It wasn’t too long ago that building your own on-site infrastructure was the go-to approach for developing technology solution for most businesses. This approach was driven by factors such as the low level of broadband connectivity, the traditionalism of technical practices and a lack of technical standards in the market. However, as technology has advanced, companies now have a variety of options. 

For example, the cloud has become the ultimate IT -as-a-commodity, providing new ways to accelerate and facilitate business growth. The cloud now represents an alternative to the traditional ‘on premise’ model that is reliable, affordable and can be used in several different ways. For many companies, especially new companies, the cloud is the go-to solution, rather than an afterthought.

However, the majority (65 percent) of enterprise workloads are still running on owned or onsite data centres. Just 9 percent of enterprise workloads are cloud-based.

One reason for this is that it can be tricky for businesses to choose the cloud platform that best suits their needs. Too often, businesses get entangled in the many unfounded reasons why moving to the cloud might not be best for them. For example, a small business might say it is too small for the benefits to have a real impact, while large organisations often talking about the supposed complexity involved.

This couldn’t be further from the truth as the evidence suggest that moving to the cloud is beneficial for companies of all sizes. Whether your priority is scalability, disaster recovery or digital transformation, your business stands to gains by from moving to the cloud.

Scalability made easy

Moving to the cloud makes it easier for your business to adapt as it grows. This growth can either be horizontal, by manipulating the infrastructure to add or remove cloud servers or vertical, by increasing or reducing the individual components (vCPU, RAM, HD etc.) of a server.

This is true even if you’re a start-up like CercaOfficina.it – a website that connects users with garages for vehicle repairs. CercaOfficina.it crossed the threshold of 100,000 requests after just four years in business, so had to be able to scale up quickly. Another example is Tommigame.com, a start-up that supports hospitalised children and uses cloud solutions to collect data about patients’ psychomotor behaviours in order to monitor and personalise their treatments. In this case, the business grew so fast that it had to scale up and provide additional tools and resources very quickly.

Cloud-based solutions can be adopted at every stage of growth, enabling businesses to adapt their IT infrastructure according to their needs at any given time. Businesses can start off with a relatively small infrastructure, then gradually scale up to meet demands without getting stuck with dormant physical IT infrastructure.

Disaster recovery made simple

For most businesses that don’t have a specialised IT department, disaster recovery (DR) often means relying on a third-party provider. This happens mainly because most small businesses don’t think they are big enough to need DR or because they think it is too expensive. Worst still, over two-fifths (43 percent) of SMEs have no contingency measures in place to deal with an IT crisis. For those that do have DR in place, a recent survey found that 18 percent lack confidence in their DR plans and 46 percent don’t test their plans on an annual basis.

Whichever one of these scenarios describes your business, cloud-based DR offers a solution that works for you. Whatever the size, cloud-based DR enables businesses to build up their resilience at a price that’s relative to their size, with smaller resource overheads when it comes to creating, implementing and testing a DR plan.

More effective digital transformation

The digitalisation of business processes, and the effectiveness of digitisation is the biggest differentiating factor for delivering the best customer experience. And the cloud is perhaps the most effective way to deliver this transformation

Take Nexive for instance, Italy’s number one provider of private postal services. It recently decided to digitise all of its operations and move from on-site to cloud-based data centres as part of a five year and 3.5 million Euro investment plan. This transformation enabled Nexive to ensure reliable physical and digital services for its customers, as well as putting it one step ahead of its competition with a flexible and secure data storage solution.

Before moving to the cloud, Nexive’s data was stored on a private server, which proved to be extremely costly. From process management to carrying out regular upgrades and maintenance, the server required significant investment in human resources, not to mention the costs associated with regulatory compliance.

Among its various benefits, moving to the cloud eliminated the maintenance and compliance costs and offered a solution that could instantly scale up in case of an activity peak.

Stay one step ahead with the cloud

Moving to the cloud enables businesses to stay on the front foot. Whether it’s providing vital insurance against downtime (e.g. due to human error or a natural disaster) or responding to activity peaks in real time, the benefits are clear to see.

What’s more, deploying the right cloud solution provides protection for IT resources, the data the businesses hold and for the business processes it supports, thereby freeing decision makers’ time to concentrate on running the business.

Looking forward, it will become increasingly difficult to avoid having cloud-based solutions as an essential part of your business processes. Ultimately, businesses that fail to recognise this will end up missing out on the many opportunities and losing customers to competitors that do recognise the opportunity and have taken the right steps to position themselves for ongoing success.