Cloud Computing – The Essential Guide

By Neha Kale

It’s no secret that the rise of cloud computing is having a seismic impact on the way we work. In the last two years, this emerging technology – which refers to the delivery of on-demand services over the Internet – has shrugged off its buzzword status to transform the way businesses store data, exchange information, and connect. And it seems that businesses are increasingly wising up to the power of the cloud. 

According to a recent Infosys report, 81 percent of respondents across a wide range of industries either use or plan to use cloud-based applications over the next two years. Despite this, it can be challenging to untangle the buzz that surrounds cloud computing from the reality of harnessing it to fuel business growth. Here’s an essential guide to making the most of cloud computing.

Agile working practices

These days, companies that speak to the needs of time-poor, hyper-connected customers are those that are placed to get ahead. But for many businesses, rejecting cumbersome ways of working for agile processes and real-time decision-making can come with its own set of challenges. Whether you’re using a cloud-based provider to store data or outsourcing your virtual infrastructure using a software-as-a-service (SaaS), cloud computing lets you adapt quickly to market changes and scale your IT requirements according to business needs. A July 2014 report by the Harvard Business Review and Verizon found that 66 percent of businesses believe that cloud computing reduces IT complexity and a further 53 percent say it increases customer responsiveness.

 Greater employee efficiency

One of the greatest advantages of cloud computing is its ability to let employees work remotely and access documents on any device at any time. This means that staff members can collaborate more effectively on shared documents, hit deadlines from home rather than commuting to work and access up-to-date customer records around-the-clock. Cloud-based platforms can also accelerate productivity by allowing employees to work on their smartphone or tablet in transit rather than logging into their PC at their desk. It empowers employees to work when and where they’re most efficient – a factor that can positively impact bottom lines. 

Lower IT costs

Traditional legacy systems are slow and often expensive to maintain. Cloud computing, which often incorporates system upgrades as well as new hardware and software, can seriously lower your IT costs. However, switching to cloud computing can bring with it security and business implications which should be addressed from the start. From negotiating a service level agreement with your provider to putting in measures to protect your data, taking the right precautions can prevent problems down the track.

Cloud computing can help you become more agile, drive employee productivity and save money and resources that you can invest in future growth. What do you think are the greatest benefits of cloud computing and how are you putting it to work in your business?