The importance of cloud computing in modern enterprises can’t be overstated. From security to scalability, to the clear increase in employee satisfaction, cloud solutions like Microsoft Azure have become a springboard from which companies launch new projects and procedures while staying lean and efficient.
While businesses have wildly different needs, depending on their industry, size, objectives, and so on, we can observe a pattern when talking to our partners. They want to create a workspace that understands and facilitates the activities of their teams — an environment that not only provides all the tools to do their job well but to also enjoy it, as repetitive or tedious tasks are a breeze to complete or completely absent.
In a way, even if the paths to this goal are different for everyone, the goal is largely the same — an adaptable, intelligent workplace that promotes quality work and job satisfaction. To achieve that, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud and other cloud computing solutions offer multiple benefits, such as better return on investment, scalability and security.
1. Continual Availability
For businesses that keep their data and run their processes exclusively on on-premises servers, there is the constant risk that a power outage or server failure could bring their operations to a screeching halt.
The loss in revenue due to this depends on how long the servers are down (which could take a while), but there’s also the frustration caused to the team to consider, as well as the possible PR disaster. If this were to happen to a bank, for example, the freeze in service would quickly be spotted by customers. Just three hours of inactive ATMs is enough to cause concern for many people.
One last risk with on-premises servers we want to highlight is the possibility of losing critical data during a server crash. If the hardware is damaged, for example, the information stored on it could be irrevocably lost.
By migrating to a cloud solution like Microsoft Azure or Google Cloud, businesses can host their critical IT infrastructure on virtual machines run on a multitude of data centers across the globe. In case of a hardware problem, the virtual machines can quickly migrate to a different location with minimal disruptions to the enterprises’ day-to-day activities.
This way, you can maintain software availability regardless of hardware maintenance or upgrades, power outages, or even natural disasters. As a result, you and your team can focus on your work without server crashes, no matter the time or location.
2. Enhanced Security
While it’s dangerous to assume that your IT ecosystem is completely safe, choosing a cloud computing solution takes many security responsibilities off your shoulders.
With on-premises solutions, you must consider every angle when protecting your data from unauthorized access or accidental loss. By choosing a powerful cloud computing solution, you gain the help of all the service provider’s engineers and security specialists.
There’s also the fact that physical access to the servers can grant unauthorized people access to classified information or the chance to add malware into the system. For medical or financial institutions, this can become a grave situation, leading to the theft of the customers’ personal info.
With Microsoft Azure, you’re using a service designed with the help of 3,500 cybersecurity experts that ensure safety and precaution are built into every single feature. Add in the help from a tech partner who helps you implement the cloud solution, and now your own cybersecurity team can cover a lot more.
When choosing a cloud platform, make sure you consider the security features – firewalls, DDoS protection, password management software, encryption tools as well as backup functionalities. Besides ensuring that your confidential information is kept private, it’s also important that you keep the digital workplace easy to access and use for authorized personnel.
3. Increased scalability
One of the most challenging situations with on-premises servers is scaling up to meet the need for more space or new processes. Often that means buying expensive hardware and downtime as it is being integrated.
Cloud computing simplifies the scaling process, as the cloud can handle a colossal amount of traffic. You only need to anticipate changes in your IT ecosystem’s capacity needs and change your subscription details. The same goes for scaling down — instead of being stuck with now useless hardware, you just opt for a plan that doesn’t provide as much capacity.
Another benefit for your business comes from the various pre-existing apps that can be integrated into IT system. For example, let’s say that you want to add a way for your team to communicate safely via instant messages. If you opted for Microsoft Azure, then the next step is Microsoft Teams adoption, as the software is already designed to integrate into your existing infrastructure, cutting down on costs and time with developing or configuring a different solution.
4. Cost-effective and Efficient
As we’ve mentioned above, you save time and money by cutting server hardware management out of the equation when choosing to migrate to the cloud, and changing your subscription is just as easy.
Another important aspect to consider is the size of the team that supports and maintains this infrastructure. By opting for the cloud solution, you can focus on optimizing the digital components to your needs, as the hardware is maintained independently by the service provider.
Moreover, cloud software designed for enterprises comes with access to a plethora of tools meant to help you make cost-effective decisions, such as identifying and shutting down unused resources, down-scale underused resources as well as allocating budgets for your teams or projects.
5. Better Employee Experience
As the previous benefits we’ve mentioned are focused on the business side, we’d be remiss to not mention the improvements it brings to the people that make up the company as well.
First, cloud solutions enable remote work for employees, as all the data and processes they require are easily accessible over the Internet without any sacrifice in security. This feature has proven its worth during the Covid-19 pandemic wherein a large portion of the workforce started working remotely. Moreover, many people have expressed their desire to keep working from home and we may soon see laws addressing just that, even if it is safe to return to the office.
As data is centralized, managed, and analyzed in the cloud, instead of spreading across several on-premises servers, information sharing becomes significantly easier. As a result, all teams can have access to the same analytics and takeaways in real time. As far as collaboration and day-to-day work is concerned, cloud computing means:
- No more risk of working with outdated or incomplete data and erroneous conclusions
- Less risk of errors or data loss impeding your and your team’s activity
- Everyone has access to the resources they need while data is safely stored behind cybersecurity software
The leap to bespoke solutions
While cloud computing offers a wide range of benefits to enterprises, the out-of-the-box solutions that platforms like Microsoft Azure offer won’t necessarily mean that the vision we presented at the beginning becomes a reality.
After the IT infrastructure is set up, you have several options for developing your own custom apps and automated workflows. Depending on the platform and your strategic goals, the customization process can be quite simple. For example, Microsoft Azure has Power Apps – a suite of apps, services, and connectors that can help you create custom, low-code apps that fit your business needs.
After the deployment is done by a team of specialists (either internal or from a tech partner), your system admins will have the control and versatility to adapt the company’s IT ecosystem to its strategic goals. As a bonus, it becomes much easier to change internal processes based on colleague feedback.
With a robust cloud solution and a toolbox of apps to help shape your digital workspace, you can fundamentally change how your team conducts business. And maybe the best part is that the IT system can evolve with the company!