Unless you’ve been stuck on Dagobah for the past decade, you’ve heard how the cloud phenomenon has taken the world by storm. Sure, there may be a lot of gimmicky marketing behind it. But it’s one of the biggest trends in all of technology for a reason. So let’s look at what is driving the cloud first policies that are currently being implemented in public and private organizations.
Cloud Technology Adoption is Sky High
Here are some projections on adoption that help put it all into perspective:
- IDC projects that SAAS applications will make up nearly a third of the global enterprise application market by 2018, accounting for over $50 billion in revenue.
- Forrester estimates that by 2020, the public cloud market will exceed $236 billion, which far more than doubles the $114 billion spent in 2016.
- Gartner projects that by 2019, over 30 percent of the biggest 100 technology vendors will shift their new software initiatives from cloud-first to cloud-only investments.
- Gartner also predicts that by 2020, incorporating the cloud in business strategies will be as common as internet-based business itself.
- According to venture capital firm North Bridge, 50 percent of survey respondents either implemented a cloud-first, or cloud-only policy. Nearly all (90 percent) respondents said they used the cloud in some form.
So what exactly is all this cloud first stuff all about? Some say it’s just another buzzy word designed to highlight the importance of making the cloud a chief priority. Well, you are correctamango! The term started to pick up steam back in 2010. That’s when then U.S. chief information officer Vivek Kundra mandated that all federal agencies consider cloud-based solutions before making new IT investments.
You could say the rest is history. The cloud would go on to be a huge deal in both the government and commercial sectors.
Cloud First Perks
Putting cloud computing at the forefront of your business strategy can pay off in a big way. Here are four surefire benefits of adopting a cloud first mentality.
1. Optimal Resource Utilization
Servers and networking equipment is not only expensive – it takes up a lot of space! One of the cloud’s biggest selling points is that it provides on-demand access to servers, storage, and other infrastructure resources. All this, without eating up physical space in your data center. And if you ever need to scale down, the cloud is flexible enough to do this easily.
2. Hassle-free Administration
The cloud makes it easy to pass the burden of maintenance on to the service provider. That means you never have to change a hard drive or perform a single software update. As a result, your staff can devote their time to other projects that help move business forward. This shift in responsibility is especially beneficial for organizations with smaller IT teams.
3. Enhanced Mobility
The proliferation of smartphones and tablets has more organizations welcoming the idea of mobile devices in the workplace. In a tightly controlled environment, this integration can be a major productivity booster. Most vendors offer cross-platform applications that can seamlessly connect works to IT resources from any device. Employees can work on the go, from anywhere.
4. Stronger Security
Security remains one of the biggest barriers to cloud adoption. But if you think about it, most firms will benefit from much better security than they’d be able to implement in-house. You may have recruited some of the brightest experts in the field. But chances are your staff pales in comparison to the IT security teams at Amazon and Google, working around the clock.
And for the times when Amazon and Google don’t have you covered, you can get an inexpensive failover plan. Third party solutions like Cloud Backup from StorageCraft will offer reliable backup software even for your SaaS applications data.
Cloud First Risks and Concerns
Fully embracing new technology can be a gift and a curse. By adopting the cloud, you can make your infrastructure run more efficiently. However, research suggests that when it comes to cloud security, organizations are still not quite prepared.
According to Ponemon Institute’s The 2016 Global Cloud Data Security Study, some organizations are still strugling with cloud first policies:
- 65 percent of respondents believe their organizations are dedicated to protecting sensitive data in the cloud;
- 54 percent of respondents did not feel their organizations are being proactive enough to comply with data protection regulations and manage cloud security;
- Another 64 said their companies lack policies requiring the use of encryption and other safeguards when deploying cloud applications.
Among the many benefits touted by cloud proponents is the potential for substantial cost savings. Hosting your data and resources across a cluster of remote internet servers can help you save a lot of money. For government agencies and large private companies, it could be a viable alternative to investing in data centers.
Cloud Pitfalls to Watch Out For
Cost effectiveness aside, the cloud-first approach as its fair share of cost pitfalls as well. There are many hidden fees that can make the cloud more expensive than your budget bargained for. Like costs associated with training staff to maintain new applications and systems, provisioning cloud resources, and simply migrating to the cloud.
Those enticing pay-as-you-go pricing plans rarely ever reflect your true costs. By taking the time to plan and analyze your needs prior to the migration, you can make sure cloud computing is indeed a cost-friendly investment for your company.
Thinking cloud first with your IT strategy will position you to stay one step ahead in today’s rapidly moving business world.