Cloud Computing technologies are now indispensable, at all levels, in the “online lives” of individuals but especially in the business processes of companies in all industries, as well as large organizations, start-ups, and for public sector administrations.
Simply put, the cloud is the distribution of essential services such as servers, databases, and software via the internet. Cloud providers make available services such as storage, processing, and data transmission to users in an on-demand mode.
In the past, to use programs or applications, software needed to be loaded onto your computer or located on a physical server in the same building. Cloud computing eliminates this need (and the associated costs), allowing users to access the same programs from any location, thanks to the internet.
The tangible benefits of such technology are evident: reduced costs, increased performance, scalability, reliability, and security.
In this post, we will identify the five most decisive advantages of cloud computing technology. First, however, we will focus briefly on the history of cloud computing in order to understand the main features of this technology, which remains significant for the present, and no doubt for the future.
The birth of the cloud
Few people know that the idea of cloud computing is nearly as old as the idea of the world wide web itself. The embryo of this revolutionary idea was born in the mind of Joseph Carl Robnett Licklider, the brilliant director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency (APRA), the U.S. federal agency that created Arpanet, the first ancestor of the modern internet.
As often happens with technologies destined to revolutionize the world, the idea of the cloud stayed “parked” or dormant, for two or three decades until 1999, with the advent of saleforce.com. This website, in fact, was the first to make software applications available via the internet, without the need to download them to individual hardware.
Other companies took note, and the concept began to travel around the world. Amazon Web Services, the first real cloud computing platform, was launched in 2002. But it wasn’t called “the cloud” yet.
For this, we have to wait until 2006. At the time, then CEO of Google, Eric Schmidt, stated during a conference: “I don’t think people have really understood how big this opportunity really is. It starts with the premise that the data services and architecture should be on servers. We call it cloud computing – they should be in a “cloud” somewhere. And that if you have the right kind of browser or the right kind of access, it doesn’t matter whether you have a PC or a Mac or a mobile phone or a BlackBerry or what have you – or new devices still to be developed – you can get access to the cloud.” (see this post about the birth and history of cloud computing). There are also those who say that the phrase was coined 10 years earlier, inside Compaq Computer headquarters. Regardless of its origins, cloud computing is one of the most important advancements of our time. Below, we’ll take a look at the most important benefits that cloud computing can offer to any type of business.
1. Reduced costs (and increased efficiency)
Companies that use cloud systems dramatically reduce the cost of purchasing hardware and software. They no longer have to purchase local servers and data centers that require specialized management and maintenance personnel, take up physical space, and consume energy 24/7.
In addition, cloud computing virtually eliminates downtime, a term that refers to periods when a computer system is inoperative due to failure, maintenance, or other causes. Recording downtime in a cloud ecosystem is very rare (and increasingly so as technology advances).
There is also the increase in performance, but we’ll cover this specifically in point 3.
The success and widespread use of the cloud comes from its ability to solve one problem like no other technology: the problem of scalability.
For a successful startup that is growing rapidly, this growth could be stifled if the infrastructure employed is not scalable, and doesn’t allow it to increase operations quickly. The elasticity of cloud computing systems is built to overcome such problems. With the cloud, you can manage services and computing capacity on-demand and expand your infrastructure as needed. At the same time, where necessary, this “infrastructure” can also contract when needed, without an impact on investment and with maximum flexibility.
In short, scalability remains perhaps the main advantage of cloud computing systems.
It is no coincidence that Doxee’s cloud systems have been included in reports from leading analysts like Gartner, Forrester, and Madison Advisor precisely because of their great flexibility and scalability, which ensures high productivity and optimization of IT costs.
A single enterprise data center, in most cases, cannot compete with the network of data centers provided by specialized companies such as Doxee in terms of security, performance, speed, and efficiency.
First of all, since most services are provided on-demand, you can have huge amounts of computing resources available in a short time, with great ease and flexibility, and without expensive investments.
At the same time, by hosting platforms, software, and databases remotely, cloud services allow you to free up memory and computational power on your company’s individual computers. The obvious consequence is, in fact, the marked improvement in performance.
4. Productivity, from an omnichannel point of view
Cloud computing drastically reduces the time required to set up a local data center, with different hardware and software configurations, and a whole series of routine IT actions.
Instead, all of this is outsourced (but without the cost increase; indeed, as we have seen in the first point, the opposite is true). Relying on cloud service providers also allows you to leverage consolidated know-how, which is valuable for ensuring that your infrastructure is as tailored to your business as possible.
In addition, cloud computing allows easy access to data and business platforms from all types of devices, from the classic desktop to mobile devices, which are increasingly becoming indispensable tools for the workplace.
Of course, this type of service (and its interfaces) must be designed in most effective way possible, and from an omnichannel point of view.
5. Reliability and safety
In this last point, we bring together two different sides that are closely related in the cloud.
In terms of reliability, the advantages of the cloud are immediate. Consider the enormous risk of data loss: with cloud storage, this risk basically ceases to exist. All data is always available, even in the event of a corporate device failure.
In addition, the leading cloud service providers have data recovery procedures designed for every type of emergency scenario.
Even on the cybersecurity front, cloud service providers can ensure unparalleled focus on in-house storage and sharing systems.
In our current ecosystem, a single hacker attack or a single major data breach can compromise a company’s revenue, image, and therefore customers loyalty. These are risks that no organization can afford to take.
Thanks to specialized expertise and technologies that are shared for all its customers, cloud service providers are able to provide a high level of security that exceeds what individual companies are able to attain, with the added benefit that security is kept constantly up to date.