Cloud computing and cloud technology in general has experienced explosive growth over the past 10 years, with internet-accessible applications becoming indispensable to more and more businesses. This has been boosted by the exponential growth in the number of web-enabled devices, which help us run our businesses effectively whether we're in the office, or on the go.
Despite the many benefits of cloud technology, a number of businesses have been slow to adopt cloud-based technologies and continue to rely on, onsite hosting, legacy systems and outdated technologies. This could be because they're unaware of the benefits, worried about the cost and effort, or simply don't have the knowledge or skills to make the switch.
This means they are potentially losing out on the superior communication and collaboration opportunities, and enhanced security that cloud computing offers. With Forbes predicting that 83% of enterprise workloads will be in the cloud in 2020, forward-thinking businesses should be taking advantage of the benefits this technology offers.
The internet has transformed the way we communicate and how we transfer information to make our businesses run more smoothly and effectively. People can instantly share messages, images, videos, talk over the internet (VoIP), video conference, integrate different applications, and easily link people to further information. A modern workplace includes productivity-boosting tools such as online shared drives, team group messaging, online timesheets, face-to-face video meetings, low-cost international calling and access to excellent business apps.
Cloud computing leverages the power of this connectivity, providing the platform for us to access the work resources we need, wherever we are, and whenever we choose.
And Intuit reports that this uptake in mobile has led Australia to create a mobile-first business strategy. Their research shows 62% of small businesses are on the cloud and 63% use mobile to run their businesses.
Apart from other benefits, this mobile connectivity via the cloud gives us the ability to have more flexible working locations and hours. According to Seek Insights, this empowers businesses and helps them attract and retain top talent, particularly younger 'digital native' employees.
Cloud computing also integrates with popular business applications and software to provide unified solutions for calls, sales, project management and video conferencing. By connecting all the key points of business communication - both within your office and with clients - everything is one place, available where and when you need it.
Cloud computing also brings cost benefits to your business compared with legacy systems, including not having to replace redundant server hardware every few years. It offers flexible storage options and upgradability that help future proof your workflow. Queries and issues can also be addressed in real-time by support experts who have immediate access to your systems via your cloud platform.
We're all familiar with the struggle of trying and failing to send large files over email or having files that are too large to move between devices. You also end up with multiple versions of documents, including potential errors as people work on local files, then try and merge changes from multiple sources.
Cloud computing lets users share data and files in a single, centralised location, facilitating real-time collaboration and reviewing of documents. This lets them work on a single 'true' version, preventing discrepancies and email exchanges for every edit. It also saves hours of frustration and delays for group projects and boosts productivity in your office.
Storing files on the cloud introduces business efficiencies and frees up time to allow you and your team to hit maximum productivity.
A business with cloud-based solutions also has greater scalability; you can easily and cost-effectively size your systems up or down as the needs of your business change. Plus, your team is a lot more productive and happier due to the stress-free, seamless workflow.
Cloud computing also offers 'next level' security for your business data. Data breaches can cause significant damage to your reputation and lose the trust of clients and stakeholders. Cloud-based firewalls and anti-virus filters protect your information and remove hacking vulnerabilities that can exist in hardware connections.
Computing via the cloud also gives managers easy control over who can access sensitive information, which streamlines work allocation and confidentiality. Expert security personnel employed by your cloud provider take over the responsibility and management of security on your behalf. This makes sure your data and documents are protected against the latest threats from viruses and malware and helps you meet data security regulatory compliance standards. Plus, your service provider's insurance should cover you in the unlikely event something does go wrong.
Cloud-based platforms also simplify disaster recovery efforts. Provided your data hasn't been compromised, you can simply download your data and applications to new hardware if your office equipment is damaged or stolen.
According to CIO, Enterprises already run 77% of their workloads in the cloud (45% in a private cloud), while 80% of small-medium businesses do the same (32% in a private cloud). With figures like these, it's easy to see why - rather than cloud computing just offering a competitive advantage - it is the new benchmark for business operations. Join the vast majority of businesses and make the move to cloud computing to speed up and future-proof your operations.
It can be simple to set up and running costs are often cheaper than legacy systems too.