Just a few years ago, the majority of companies had to create their own on-site IT infrastructure, not because it was the best solution, but because it was the only one available. This was primarily due to the low level of broadband connectivity and the traditionalism of technical practices. There was also a lack of technical standards in the market and a lack of specific technologies. Today, the cloud represents an alternative to this ‘on premise’ model that is reliable, affordable and can be used for several different purposes.
Organizations have therefore quickly started moving their data centres and software to the cloud, which is now seen as the ultimate ‘IT-as-a-commodity’ - a new way to accelerate and facilitate a business.
Although many companies started by deploying cloud solutions in silos, while still maintaining their traditional core systems, digital transformation has shifted the argument. There has been a change in the mentality of companies and now the cloud is widely seen the ‘best solution’, not just the ‘cheapest one’.
But the cloud is not only an enabler for making businesses more digital, it’s also an essential business driver for growth.
Simple, self-service, pay-per-use, scalable - there are many reasons to move to the cloud, and yet 65 percent of enterprise workloads are still running in owned or onsite data centres. Colocation data centres only host 20 percent of systems and just 9 percent are cloud-based.
For a business with an innovative tech-focused model, choosing the right cloud is an important step. By making this choice, you’ll ensure that technology is not a barrier that slows your business down, but rather a springboard for your go-to-market strategy. However, too often, businesses find a reason to convince themselves that moving to the cloud is not the best option for them. On one hand, you have large organizations talking about the supposed complexity involved, and on the other you have small businesses saying they are too small for the benefits to have a real impact.
This couldn’t be further from the truth. From scalability to disaster recovery and digital transformation, the benefits of moving to the cloud are available to organizations of all shapes and sizes.
Moreover, let’s bear in mind that cloud is one possible solution, but not the only one. Each provider has to find the right solution for their customers. This could mean integrating those services and approaches by taking the best part of each of them, while at the same time hiding their complexity so that the end user only has to focus on the business, not on taking care of the IT.
Making scalability easier
Moving to the cloud gives businesses the ability to adapt to business growth. With the cloud, scalability can be achieved in two ways: horizontally, by manipulating the infrastructure to add or remove cloud servers and vertically, by increasing or reducing the individual components (vCPU, RAM, HD etc.) of a server.
As such, businesses of all sizes can meet their scalability needs, such as start-up CercaOfficina.it – a website through which you can find a repair shop to fix your car. After only four years in business, CercaOfficina.it crossed the threshold of 100,000 requests. For this start-up, scaling up needed to happen fast as it was the only way to stay in business. Another example is Tommigame.com, a startup that supports hospitalized children. By using cloud solutions, it is able to collect data about their psychomotor behavior in order to monitor and personalize their treatments. In this case, the business grew so fast that it had to scale up and provide additional tools and resources very quickly.
Cloud-based solutions enable businesses to find the perfect solution for every stage of growth. You can expand your IT infrastructure by increasing or decreasing the resources you need, depending on how the business is developing. You can start off with a relatively small infrastructure, then gradually scale up, eliminating the latency that results from dormant physical IT infrastructure.
More effective disaster recovery
Over two-fifths (43 percent) of SMEs have no contingency measures in place to deal with an IT crisis. For businesses that don’t have a specialised IT department, disaster recovery (DR) generally means relying on a third-party provider. This is the case for most businesses, either because they think they’re too small to need DR, or because they are not able to justify the cost and resources needed to maintain traditional DR. For businesses that do have DR in place, a recent survey found that one in five (18 percent) lack confidence in their DR plans and almost half (46 percent) are not testing those plans on an annual basis.
Cloud-based DR offers solutions adapted for all types of firms. Whatever your size, cloud based DR offers a way to build up your resilience at a price that’s relative to the size of your business, and with smaller resource overheads when creating, implementing and testing your DR plan.
Accelerating digital transformation
As part of an overall five year and 3.5 million Euro investment plan, Nexive, Italy’s number one provider of private postal services, decided to digitize all of its operations, moving from on-site to cloud-based data centers.
By moving to a cloud-based model, Nexive was able to ensure reliable physical and digital services. This also put Nexive one step ahead of its competition, with a flexible and secure solution for its data.
Before moving to the cloud, Nexive’s data was stored on a private server. This approach was a costly one, requiring significant investment in human resources to manage processes, constant manual upgrades and high maintenance costs. The regulatory requirements and activities involved in ensuring compliance were also significant.
Moving to the cloud eliminated the maintenance and compliance costs and offered a solution that could instantly scale up in case of an activity peak.
Moving to the cloud, and staying one step ahead
From start-ups to multinationals, moving to the cloud is the best insurance against downtime – whether that be due to natural disasters or human errors. It’s also the best way to respond to activity peaks and free business leaders up to concentrate on running their companies.
What’s more, having the right cloud solution provides protection for IT resources, the data the business holds and for the business processes it supports.
As the cloud becomes an everyday part of how we live and work, it will become increasingly difficult to not have it as an essential part of your business process. Businesses that fail to take this leap, risk missing out on the many opportunities that cloud presents. And ultimately, they risk losing their customers, many of whom now expect cloud-based experiences, to competitors that are prepared to digitally transform.
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