Embracing a cloud-based architecture provides unprecedented flexibility—whether you’re an established company with existing on-prem hardware or a new company trying to get off the ground. You’ll unlock new ways to use and expand your network and computing resources. Moving to the cloud allows you to harness the creative potential of your employees wherever they are.
Here are 7 Things You Need to Know About Cloud:
1: Eliminate Hardware Maintenance and Reduce Costs
Traditional infrastructure systems use a combination of physical hardware, like computers, network appliances, and data storage machines. In the cloud, these resources are available ala carte, on-demand, all the time. This is known as Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS).
IaaS removes the need to make large, upfront investments in physical hardware and infrastructure. A startup that launches their product entirely in the cloud can focus more time and money on the development of their brand. An established organization that moves into the cloud can use IaaS to bolster existing infrastructure while eliminating the need to purchase extra hardware, hire new staff, and establish additional facilities.
Regardless of the maturity of your company, choosing cloud over in-house infrastructure eliminates the need for hardware maintenance, software updates, and server upkeep. The cloud provider will handle these tasks . This significantly reduces maintenance costs and allows IT departments to focus on more important work.
2: Customize, Experiment, and Innovate Faster
Upgrading to a cloud infrastructure allows companies to customize resources on the fly and only pay for the services that they need. As storage and computing needs grow, additional capacity may be purchased instantly and easily, without the need to deal with hardware complications. If a company finds itself underutilizing assets, scaling down is just as easy; unused resources may be removed immediately without incurring an additional cost. This agility can greatly reduce the risk and expense of overestimating or undervaluing platform needs.
Cloud providers also allow companies to customize the types of resources that they require. If your needs are biased towards computing power, server capacity, or data storage, then specific resources may be appropriated without paying for unnecessary services. This extreme discretion allows infrastructure to be tailored to specific projects, and it can prevent you from paying for hardware that you don’t need.
The flexibility in both scale and variety of resources provided by the cloud helps to cultivate innovation by giving companies a low-risk testbed to identify the infrastructure that fits their needs. Instead of tailoring an application to the restrictions of available hardware, companies can experiment with different cloud platforms, find a setup that supports their product, and smoothly implement enhancements in the future.
3: Support Remote Teams
Remote data access is something of vast importance in today’s world, as more and more companies are working with teams that aren’t co-located and many employees work entirely off-site. Thanks to the cloud, data is available anywhere instead of just on an in-house network. This accessibility allows distributed teams to collaborate seamlessly and share resources, whether between offices or around the world. This significantly changes a company’s approach to recruiting, growing, and making use of talent.
In addition to data, the cloud provides access to massively powerful virtual machines ready to provide a pre-configured development environment at the flip of a switch. Developers gain access to systems that would be prohibitively expensive if they were individual workstations, which can help accelerate compilation and compute time. These virtual machines may be accessed remotely by normal workstations, furthering remote working capability.
4: Secure and Govern Your Data
Data confidentiality, integrity, and availability are some of today’s most significant security concerns. Data breaches and natural disasters are a constant threat to even the largest and best-funded companies. When done correctly, storing your data on the cloud can reduce these risks significantly. Cloud providers invest heavily in security and encryption to ensure your data is protected. Many cloud providers offer guidelines and best practices to ensure compliance with data storage standards and governance; knowledgeable consultants with experience in transitioning to the cloud can help implement these best practices to fortify data security while setting up custom access controls to allow full authority over your information.
Storing data on the cloud also helps minimize downtime and eliminates the risk of data loss in the event of a natural disaster, data center outage, or other major incidents. Cloud architecture providers offer resilient systems that transfer operations seamlessly from one region of the globe to another, shifting data and infrastructure from outage-stricken locations to those that are running normally. Operational agility accelerates recovery from an outage because the data is backed up and quickly restorable.
5: Scale Across the Globe
Elasticity is the ability to scale, both up and down, quickly and temporarily in order to meet surges or drops in demand. In the cloud, this is done automatically as a result of load metrics, or manually in order to respond to forecasted needs. Cloud technologies make it possible to design applications and infrastructure that expand elastically or contract as capacity needs change.
Architecting for elasticity simplifies challenges like gradually releasing new versions to clients or rolling back to prior versions without incurring downtime. When a development team rolls out a new version of an application for testing or general availability, they may appropriate new servers and support services on the fly. As traffic is transitioned to these new servers, the team would likely tear down infrastructure supporting the old version, mitigating the costs of running two concurrent environments or the impact of a service outage. The team could recover from a failed or poor performing release simply by reversing these steps; not only could they roll back the application itself, but they might also choose to recreate the infrastructure and configuration that support it.
6: Keep Applications Updated and Maintained
Using online cloud applications rather than internal software can help all company departments become more flexible. This concept is known as Software as a Service (SaaS), and these services can be accessed anywhere – on any computer, and even on a mobile device – because these applications are hosted online. This approach increases the capacity of IT departments by eliminating the need to perform maintenance tasks to manage software and hardware on employee computers.
SaaS can also allow companies to integrate vital parts of their business model almost instantly, saving time and money. For example, a startup could rapidly and easily set up an e-commerce market using one of the many available online services available, eliminating the need for network overhead and custom software development. This allows more time and energy to be devoted to developing their product.
7: Support Environmental Sustainability
A move to the cloud can be a significant step in a company’s adoption of environmentally friendly corporate habits. Using cloud infrastructure greatly lowers electricity consumption and reduces the physical waste of discarded hardware, as data centers are optimized for high scale energy use and many cloud providers, such as AWS, use substantial amounts of renewable energy. Even just using cloud software applications cuts down on physical paper waste in the office by moving information systems online, and results in a smaller carbon footprint.
Transitioning your business to the cloud puts you on the cutting edge of the market and gives you the flexibility needed to support and expand your business. If you have questions about how to use the cloud to increase your flexibility, please reach out to us at Excella. We’d love to help you take advantage of all the cloud has to offer.
Do you want to learn more about how to approach a cloud migration? Download our infographic “Three Approaches to Cloud Migration” today!