Cloud services are continuing to grow as organizations look to increase their IT flexibility. The worldwide public cloud services market is projected to grow 17.5 percent this year to US$214.3 billion, up from US$182.4 billion last year, according to research firm Gartner.

There is a range of potential benefits for organizations shifting workloads to the cloud, whether the cloud is public, private or a hybrid private/public infrastructure. Here are five of the top reasons Canadian businesses might want to turn to cloud technology.

  1. Flexibility — Cloud services let organizations ramp up new IT applications and/or infrastructure quickly – in any location, at any time. Cloud customers can also scale their software or storage needs up or down in real time, depending on demand. There’s no need to add extra capacity ahead of time and companies pay only for the capacity or applications they use.

The cloud also improves workforce flexibility. Today, workers expect to be able to do their jobs from anywhere on the device of their choice. Cloud services are available at any location that has an Internet connection, boosting mobility and convenience.

  • Enhanced collaboration – When applications are based in the cloud, employees can easily work together on the same documents, spreadsheets or presentations, with everyone’s changes appearing in real time. This can be a huge time-saver as employees no longer need to email different versions of a file back and forth. It also reduces the chances of people working on an outdated file version.
  • Lower upfront costs – Organizations that rely on the cloud pay monthly fees, rather than making large investments in their own hardware and software. Companies also don’t have to buy extra servers to plan for future growth, like they would if they ran their own data centre. If more capacity is needed, they can simply pay a higher monthly fee.
  • Better security – Security is often cited as one of the cloud’s weaknesses. In the cloud, organizations don’t have complete control of their infrastructure, which can be intimidating. However, most cloud providers have high security standards that can include multi-factor authentication, certificates, excellent patch management and encryption. Cloud providers also have more resources to pour into security than most small- and medium-sized companies and even some large enterprises. For example, Microsoft’s Azure cloud service includes physical data centre protection, distributed denial of service (DDoS) protection, real-time cybersecurity intelligence, identity and control access, certificates and notifications – everything you’d expect to find in an enterprise-class security solution.
  • More time for IT staff to focus on other projects – Shifting to the cloud means IT staff spend less time installing, managing and troubleshooting data centre hardware and applications. They can instead be re-deployed to more strategic projects that create value for the organization.

Finding a cloud service that’s a good fit for your organization can be a complex task. You’ll need to assess a variety of factors such as which applications you want to move to the cloud, how much security you require, how you’ll integrate the cloud with your existing infrastructure and whether cloud services will save you money over the long run. If you need help assessing your cloud options, or migrating to the cloud, CDW Canada has trained experts who can help you on your journey. To learn more, visit our Cloud Solutions page.

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