Lots of businesses talk about moving to the cloud, but what does it really mean?
You've probably heard cloud computing and cloud web services thrown around as buzzwords. But despite cloud web services' cost benefits and competitive advantages, a large chunk of businesses haven't made the switch.According to International Data Group, 69% of businesses currently use cloud solutions, and a further 18% are planning on making the switch. But if you're building your business' website, you might not have thought about the benefits of cloud servers.
What in the world are cloud web services?
Cloud web services allow users to store, manage and process data through network servers hosted on the internet. In other words, it's a virtual server. There are two types of cloud servers: logical and physical. A physical cloud server is actually just a real-word, physical server that you access remotely. A logical cloud server essentially splits the data on a physical server into separate virtual servers that have their own operating systems. This way, data is distributed between virtual servers rather than all residing on one physical server.
Categories of cloud
There are three different categories of cloud web services: public, private and hybrid.
Public cloud is built on an external platform mainly run by a service provider. Business owners get their own cloud within a shared umbrella. The system provides security and maintenance to the user cloud system. Since it's managed by an external company, public cloud is for organizations that need more elasticity, cost efficiency and current technology.
Private cloud is an internal platform built on your own hardware and software. It’s ideal for an organization that wants exclusive access and wide control. Private cloud is usually managed by the internal IT team
Hybrid cloud is a combination of both private and public clouds. It allows server workloads to shift back and forth between the internal, private cloud and the public cloud server.
When and why do you need cloud services?
For bigger organizations, a fast and reliable server is vital. With your website running 24/7, there are chances of experiencing peak loads and bandwidth issues. The server might not be able to keep up with the traffic. To avoid experiencing downtime, you should think about opting for cloud hosting. Here are just a few of the benefits.
It’s natural to be worried about the cost that would come with making a switch to a cloud server. But the cost savings far outweigh the initial outlay. The money you'll save on server maintenance, along with the additional security and the productivity you'll gain from a faster, more reliable website add up to some significant increases. Dell claims that organizations that invest in big data, cloud computing and security see up to 53% faster revenue growth than their competitors.
Reliable and secure
Security is a major concern for organizations. The benefit of cloud services is that you'll have full-time monitoring. Moreover, hosting your data offsite provides an added level of security. According to Rapid Scale Statistics, 94% of companies that adopted cloud services saw an improvement in data security.
According to a KPMG survey of 500 executives, 42% named flexibility as the main reason they opted for cloud computing. Cloud services offer more flexibility to your in-house IT team as well. If they need access to data while they're off site, they can interface directly with your virtual office with any web device. This can make a major difference to your company’s overall efficiency. Another survey by Information Week claimed 65% of respondents choose cloud computing due to its ability to meet business demands quickly.
One of the main functions of cloud computing is to allow access to corporate data via any connected device. This is a huge plus for flexible workplaces, distributed offices or multi-site offices.
Your business' data is one of its most valuable assets. You can find accurate information regarding your customer transactions and business processes. But sorting through all this data is difficult unless you have a way to collate and analyze it. Many cloud-based storage solutions offer customer insights and analytics. With tons of data stored in the cloud, you can easily track and analyze your data. In fact, beverage company Sunny Delight used insights from its cloud services to generate an additional $2 million in revenue while cutting $195,000 in costs.
With cloud-based computing, collaboration is a simple process. All the team members can access and share information easily and securely. Some cloud web services even allow collaborative spaces to connect employees across the organization.
Losing your data is a fear that keeps many a business owner up at night. Thankfully, cloud services make data recovery easy. Most cloud services offer system backup options. Businesses can choose to back up their entire server, or just portions of it. Then, in the event of a computing catastrophe, you can easily retrieve your data.
All of these benefits add up to a huge competitive edge. Cloud services allow you to move faster, work cheaper, gain better insights, have greater security and collaborate more effectively. That means you can bring product to market quicker than your competitors, for lower cost and with better market research. That's a huge plus in the favor of a cloud-based web service.