.

Operating Systems
Data Centers

Cloud computing providers that specialize in SaaS typically offer all of the above service features. PaaS usually only provide everything except applications since they’re geared towards helping companies create apps. While IaaS providers generally only offer the fundamental network, computing, and data storage services.

If you’re still on the fence about using cloud computing technology, here are some benefits to consider.

Big cost savings

Although deciding to go with cloud computing means you’ll be paying for the service essentially for the life of your business, it still saves most companies a lot of money in the long run. By utilizing a cloud computing service, you won’t have the enormous upfront cost of setting up your own server for your business. On the same note, there is no cost for server maintenance or hiring an IT professional to solve any problems that may arise. You can also use the software and other applications included in the cloud computing services, saving you from spending money on multiple different software programs essential to running your business.

Ability to scale

The next significant benefit to cloud computing is its ability to allow businesses to scale their computing power up or down with virtually zero downtime. Cloud computing providers provide different fees depending on the level of use your company requires. Typically, there are subscription options from small business, to mid-sized, to enterprise levels. Changing your processing and network power quickly is crucial for digital companies to reach a wider audience. Also, if you end up not needing as much computing power, you can always scale down.

men working on servers

Security, recovery, and backup

Though some companies are hesitant to entrust all their vital information with a third-party cloud service, they are almost always the more secure option. Cloud computing providers have teams of people dedicated to keeping their clients’ data secure by performing regular audits, frequently testing and improving encryption codes, and providing off-site backup. Business owners can choose to bump up security even further by implementing role-based access control so that employees can only log into the cloud’s features that are relevant to their scope of work. Like the security teams, there are also recovery and support teams to help in moments of crisis.

Flexibility, mobility, and collaboration

In this digital age, companies must be agile and be able to make quick changes to how they serve their customers. This could mean making sweeping changes to their entire IT infrastructure. Cloud computing services have the capabilities to assist companies in making these essential changes.

Also, many companies are now giving their employees the option to work remotely full-time, part-time, or some hybrid model. If this is something you’d like your company to offer, cloud computing is a must. Through the cloud, leadership can oversee teams remotely and manage workflows. Employees can access group project work more efficiently and provide their input more quickly.

Analytics and customer experience

Most cloud computing providers allow business leaders to create customized reports based on sales, accounting, and a wide range of other financial data points. These reports can show real-time changes, allowing decision-makers to act quickly to adjust their business strategy.

Outside of financial reporting, cloud computing can also provide critical consumer insights about what, when, how, and why they make their buying decisions. These insights are precious to product development, marketing, and UX (user experience) teams to work to provide the best customer experience to every customer.

woman next to servers

Reduced carbon footprint

Cloud computing is not only beneficial to your business, but it also helps the environment. Network servers use up a lot of energy and need to be kept cool. These are two actions that contribute to the production of greenhouse gases. By using cloud computing, you’re adding one less server to the mix and helping the environment at no extra cost.

Final thoughts

Cloud computing has many upsides with little to no downsides. However, it’s important to understand the specific needs of your business before choosing a provider. Your company might only need IaaS or PaaS cloud solutions. Or, it might benefit from a more comprehensive SaaS provider. Regardless, you’ll be pleased with the convenience of moving to the cloud.

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Steven Johnson is a chef-turned-content strategist. He now helps companies attract and retain more customers through content…
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