It’s an image that has stuck with us – but even though cloud computing is often invoked with images of white, fluffy cumulous shapes, that doesn’t mean your data is floating somewhere in the sky, porous or unable to be managed.
The cloud metaphor actually came about with old telecommunication network plans, where the public telephone network was symbolised by a cloud image, to show its location was irrelevant.
Today the cloud is a lot more than just off-site data storage, though. It’s a whole new way to scale innovations, respond to changes in markets, and mobilise your workforce.
Here are some of the reasons why more organisations around the world are adopting the cloud.
Speed – Mobility and collaboration with maximised accessibility
Access anywhere, on any device
Employees move more freely within the company and from locations outside of the organisation, expanding the reach of the business.
Access across business applications and personal devices has evolved communication speed far beyond desktop-bound or on-the-go emails.
Teams can collaborate at the same time, even if they’re thousands of miles apart. Organisations don’t have to worry about their resources and hardware investment to anywhere near the same degree they once did. End-users can access corporate data as soon as it is shared.
Security – Misunderstood, but more reliable
It’s one of the most misunderstood areas of the cloud, but paradoxically also one of the major reasons companies are moving to the cloud. The cloud brings reduced security and compliance costs with an assortment of built-in security services: network security, identity and access, compliance policies and data privacy.
Access your network through only encrypted or private connections. You’ll be able to protect your virtual machines and data by isolating them from unwanted traffic and users.
Identity and access
You’ll be able to manage your end users with cloud identity governance. Multi-factor authentication and single sign-on access are two of the more well-known benefits.
Streamlined compliance for the infrastructure and applications, as well as audit report and compliance packages to help you understand how specific regulatory standards are met.
Non-stop monitoring and analysis of traffic means anomalies and threats can be identified. You can also run penetration testing of applications you’re running.
You can limit access to and use of your data, as well as specify the geographic areas where your data is stored and get additional contractual agreements in place to manage how personal data is transferred.
Scalability – Vertical and horizontal
Linked to the other ‘S’s, your business is guaranteed to gain scale once cloud speed and security protocols are in place. This takes away from the fear of mistakes made by the wrong hardware investment, overpaying for unused equipment, or frequently making extra investments to tee up rising resource needs. The reality is, it’s just impossible to accurately predict how an application will need to scale in the future, especially when your developers haven’t written it yet!
Once you have both horizontal and vertical scaling in place, you’ll be able to increase the storage or change the size of your virtual machine in parallel with the increasing needs of your users. If you ever find the servers can grow no further, you simply add another one to handle more requests.
Simply put, the number of servers you can provision will no longer be bound by the physical size of your server. A whole new way of scaling your networking power can be unlocked:
More throughput without concern for complexity is possible. Load-balancing between multiple servers supports double the amount of desktop access at the same time. Each time you start running more servers, you’re empowered with concurrent workload execution.
You strengthen your servers by adding more memory, faster disks or computing CPUs (AKA ‘central processing units’). Scale vertically to speed up solo applications and single workflows without needing to add more machines to your cloud resources.
The cloud is not an imprecise term – rather, it’s an avenue to scale up or down in numbers fitting with the need, and to control our operations swiftly and with agility. Bearing these basic principles is important because it is these fundamentals that help us understand how the cloud progresses impact and strategy, links us with more appropriate tools, helps us in employing effective tactics, and changes our business world.
For more on this topic, please read the articles “How Should I Select a Partner For My Cloud Journey?” and “Protecting Privacy on The Cloud“.