Moving data into the cloud is an intimidating step for most organizations. IT teams must worry about security and privacy issues, while employees are concerned about the implementation of such a substantial change. However, in today’s increasingly automated environment, cloud computing is the best way to manage data and effectively compete in the marketplace: in 2017, 74% of Tech Chief Financial Officers said that cloud computing had the most measurable impact on their organization. The cloud lowers workload and cost, enables flexibility and collaboration, and actually increases security. Here are six reasons all organizations should embrace the cloud:
1. Decreased Burden on Internal Team
IT teams have a lot of responsibility. They must constantly monitor security issues, run system maintenance and updates, and provide support across multiple departments and systems. Why not take something off their plate?
A cloud-based data solution means IT doesn't have to provide updates, support, or security. Having these provided by an external source will enable 24/7 support and consistent maintenance and security updates, as this will be their first priority. They won’t have other responsibilities or projects to focus on. Even implementation is usually led by the cloud vendor, with little work performed by the internal IT team.
This gives organizations two options: they can either reduce the size of their IT team, which is a huge benefit for small organizations that likely cannot afford to have a large team in-house; or the team can implement improved support for other functions or value-added activities, such as actively reducing cyber risk.
2. Cost Savings
Similar to most outsourcing scenarios, moving data to the cloud results in lower costs. In fact, in one study upwards of 50% of users reported cost savings solely as a result of using cloud-based applications in their organization, while EY has shown that switching to a cloud provider decreases total cost of data ownership by 30-40% over 10 years.
As mentioned above, the support and maintenance provided by the vendor allows an organization to keep their IT team small, paying out less in salaries.
Maintenance of servers is a substantial project that creates a lot of overhead. Paying for storage space, even if the organization does not use physical files, can be expensive. Moving all data to the cloud eliminates this issue. Cloud vendors also allow an organization to grow without the large upfront investment that would be necessary for an in-house system. Providers often charge monthly or annual payments that are quite reasonable even for a small business.
Contrary to many beliefs, research has shown that storing data in the cloud is actually more secure than storing it in a traditional, in-house system. Salesforce (one of the leading cloud platforms in the world) has found that 94% of organizations saw an improvement in security after switching to the cloud, and 91% said the cloud makes it easier to meet government compliance regulations. Cloud-based data management is secure for several reasons:
Many data breaches actually begin with an inside source. With traditional data storage, an employee may accidentally make the system vulnerable to external parties or intentionally take action to share confidential data. On cloud systems, authorized employees can limit accessibility of data to certain parties, and as long as the passwords are secure, the data will be as well. Further, it is possible to monitor access to the system as well as any changes to or removal of data, so mistakes or breaches can be identified before the organization becomes exposed.
Sharing data is also much safer; most cloud-based servers provide links to allow sharing only with selected parties, and the owner determines the level of access (view-only, editing-enabled, etc). This is more secure than creating a physical or virtual copy that can be accessed by anyone.
When a file or piece of data is in the cloud, it is saved (in encrypted form) in multiple places. If there is some kind of physical damage, whether with the computer, the server, or even the building it’s housed in, the data will not be harmed or lost. It will always be available to authorized parties from any device.
Finally, cloud providers have their reputation and success at stake. Their entire business runs on being able to provide a secure, reliable place for other organizations to host their data. While breaches are always possible, it is in their best interest to provide top-notch security. These vendors likely have large budgets and staff committed to updating and monitoring the system to maintain very high standards. These updates are usually automatically installed, so users can enjoy the highest levels of security without internal effort.
Lately, there has been an increased push for a healthy work-life balance within organizations. Many employees now like to take advantage of the opportunity to work from home. In organizations with traditional data processes, this can be unsafe or impossible. But with cloud computing, employees can access their information from any web-enabled device, as long as they have been authorized to do so. Using their phone, tablet, or personal laptop, they are able to login and complete work just as they would if they were in the office. This advantage also applies to those who travel regularly, or employees who could benefit from accessing the internal system while visiting clients.
Cloud-based systems also give organizations the ability to quickly and easily move data or increase storage space. Changes of this nature cause very little disruption, as it is simply a matter of contacting the vendor and telling them the desired updates.
Organizations are increasingly global as they gain the ability to grow and seek out new opportunities elsewhere. The result is that coworkers may not be in the same building, region, or even country. With traditional information storage, this would present an impossible challenge. Today, the cloud enables workers from anywhere in the world to instantly communicate with each other, resulting in higher cooperation, engagement, and continuous learning. Employees are able to contribute to shared work without duplicated efforts or repetitive manual processes. This increases productivity across the organization and allows team members to share new ideas and opportunities.
6. Sustainable Competitive Advantage
A study by Dell found organizations that invest in big data, cloud, mobility, and security enjoy up to 53% faster revenue growth than their competitors.
With an external party handling system maintenance and security, IT and risk teams are able to focus on their core business, performing value-added activities and increasing productivity. This is an advantage particularly in those industries where cloud-based systems are not yet the norm.
Cloud computing enables constant access to data and associated analytics. This allows organizations to increase new products’ or services’ speed to market and implement changes faster. In rapidly changing industries, this is a must in order to stay competitive.
Finally, the cloud is the latest standard in an increasingly technical world. While it may not be crucial forever, it is certainly superior to traditional systems of paper files or internal storage. By staying current on technological trends, organizations ensure they will not become obsolete.
Moving to a cloud system is a beneficial step for almost every organization. Not only will valuable data be more secure, the cost savings, collaboration, and flexibility it enables will provide a competitive advantage that can sustain the organization for the technological future.
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