The Business Forecast: Cloud, Cloud, and More Cloud
Even before the pandemic, the business forecast overwhelmingly predicted a single consistent pattern: cloud, cloud, and more cloud. The pandemic only turbo-charged the rate of cloud adoption. Indeed, for any organisations that remained on the fence, the pandemic provided the proverbial nudge that pushed them to adopt cloud services. The…
Even before the pandemic, the business forecast overwhelmingly predicted a single consistent pattern: cloud, cloud, and more cloud. The pandemic only turbo-charged the rate of cloud adoption.
Indeed, for any organisations that remained on the fence, the pandemic provided the proverbial nudge that pushed them to adopt cloud services. The worldwide escalation in remote working, of course, played an outsized role in this pattern. Organisations had to fast-track their remote working capacity overnight and re-think their premises, working patterns and infrastructure. To succeed, they had to embrace the cloud.
In 2021, the ‘new normal’ for many businesses is a distributed workforce – whether in a hybrid format or 100% remote. Recent research from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) says that 31% of UK businesses reported their workforce was working remotely in April and May 2021.
Global research by Gartner, meanwhile, reports that 64% of employees are now able to work from home – with 30-40% continuing to work remotely post-pandemic. The report also notes that this shift has been the catalyst for a reboot of policies and security tools.
The rush by businesses to adopt cloud services aligned with a corresponding explosion of cloud-native apps designed to facilitate remote working, keep supply chains open and help businesses adapt. Organisations typically undertake this shift to cloud-based services to avail themselves of the myriad benefits afforded by the cloud. If you’re considering a shift to the cloud, here are a few of the benefits that might help you decide.
Agility, scalability and speed
Increased flexibility is one of the biggest benefits of investing in cloud-based services — you gain the agility and ability to take advantage of new opportunities. Be careful, however — you can shoot yourself in the foot by keeping your legacy software, which only makes it more difficult to support your employees. Restrictive security policies, designed for an on-site workforce, impede productivity. Similarly, security solutions for on-site networks built to block endpoint threats don’t help in a remote working setup.
Eradicating legacy code and platforms lets you reduce and eliminate bottlenecks for employees. It can also keep them safer because legacy on-premises setups often present a more appealing target for hackers. Cloud services aren’t a foolproof solution against hackers, of course, but they get you pretty close. According to Verizon’s 2020 Data Breach Investigations Report, 70% of breaches hit on-premises environments last year, while only 24% of breaches affected cloud assets.
With on-premises solutions, there’s a limit to how much new tech you can bolt on before new infrastructure is required. Cloud-based services, meanwhile, can much more easily integrate new emerging technologies and standards.
Businesses need to move quickly and decisively to handle challenges, without creating additional burdens for IT. By investing in the cloud, they can boost efficiency and cut costs. For small businesses looking to expand, the technology within cloud solutions — such as AI and machine learning, for example — can enable quick tactical wins. What’s more, the almost unlimited bandwidth and storage space of remote cloud servers also enable easier transformation when it’s time to scale up.
Cost savings of cloud-based services
The bottom line: transitioning to the cloud generates huge cost savings. Switching to remote cloud servers reduces in-house power and storage requirements and removes overhead costs such as software updates, maintenance, management and storage. You also save resources allocated to expensive hardware or software updates.
An additional benefit is that you don’t need extra staff to maintain on-premises infrastructure. And in pay-as-you-use models, such as software-as-a-service and platform-as-a-service, providers bear the costs of maintaining and upgrading data centres and systems.
It’s safer in the cloud
A common misconception about cloud security in the early days was that it was less secure than on-premises security. In fact, the opposite is true. In addition to enhanced security over on-prem, the cloud is now mainstream — so much so that it’s now typical for organisations to use at least one form of cloud infrastructure. This reality is supported by the results from a recent IBM survey, which found that more than 150 enterprise executives plan to migrate 75% of their non-cloud apps to cloud environments over the next three years.
What’s driving this trend? Cloud security providers offer more robust security than in-house on-premise security. Cloud providers also tend to have more sophisticated and robust cybersecurity measures in place. And because the onus is on cloud providers to ensure data integrity, they must also ensure data is compliant, which helps mitigate against risk.
Cloud cover: enhanced security posture
With the right elements, the cloud provides security on steroids – protecting data more comprehensively and reducing the chances of a successful attack. The right policies, technologies, applications, and controls are all part of a roadmap that lets a company protect its intellectual property, defend against external and insider threats, and give better insight into applications and software. Cloud-based security nets you a classic win-win — it delivers greater security, agility, scalability, and speed while creating more time and flexibility for staff. What’s not to like?
A recent Cisco benchmark study reported that 93% of CISOs said that moving security to the cloud increased efficiency and freed up their security teams to focus on different areas. Meanwhile, according to Synergy Research Group, cloud infrastructure spending surpassed on-premises spending for the first time in 2020.
Forrester’s Predictions 2021 is forecasting a lot of cloud with its estimation that global public cloud infrastructure will grow to 35% to $120 billion in 2021. Shifting to the cloud represents a significant time and cost investment, and requires strategy, buy-in and a service model. But when you consider the benefits – increased agility, enhanced security and overall cost savings – it makes sense to follow the crowd to the cloud.