To cloud or not to cloud? During its inception, this was a question businesses could ask themselves at leisure. However, with security concerns, increasing profitability, improving business growth and reducing operational costs at the top of the agenda for most organisations, now is not the time to procrastinate. Now is the time to have those discussions about which areas of IT function should be divested skywards. 

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Contrary to popular opinion, an increasing number of enterprises today are more confident with the idea of using cloud services; in fact 73% are in the process of developing a cloud strategy. With the growing popularity of services such as Gmail, Hotmail, DropBox and Facebook, it is increasingly rare to encounter an individual that doesn’t take advantage of the Cloud on a daily basis. And yet there still remains apprehension from businesses contemplating a migration to the Cloud, despite its speed, agility and cost effectiveness. So what is causing this hesitation?

Firstly, it’s a question of size. Larger IT outfits often find it less costly to host certain applications in-house on local hardware as opposed to bolting on extra colocation resource or hosting such apps in the Cloud. In addition, where there are many local, bandwidth-hungry users, in-house hosting may be more prudent. Businesses also have to think carefully about which data sets they can afford to let ‘out of their sight’. Where precisely will the provider be housing your data? Who maintains the hardware? The network?

it is increasingly rare to encounter an individual that doesn’t take advantage of the Cloud

Security also remains a big concern for most businesses, especially given numerous high profile breaches hitting the headlines in 2015. However, research suggests that Cloud-based offerings can sometimes be more secure than traditional Datacentres, so the tide may be turning. This is thanks to many Cloud-based gateways rapidly deploying anti-malware signatures and blocked URL lists as soon as they’re available. Certainly an advantageous tool with BYOD adoption continuing to sky-rocket and the workforce becoming increasingly distributed.

This renewed confidence in reinforced security has boosted the popularity of cloud-based services, especially among SMBs, and with good reason. The cost savings, flexibility and decreased time to market and plenty more besides make perfect sense for those with limited financial and logistical resources. Recent research notes that 64% of SMBs in Western Europe are already using three cloud-based applications on average, among the most popular were: hosting (55.4%) backup (41.5%), emails (41.4%), data storage (40.9%) and booking systems (22.9%).

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The Cloud is maturing, evolving, and diversifying at a frenetic rate with the range of applications and hosted offerings is expanding exponentially. Several recent studies have also indicated that Cloud adoption is now having a positive influence on customer support with 70% of firms now able to reinvest cost savings into their operations as a direct consequence of moving to the Cloud. This has led to marked incremental improvements in customer experience, as well as driving potential growth by delivering the scope and scalability of resources, and encouraging a focus on core business.

The global Cloud market is forecast to be worth over £80 billion

The global Cloud market is forecast to be worth over £80 billion by next year and the benefits of this technology appear limitless. Businesses are running out of reasons not to invest and send at least some parts of the infrastructure skywards. The question, it seems, is no longer whether to cloud or not to cloud, but what to cloud, why, where and how.