Benefits of Cloud Computing

Cloud computing offers your business many benefits. It allows you to set up what is essentially a virtual office to give you the flexibility of connecting to your business anywhere, any time. With the growing number of web-enabled devices used in today's business environment (e.g. smartphones, tablets), access to your data is even easier. There are many benefits to moving your business to the cloud:

Flexibility: The second a company needs more bandwidth than usual, a cloud-based service can instantly meet the demand because of the vast capacity of the service’s remote servers. In fact, this flexibility is so crucial 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.

Scalability: Your business can scale up or scale down your operation and storage needs quickly to suit your situation, allowing flexibility as your needs change. Rather than purchasing and installing expensive upgrades yourself, your cloud computer service provider can handle this for you. Using the cloud frees up your time so you can get on with running your business.

Better use of resources: On the other side of the “business agility” model, more efficient projects and less operational issues allow your employees to spend their time on other more useful activities that may offer a greater potential value to your business. This benefit is different for every organization and harder to quantify, but people are an organizations biggest asset and this allows you to better utilize this asset.

Disaster recovery: When companies start relying on cloud-based services, they no longer need complex disaster recovery plans. Cloud computing providers take care of most issues, and they do it faster. Aberdeen Group found that businesses which used the cloud were able to resolve issues in an average of 2.1 hours, nearly four times faster than businesses that didn’t use the cloud (8 hours). The same study found that mid-sized businesses had the best recovery times of all, taking almost half the time of larger companies to recover.

Security: Some 800,000 laptops are lost each year in airports alone. This can have some serious monetary implications, but when everything is stored in the cloud, data can still be accessed no matter what happens to a machine.

Automatic software updates: In 2010, UK companies spent 18 working days per month managing on-site security alone. But cloud computing suppliers do the server maintenance – including security updates themselves, freeing up their customers’ time and resources for other tasks.

Work from anywhere: As long as employees have internet access, they can work from anywhere. This flexibility positively affects knowledge workers' work-life blanace 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% paycut.

Cap-Ex Free: Cloud computing services are typically pay as you go, so there’s no need for capital expenditure at all. And because cloud computing is much faster to deploy, businesses have minimal project start-up costs and predictable ongoing operating expenses.

Increased collaboration: Cloud computing increases collaboration by allowing all employees – wherever they are – to sync up and work on documents and shared apps simultaneously, and follow colleagues and records to receive critical updates in real time. A survey by Frost & Sullivan found that companies which invested in collaboration technology had a 400% return on investment.

Document control: According to one study, "73% of knowledge workers collaborate with people in different time zones and regions at least monthly".

If a company doesn’t use the cloud, workers have to send files back and forth over email, meaning only one person can work on a file at a time and the same document has tonnes of names and formats.

Cloud computing keeps all the files in one central location, and everyone works off of one central copy. Employees can even chat to each other whilst making changes together. This whole process makes collaboration stronger, which increases efficiency and improves a company’s bottom line.

Less capital expense: There is some debateabout the value of shifting from a capital expense (CapEx) model to an operational expense (OpEx) model. Overall sentiment is that, specifically for short and midterm projects, the OpEx model is more attractive because there are no long term financial commitments. In the OpEx model zero upfront investment is required, which allows organizations to start projects faster but also end them without losing any investments in the cloud services.