Why startups are choosing the cloud

A digital cloud against a blue and red background.
(Image credit: Shutterstock / Blackboard)

Cloud computing has revolutionized the way businesses operate, especially when it comes to startups. It’s uncommon now to find a startup that isn’t cloud native; most chose to adopt a cloud infrastructure from the beginning. Businesses such as Monzo, AirBnB and Lyft have been able to grow and innovate quickly, seamlessly underpinned by their highly secure, agile, and flexible cloud infrastructure. 

About the author

David Roldan, Head of Startup Business Development UK&I, Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Startups approach cloud, and more importantly cybersecurity, with a different viewpoint when compared to larger established organizations who are still struggling to marry together new capabilities with legacy systems.

To bring their ideas to life and scale rapidly, startups are taking advantage of numerous benefits and advantages offered by the AWS Cloud, safe in the knowledge that security is not an after-thought, but rather the cornerstone of its services and infrastructure.

Smart investments

When starting a business, managing burn rate is critical in a startup’s journey to finding product market fit. Therefore investments that deliver the highest possible value and return on investment (ROI) are a must. This approach enables startups to avoid the large upfront expense of owned infrastructure, and manage their IT at a lower cost.

However, low cost does not mean low functionality. To the contrary, a startup operating on cloud infrastructure has access to the same services and capabilities as the largest enterprise or government customers. This investment includes entire teams dedicated to security to satisfy the security and compliance needs of the most risk-sensitive organizations. 

This allows them to compete on an even playing field, innovating quickly and bringing products to market, all with the knowledge that they can securely run their business with the most flexible and secure cloud computing environment available today. This is especially critical in highly regulated industries such as financial services and healthcare and life sciences.


Startups are ambitious, tenacious and hungry to expand, so choosing to build and scale their business on the cloud is a natural choice. Simply by embracing cloud, startups can scale rapidly, giving them the ability to trade capital expense for variable expense, and only pay for IT services as they consume them. The variable expense is much lower than what startups can do for themselves because of AWS’s economies of scale. This means they can redirect costs into shipping products faster to capture more market share in pursuit of product market fit. 

For over 15 years, AWS has been the world’s most comprehensive and broadly adopted cloud offering, and now has more than 200 fully featured services for compute, storage, databases, networking, analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), mobile, security, hybrid, virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR), media, and application development, deployment, and management from 81 Availability Zones within 25 geographic regions, so startups can go global in a matter or clicks and support any expansion plans.

Speed and agility

Cloud platforms provide an opportunity for startups to optimize existing IT systems and to increase operational efficiencies, while driving business agility and growth. This is achieved by allowing companies to significantly decrease the time it takes to provision and de-provision IT infrastructure

While a physical server could take months or weeks to procure and provision, a cloud server takes minutes. Furthermore, cloud supports the increasingly rapid pace of product development and the need to swiftly bring products to market by using the services that AWS offers. Startups are all about speed and agility, and AWS believes this is exactly what cloud offers.


Startups must make security a top priority, regardless of size. A security breach can impact startups by hurting their reputation and customer-bases and can have repercussions on the larger organizations these businesses they do business with. With a report from Malwarebytes revealing that cyber-attacks across Europe have soared 235 percent over the last 12 months, startups need to bake-in security from the ground up to make sure they are not the weak link in a supply chain.

Security Automation

Time is precious for startups and, at AWS, automating security tasks enables startups to be more secure by reducing human configuration errors and giving teams more time to work on other tasks critical to the business. Automation can also offer a smarter approach to detecting potential threats through its ability to monitor patterns of behavior; being able to identify changes in behavior means potential attacks can be identified and dealt with immediately. 

Applying machine learning and mathematical logic to security also allows cloud platforms to proactively manage tasks including security assessments, threat detection and policy management. AWS is committed to helping customers achieve the highest levels of security in the cloud. Using automated reasoning technology, the application of mathematical logic to help answer critical questions about your infrastructure, we are able to detect entire classes of misconfigurations that could potentially expose vulnerable data.

From an early stage, startups must choose a cloud provider whose network architecture is designed to meet the requirements of the most security-sensitive organizations in the world. At AWS, we believe startups are a huge driving force for innovation. However, this wouldn’t be possible without a cloud provider that can support and evolve with them as they grow and that enables them to keep their data safe and protect against malicious attacks. By having a cloud-native approach and putting security at the center, startups can focus on innovating and disrupting their industry, knowing that their cloud platform is as agile, highly secure and dynamic as they are.

David Roldan, Head of Startup Business Development UK&I, Amazon Web Services (AWS).