As it has happened with the Internet, the cloud began its path as a technology with limited uses -basically storage- to become more versatile and ubiquitous, and exponentially expand its adoption by companies and individuals.
It is estimated that nowadays the cloud is hosting one exabyte of data worldwide. This means 1 billion gigabytes or, translated into a more comprehensible scale, the content of all books written throughout history... printed 20 times!
However, this technology still faces some challenges. The main one is confidence, as many potential users and companies are reluctant to store sensitive or confidential information in the cloud. But there are several reasons to recommend them to change their mindset and give a chance to the cloud.
In the case of companies, we will target three key benefits that speak on behalf of this revolutionary technology: scalability, lower costs and decentralization.
This post is also available in Spanish.
The cloud services, which are those that offer hosted computing resources in data centers owned by others, have favored from the beginning the 'pay per use' business models. Thus, the previous paradigm has been abandoned, which consisted of hiring a storage solution or office management software by paying expensive licenses.
The scalability of services in the cloud leads to saving costs. But its most disruptive aspect is surely its ability to offer SMEs a new world of possibilities that previously were only available to large companies with big budgets and big IT teams: decentralized storage systems, streamlined financial management, digitization of contracts' processing, and so on.
That SMEs access to services hitherto unimaginable for being too expensive or complex may contribute to its gain in size, and ultimately result in a shift in terms of competitiveness. In addition, SMEs will also become more receptive to the process of trial and error because trying to adopt a cloud solution is neither expensive nor impossible to reconcile with their current activity.
The results of "moving to the cloud" are positive in most cases. According to a survey conducted by US consultancy NSK Inc.1, 82% of companies claim to have saved money by moving to the cloud and 80% have experienced operational improvements during the first six months of its adoption.
Percentage of European companies using cloud computing services (2014)2
Although this advantage is mentioned frequently, the savings of using cloud services are often associated with the absence of expensive licenses of most offline solutions. But the savings actually go much further:
- Savings in infrastructure: because a hosting service in the cloud requires no hardware or a physical space in which to place it, and it will have a next to zero maintenance cost.
- Lower cost of adoption in terms of training: most cloud services platforms use intuitive interfaces, much like the applications of our phones or our email accounts. Therefore, easy to use.
- Savings on security: although some see in this respect its Achilles heel, the fact is that to secure a local server using uninterruptible power supplies, backups or firewalls is much more expensive than a cloud solution, developed by a highly professional team and with capabilities that far exceed those of any SMEs security.
The ubiquity of the cloud opens a vast test field to any company, to implement telecommuting, improved collaboration or remote access to information. This way, any internal or external process can be done fast and seamlessly.
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This post is also available in Spanish.