Key to this evolving trend has been the maturity of cloud computing technology itself in terms of security; storage stability and quality; and privatisation. For companies to consider cloud computing viable it needs to be secure from any threat - well encrypted and firewall protected. Regarding storage, it must be swift and reliable and serve a company's needs just as well as a locally maintained data farm would. In terms of privatisation, cloud storage for large companies must be from entities who are accustomed to dealing with corporate SLAs and security standards, not more massive public systems such as Yahoo or Google.
Security was certainly an initial concern as companies were reticent to entrust proprietary data to an external entity such as Google or Amazon. Their reticence was justified in 2013 when it was disclosed the NSA had devised a means to compromise Google security and gain access to stored cloud data. However, the financial and technical advantages of cloud computing have proven enough incentive to keep large companies from abandoning the technology altogether and opt instead to find partnerships with companies with more corporate friendly practices and standards.
A new market for cloud companies
Modern cloud computing companies entering the market have been designed from the bottom up to meet corporate needs and expectations. Downtime has been minimised through rigorous implementations of quality standards such as ITIL and system uptime and responsiveness have likewise been geared to meet corporate SLAs and expectations.
In the forefront are such companies as cloud computing and cloud storage company Cloudamour. Recognised as the Microsoft World Wide Cloud Partner of 2014, Cloudamour cloud services include what large corporations have come to expect from alliance partners. They offer services from project management and relocation to ongoing security and maintenance contracts. They also offer an excellent overall benefits analysis for companies, explaining upfront the advantages of Cloudamour cloud computing. Cloudamour aligns well with several other companies currently entering the market who understand the particular needs and structure of large businesses.
A host of benefits
To understand the popularity of modern office cloud computing, it's easiest to itemise and explain each benefit over previous technologies.
- No Capital Expenditure - Most cloud services charge by service and storage size. This means there is no initial outlay of capital for companies. Traditionally, a company would have to populate a data-center and plan for capacity in advance of usage. In a tight economy, this benefit is rather appealing.
- Flexibility/Scalability - In traditional data-center settings, scaling can be difficult, expensive and time-consuming. In a cloud environment, shifting additional resources is as trivial as a software reconfiguration. Likewise, cloud services shine when scaling as rising volume tends to drive down cost per unit.
- Security - This is often a surprise to large companies given the traditional concerns over cloud security. However, consider the number of misplaced and stolen laptops annually. Now consider an architecture where all applications and data are stored in a cloud - with nothing sensitive on the laptop or mobile device in question. The advantage for security becomes self-evident.
- Platform independence - With the number of mobile devices on the market, platform independence is a powerful motivator for companies. Cloud computing and storage offers the ability to utilise different operating systems with OS neutral apps accessing a homogenous, backend data/storage repository.
- Software version control - Along with platform independence - centralised, remotely accessed applications offer a degree of version control never imagined before cloud computing. Software updates can, literally, be achieved instantly within an entire organisation.
- Data recovery - There is a reason so much talk of cloud computing revolves around cloud storage. Consider any vital business data stored in a cloud. Not only do you have the capability of disk level protection via RAID configurations, but the server responsible for accessing that storage now becomes massively redundant. In a cloud, any configured system can access any authorised data. This makes access to data massively redundant on a scale not achievable without cloud technology.
The next evolution of technology
Cloud computing has produced many success stories in recent years. Forbes cited one recent example of a copy company reinventing itself on cloud technology. Kyocera Documents Solutions actually reinvented itself from a company solely involved in document management equipment, to a data management company. Cloud computing not only transformed how they did business but opened up entirely new markets with new revenue streams as well.
That, in short, is the true power of cloud computing and storage. Technologies come along every day that enhance the way companies compete and do business. But some technologies are so transcendent in scope that they fundamentally change how business operates. This is the power of cloud computing. Whether it be the industry leading cloud computing Cloudamour, CloudVolumes, or the innovative CloudPhysics - the landscape of data storage and computing will be forever changed with the mainstream acceptance of cloud computing as a whole.
The article has been contributed by Richard Myers.