Narinder Bains examines the benefits and barriers to cloud adoption, asking if we’re close to cloud saturation point.
With a recent survey finding that for IT decision-makers, 2018 will mark the start of a big move to the cloud, the massive growth of cloud software seems only set to continue. IDC predicts that an enormous $160 billion will be spent on public cloud services this year, rising to $277 billion by 2021, suggesting that previous barriers to cloud adoption are rapidly becoming a thing of the past. However, as we’re not yet at 100% cloud adoption, there clearly are still some factors preventing businesses from turning cloud-wards, or it might be that they remain to be convinced of the benefits that cloud software can bring. So what are the benefits of cloud adoption and how do they stack up against any potential barriers?
One of the initial barriers to cloud adoption was the potential scale of the investment involved. For those businesses who had invested heavily in their own IT infrastructures and data centres, ploughing more money into a cloud solution was not thought to be a particularly wise business strategy. However, in reality, the combination of the resulting reduction in IT overheads with the increased control over costs by way of a lower TCO, means that for those who have invested in the cloud, the ROI is rapid and makes total business sense. Not only is there a lack of indirect costs that go hand-in-hand with on-premise software, but the need for in-house technical knowledge decreases massively, freeing up IT staff to focus on more value-add, strategic activities, for further cost and efficiency savings.
Again, like cost, security was once seen as one of the biggest barriers to cloud adoption, with much discussion surrounding data breaches and not having control over your own information. In reality, such fears have been unfounded, with businesses who have moved to the cloud experiencing an increase in security, a claim supported by a study which found that 94% of SMEs have seen increased security since moving to the cloud. It’s in a cloud provider’s interest to put security front and centre, investing heavily in their own data centres to ensure that they provide enterprise grade security and compliance.
Where there have been security failures, it’s nearly always been due to the user (not the cloud provider) who has failed to effectively manage the controls required to protect an organisation’s data. In fact, a major barrier to cloud adoption is unsubstantiated cloud security worries, where some in-house teams are preventing potentially sound investments in the cloud. As long as you opt for a reputable cloud software provider, who has equivalent or preferably stronger security measures in place than your organisation, you need not question the security of the cloud but instead merely ask if you’re using the cloud securely.
With the pressure on for businesses to digitally transform in order for them to compete in our increasingly digital economy, a move to the cloud can facilitate enterprise transformation, bringing additional welcome benefits too, with 63% of IT professionals naming the need to digitally transform enterprises as the main factor driving public cloud engagement or adoption. Moving to the cloud can make your business more nimble and efficient, providing consistent software upgrades, maintenance and enhanced security protocols but without the associated costs and time delays of traditional deployments. When it comes to business growth, ease of scalability and straightforward system modifications will ensure your systems won’t hold you back, with increased uptime and disaster recovery built-in as standard for optimum levels of efficiency.
For more and more businesses, the cloud is not just an opportunity to increase operational efficiency, but a chance to steal a march on the competition. Through the cloud more industries are leveraging the power and flexibility of business management solutions, as well as developing and launching additional solutions such as Big Data and advanced analytics to provide invaluable levels of business insight, making a real difference to the bottom line. And, with the option to take an incremental approach to cloud adoption, pursuing a combination or hybrid model rather than going ‘full cloud’, 2018 looks set to be the year when more and more businesses wake up to the inherent strategic benefits that the cloud can bring.
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