For years now, cloud services have been among the most popular items brought up in provisioning discussions of organizations in virtually every industry, as the technology continues to play a bigger role in corporate strategies. With the right cloud solutions in place, firms can often reduce their capital expenditures while gaining significant power in their IT departments, and managed service providers will tend to ease the oversight demands as well.
Although it took a little while, leaders are stepping up to the plate with respect to cloud deployments today. A recent eMarketer article cited findings of research conducted this summer that showed 63 percent of decision-makers are confident that cloud computing is an important technology - the highest such rate for any of the trends involved. It is worth mentioning that the cloud was followed by mobility with 61 percent and the Internet of Things with 57 percent, the source noted.
Considering the fact that mobility and the IoT will be far more difficult to embrace without agile, modernized IT departments, it makes sense that the cloud is becoming a more central aspect of strategy as the years progress. Other research has been released of late that indicate a major push toward more comprehensive use of cloud services is underway, with fewer companies only leveraging the technology for one or two purposes in their operations.
More and more, the cloud is touching a wide range of business processes. If you would like an overview of how small-business owners should be approaching the current cloud market, check out this quick video from Business Investing:
By focusing on keeping up with new research and guidance regarding cloud computing, entrepreneurs can gain the knowledge they need to get the most out of these investments in the coming years. Firms that have not yet begun to migrate their infrastructure, platforms and software, as well as unified communications frameworks, into cloud-based environments should do so soon given the immensely positive impacts the move tends to yield.
Whenever a major trend in technology arises, leaders will approach the trends in varied fashions. However, when it comes to cloud computing, all entrepreneurs will need to change their behaviors toward technology provisioning, management, objectives and, perhaps most importantly, positioning. Small-business owners must open their minds to the full range of potential functions the cloud can be used to improve.
Joe McKendrick, a cloud analyst, recently published a blog post in Forbes regarding the need for a mentality shift among corporate leaders, affirming that the technology "should transform, not just replace." Using the cloud to switch away from legacy systems is somewhat of a common initial plan for the service deployment, but experts are increasingly urging firms to evolve alongside the market through the use of these tools.
Suffice it to say that approaching a technology as a transformative measure rather than just a replacement to outdated assets will have a more profound impact on the outcomes of relevant projects. McKendrick spoke to conversations that were held at research firm Saugatuck Technology's latest Cloud Business Summit, noting that the experts involved were unified in their assertions that the cloud should indeed transform the average organization.
"After years of cloud denial, were now seeing more CIOs and their direct reports bringing cloud into the enterprise," Bruce Guptill of Saugatuck Technology asserted, according to McKendrick. "There are thousands and thousands of case studies and examples how we can improve our value to our organizations. It's not replacing us, it's a new set of tools and a new set of lenses creating more opportunity, and better able to see the opportunities it creates for our organizations."
The author went on to note that other analysts who spoke at the forum admitted that migration to the cloud can be somewhat of a complex and difficult process. However, firms that leverage reliable managed service providers for their cloud computing-related deployments will often be able to avoid holdups in the implementation process.
Although the myths regarding cloud computing have largely subsided, this does not mean that business leaders are no longer concerned about core aspects of the technology. The obvious example is security, which used to be the No. 1 impediment blocking more widespread adoption. It has become clear that more business leaders understand that the cloud is not inherently less secure than legacy IT, but reasonable concerns remain across industries.
Network World recently reported that a new study from ESG Research revealed that 60 percent of IT security professionals feel as though more progressive automation of cloud computing environments will be necessary to become more protected. It is worth noting that this research clearly indicated that security fears are no longer holding companies back from deploying the technology altogether, with 67 percent of firms using it for infrastructure.
"Sixty-six percent of businesses use cloud infrastructure."
Exactly two-thirds are using cloud-based software, the source noted, while the smallest firms were actually found to have the best track record with the security angle. According to Network World, it appears to take larger businesses a longer period of time to acclimate to the novel security demands.
Now, this does not mean that entrepreneurs are in the clear, as there are many moving parts involved. For example, larger enterprises will have far more endpoints, users and relevant assets to consider than smaller firms when modernizing their IT. What's more, experts continue to assert that the majority of small-business owners are simply not following through on their responsibilities when it comes to cloud-related security improvements.
Entrepreneurs will rarely have a large IT department filled with professionals who have plenty of experience in managing cloud deployments, securing the assets and maximizing returns over time. This is why the use of a managed service provider for all things cloud has become a popular choice among entrepreneurs, and will likely continue to be for years to come. This choice will tend to safeguard the business more than going it alone without the necessary knowledge.