Cloud computing is a fundamentally flexible IT solution, enabling businesses to access storage and software that scales to meet their needs in real time.
As a result of this, cloud infrastructures are also innately cost-effective, particularly if they are deployed with sensitivity to the requirements of individual organisations.
But what is it about the cloud that makes it more flexible than on-site IT setups and how does this translate into tangible benefits for businesses?
Flexing IT muscles
When a business is going through a period of rapid growth, it will undoubtedly find that the strain put on its IT infrastructure will increase. For companies that only have on-site resources at their disposal, this can create a bottleneck that actively stifles productivity and growth, leaving them at a competitive disadvantage and perhaps hampering their chances of long term prosperity.
Investing in improved internal infrastructure can relieve the pressure and fuel a firm’s expansion, but many start-ups and small businesses will lack the financial resources for this action, which is where the cloud steps into the fray.
Cloud computing capacity can be purchased on-demand, with a pay-as-you-go price structure meaning that businesses can increase their usage when necessary and accommodate greater app and data activity without having to splash out on new hardware, which of course requires further investment for maintenance and upgrading in its own right.
This flexibility means that the pace at which a business grows is not determined by its IT assets and can instead occur naturally and without infringement.
Even businesses which are not going through a growth spurt can take something valuable away from cloud adoption, because this scalability works in both directions.
If, for example, you have IT needs which fluctuate wildly depending on the season, with capacity requirements going through the roof at certain times of the year, or during particular events, then a reliance on internal systems can be equally problematic.
In the past there were only two options available for businesses in such a position. Either the maintenance of an IT infrastructure which is capable of dealing with the sporadic increases in demand was required, which means it is hardly cost-efficient for the majority of the time in off-peak periods, or a smaller and more manageable set-up would be used, leading to bottlenecking issues when demand inevitably rises.
With the cloud, you can prepare for the peaks and troughs of IT throughput well ahead of time and open up the taps on capacity when the big increases come, while toning things down in quieter times so that you are not pouring money down the drain.
Scaling can be scheduled so that you are ready and there is no need to feel that your internal IT systems are a cash sink or a ball and chain.
Cost of convenience
The recurrent theme when discussing the flexibility of cloud computing is that of cost-effectiveness, because for businesses this is often central to the decision-making process when considering any kind of IT migration or upgrade.
There is still debate over just how affordable cloud adoption can be, although a well thought out cloud strategy can certainly help to reduce the expenses of IT and give organisations of all sizes the ability to take control of budgets which might otherwise run away with themselves.
Just as the cloud is designed to scale, with third party providers allowing enterprise clients to use as much or as little of a data centre’s available capacity as needed, so the cost of doing so is adjusted based on this usage, which helps to make IT convenience more affordable.