There's a strong chance that most companies have at least heard of cloud computing by now. There's also a strong possibility that many businesses worldwide have already adopted the technology or are planning to do so in the near future, as a way to replace antiquated IT systems, promote employee collaboration and reduce operating costs, all while outsourcing management of these environments to a third-party vendor. Now, firms can focus on their brands instead of tech-related maintenance.
Organizations that have kept cloud solutions at arm's length are doing themselves a disservice if they continue down this path. The fact of the matter is that more companies will be cloud users soon enough, meaning those on the outside looking in will be in this position until they make the switch. Businesses assertive in their stance that their on-site systems are fine don't have to move all in with a cloud deployment – migrating mission-critical data and a few applications to a hosted environment to put the solution through its paces.
Firms not happy with the technology can simply end their subscription with the service and go back to normal. But organizations owe it to themselves to at least give the cloud a chance because, before long, they will be in the minority when it comes to using the technology.
North Bridge Venture Partners, Gigaom Research and 72 collaborating firms found adoption of the cloud has never been higher during its research that spans four studies over four years.
"With four years of data, we're now really beginning to see some interesting trends, such as the five-fold increase in SaaS adoption to 74 percent and the nearly six-fold increase in PaaS adoption to 41 percent." said Michael Skok, founder of the Future of Cloud program and general partner at North Bridge.
Businesses, execs hoping cloud delivers results
Decision-makers must always be ready to establish long-term roadmaps that set their businesses on a successful path. The survey found nearly 50 percent of respondents are using the cloud to create new products and generate revenue. Another 45 percent of participants plan to or already operate their companies from a cloud-based environment.
David Card, vice president of Gigaom, said "long-suffering IT execs" are benefiting from the latest cloud innovations, especially in terms of offloading functions and instead focusing on new business objectives.
Data security is perhaps the only inhibitor of the cloud's momentum at the moment. The survey found 49 percent of respondents cited this concern as a problem area. The report indicated vendors that rise above the competition and communicate with customers about their corporate safeguards can set themselves apart from their rivals by gaining client trust.
Are the security concerns overblown?
The cloud's security is often a hot debate topic, due primarily to the fact that information is no longer stored at a company's office. Such content is now located at an off-site location and managed by another company. However, the locale of this data is actually its greatest strength.
For example, data backed up on disks, tapes and external hard drives can be misplaced, stolen or damaged during natural disasters. Companies that migrate information and applications to a cloud environment do not have to worry about such incidents if these resources are accessible through the Internet.
Any cloud vendor that wants to remain in business for the long run will undoubtedly offer encryption services to safeguard customer content, allowing only authorized personnel to access data and apps.
It's never easy for an organization so used to operating a certain way to make a major corporate shift. However, the knocks against cloud computing no longer hold as much weight as they used to, making the technology a perfect way for companies to sustain success for years to come.
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