Cloud computing was more of a pariah in its early days than the digital transformation enabler that it is today. The idea of taking all of your company's digital information, everything, and launching it into the cloud hoping that everything would work out okay, seemed quite risky to many companies.
The negative PR image wasn’t entirely unjustified either. With puzzling, high-profile data leaks, notable system outages, and a dirge of competing providers many with less-than-stellar track record and image in their own right, cloud platforms had a lot more going against them.
Recently, however, the bad PR has dissipated. Instead of a digital strategy deserving of woe and discomfort, cloud-based platforms stand at the apex of digital transformation. Companies that are ignoring the approach are quickly sliding into the middle ages, little more than the old man yelling at the clouds.
So how are companies leveraging cloud technologies? Is the outlook idyllic or are there some tougher challenges ahead?
First and foremost, companies are primarily using the cloud to streamline what they are already doing. Specifically, companies are leveraging the power of the cloud to improve their core operations. Companies can harness the power of the cloud to do more with less. There’s little concern nowadays for expanding internal data warehouse space to accommodate new data or feeling squeezed out by web-platform providers pushing for more bandwidth.
These valid concerns are quickly becoming a thing of the past. The replacement is the promise of cloud platforms, a fully-scalable solution to be as big or as small as needed at any given time. This flexible scalability is opening up new application opportunities for small businesses and giving them greater power in a competitive landscape.
The Remote Revolution
If any change has been so immediately impactful, it is the growth of the remote business. With a rise in cloud-based infrastructure, the business is, well, in the clouds. This opens up new and cost-effective approaches in remote business management. Some companies are even shifting to an entirely remote method, utilizing fully-remote employees across-the-board.
Cloud computing, in this manner, can lower costs. There’s less need for a large business office and all the running expenses required. It is lowering the entry-fee for many businesses. Prior to the cloud, a 100% remote business was virtually unheard of. Now, it is becoming a viable strategy for quick growth.
A cloud system also plays beautifully with remote work. With the cloud, everything is contained in a central hub or repository. An employee could use any device they see fit to access the platform and do their work. This also applies to customers. A cloud-based system can integrate wildly with many other applications, creating a one-stop-shop for many possible needs.
Security has Improved
Perhaps the Achilles heel of any cloud-based solution has historically been security. While not perfect, cloud security has come a long way. Recognizing the paradigm-shifting potential of the cloud, many leading entities sought long-lasting superior security solutions.
Many massive companies have cited security as their top reason for not adopting the cloud. But cloud companies have added live updating, SaaS protection, and other measures to ensure their biggest clients could sleep comfortably.
The cloud has become so widely-adopted that many companies are exploring the edges of the multicloud. The multicloud is, on the surface, as its name implies- the use of two or more cloud computing services within the same infrastructure.
Initially, the multicloud derived from a lack of trust in cloud systems. Ironically, a perceived way to make up for the lack of cloud reliability was to have multiple cloud systems. If one was down, the other would pick up the work. Also, vendor lock-in deals would drive multicloud practices.
Obviously, the cloud has evolved and improved. Now, many companies deploy a multicloud method to juggle the strengths and weaknesses of many providers.
In practice, a company can use one cloud system for their services in the west coast and another in the east coast, juggling speed, capacity, and specific customer features as needed. These changes may pertain to those demographics. There may also be legal compliance issues. One of the most common is the legal requirement to have a certain percent of the enterprise data to “physically” reside in the business city.
Whether out of convenience or necessity, expansion or security, the multicloud is a compelling evolution of the cloud system. It also acts as a firm announcement that despite a spotty history of adoption, the cloud is firmly here to stay.
Cloud is here to stay?
Industries that were once reluctant to embrace connected cloud solutions are more and more moving to the connected cloud. With the rapid advancement of many core technology services being readily available and more cost effective on the cloud, it is more than reasonable to claim that cloud computing is now the true digital transformation enabler that it promised to be.