What are the benefits of cloud, beyond the financial silver lining?

As cloud computing has matured from a mere buzzword uttered from the desks of IT experts to a well established and dynamic infrastructure, can we really afford to ignore the cloud?

The cloud provides organisations with rapid access to leading technology on-demand and so is undoubtedly a big part of the future. However migration to the Cloud is not just about keeping-up with the latest technology, there are a multitude of benefits to be enjoyed from moving to cloud computing above and beyond cost savings.

There are, of course, tangible cost benefits of choosing to operate applications in the cloud. By moving from costly and time-consuming in-house managed IT to the management, configuration and maintenance of an organisation’s applications by a cloud provider, cost reductions are likely. In addition, the subscription based licensing and on-demand, elastic nature of cloud usage can deliver further cost savings.

You may hear critics argue that the low cost of running the cloud is a result of significantly curtailed functionality or performance, but this is simply not the case. Organisations can run exactly the same applications in-house as they can on the cloud – it’s the IT delivery method that has changed, not the applications themselves.

In fact, the functionality of the applications is often improved when the cloud provider is also the author of the software as they’ll ensure the applications used are the very latest versions with all the required ‘bells and whistles’.

There are several inherent (and less-tangible) benefits of the cloud which also provide significant value to organisations. However these are often overlooked as the marketing of cloud solutions is often focused on cost and the flexibility provided by cloud applications should the end-user organisation grow (or shrink).

These less publicised benefits give the cloud computing model a firm backbone. Customers using cloud will have service level agreements (SLAs) which guarantee network availability and also remove the in-house stress around disaster recovery should the worst happen.

Using a cloud infrastructure which provides access to applications across the internet anytime and anywhere is in line with modern ways of working, allowing people to work whilst on the move and outside normal working hours, helping to improve productivity.

Another key benefit relates to security. There are inevitable security fears associated with the cloud but the cloud is often far more secure than in-house data repositories due to the high level of security features the cloud provider will have built into its cloud service.

Obviously the security of an organisation’s data is paramount and is a keystone to their reputation, which is why it is vital to ensure the cloud provider chosen views data security as a top priority.

When you factor in all these benefits above and beyond cost, the cloud delivers a compelling proposition for all types of organisation. By working with a specialist partner, organisations can navigate through the myriad of cloud services on offer, enabling them to truly benefit from all that cloud computing has to offer.

For 26 years Neil Cross was an integral figure within the successful IBM midrange solutions house, Chorus, in which he was heavily involved with both IBM and Microsoft. Neil was Chorus' technical architect for many years before taking on the role of Managing Director in 1999. Following Chorus’s acquisition by Computer Software Group plc in 2003 Neil continued to work as a key member of the management team. In 2008, Neil decided to take a career break to go travelling with his family. He returned to the UK in 2009 to become managing director of leading managed services and cloud computing provider, Advanced 365, formerly Business Systems Group. Neil is now helping to shape Advanced 365’s exciting future as part of the rapidly expanding Advanced Computer Software group headed-up by respected CEO Vin Murria.