The last couple of years have seen cloud based applications move beyond the phase of hype into mainstream adoption. They have come as no less than a boon to the small and medium-sized businesses who have been struggling with complex, idle and overgrown on-premise software systems that are inveterately unmaintained. This blog identifies the six key attributes of cloud based applications of for that matter cloud computing that has fueled the businesses’ inclination towards it.
1. Scalability of the IT resources
In a stark contrast to the hardware-based solutions, cloud based solutions are adept to scale pertaining to the highs and lows of a business. That’s precisely why majority of the big players in the market have opted for well-architected cloud based applications to easily execute the operations without having to scuffle for a second place for the servers.
In experts’ opinion, the ability to scale on demand is one of the biggest advantages of cloud computing. Paraphrasing the words of Ben Maynard, initially it is difficult to conceptualize the power of on-demand scaling, but when there is a requirement of upscale, then organizations enjoy tremendous benefits. For instance, the danger of server failure (that often gets caused due to traffic overflow) does not exist. All thanks to the scalable IT resources, businesses get equipped to react faster to the needs of their operations or customers, while driving greater efficiencies. The concern of hosting and operating the IT resources locally is outrightly removed.
Most important of all, scaling reduces costs as well. Unlike the traditional working model where businesses are compelled to leave excess resources idle, with cloud businesses use the resources matched to actual usage. Depending on the requirement, businesses can scale the capacity up or down for durations which may be few seconds or several hours. This means that they can add or remove resources as needed in a cost-effective manner without compromising quality.
2. Increased Employees’ Productivity
Cloud based applications make the business more flexible in nature. With no such limitations of being stuck within the office walls, both in and out of the workplace. team members can access files and perform work-related tasks on the go using any type of web-enabled devices such as smartphones, laptops and notebooks. Clearly this ability to work through any internet-enabled device facilitates easy implementation of “bring your own device (BYOD)” policies.
Furthermore, the power to sync the work, share documents and files and work collectively over them (regardless of the physical location) fosters both internal and external collaboration. And the best example to corroborate this fact is the survey by Frost & Sullivan that states businesses who use cloud based applications to have a 400% return on investment due to the instant collaborative advantage. This ‘work flexibility’ positively supports work-life balance and productivity too.
3. Data Security
Working with cloud based applications, the fear of company data getting lost due to damage to the in-house servers gets ruled out. Crucial issues like security patching gets resolved and taken care of by the cloud vendor which otherwise is not financially feasible for most small to medium-sized organizations to adequately perform. Most renowned cloud vendors thoroughly perform the complex and time-consuming task of applying security patches and testing those patches to make sure they are properly applied. Inevitably, this puts the systems in a ‘no-risk zone’ from malware and cyberattacks.
Not just this, in contrast to the weak security controls that guard the in-house systems, reputable cloud computing vendors host their systems in datacenters that have much stronger physical security measures in place.
Furthermore, cloud vendors ensure compliance with federal requirements for IT infrastructure, with the data centers being SAS 70 Type II audited and abiding to HIPAA and PCI compliant hosting standards. So overall, working with cloud based applications provide businesses the access to systems and facilities that are highly certified and secured.
4. Automatic software updates
Software updates take hours that often prevent the small businesses to perform them! However, with cloud based applications, the onus shifts to the shoulders of the vendor who does all – installing, downloading and updating the software pertaining to the current industry standards. Businesses on the other hand can focus on other important aspects of the operations and get the benefit of using a software that is always integrated with the latest features.
5. Disaster recovery
Using cloud applications frees businesses from the long and complex disaster recovery plans. With most reputable cloud vendors having data centers positioned at different corners of the world, businesses enjoy a set of cloud based disaster recovery services that involves faster recovery of IT infrastructure and data.
According to a report by the Aberdeen Group, businesses who use cloud applications are always at a competitive edge to the others. One of the reasons being that these businesses are able to resolve data recovery issues approximately four times faster than their non-cloud counterparts.
6. Cap-Ex Free
Cloud applications are offered on the pricing model of pay-as-you-go. Businesses do not require to buy and install expensive software because it’s already installed remotely by the cloud vendor who takes care of running and maintaining it properly. So basically, there is no involvement of capital expenditures and operational overhead and businesses benefit from minimal start-up costs and limited ongoing expenses.