In addition to the previously discussed benefits of greater cost savings, stability, and predictability, hosting IT services in the cloud also brings enhanced mobility, scalability, and even enterprise-level security.
In this blog, we will continue to look at the benefits of the public cloud and see what makes the cloud environment a better option for businesses.
Mobility and Collaboration in the Cloud
Some organizations are still reluctant to the idea of cloud computing; however, many of us have been using the cloud without realizing it. Applications like Google Drive, iPlayer, Apple’s iCloud, Spotify, and Kindle Cloud Reader are examples of cloud technology as a utility in our everyday life. We’ve enjoyed the easy and instant access to our favorite, music, books, and data on-the-go regardless of the location or device.
Workspace cloud computing is the next phase of cloud transformation because it offers the same benefits of mobility for your employees:
- Anywhere access: Cloud computing allows employees to move more freely within the company and from any location outside of the workspace.
- Any device access: The use of mobile applications and devices has evolved well beyond on-the-go emails and now enables access to business applications and corporate desktops on personal devices.
For mobile companies, offsite locations, contracted workers, and the traveling sales force, this means the cloud allows end users to access corporate data as soon as it is posted. For businesses that are starting up or expanding geographically, the cloud provides the most cost-effective way to have a new business or an international office up and running in a heartbeat.
Staff can collaborate in real time even though they are thousands of miles apart. This capability allows startups and SMBs to compete in the global marketplace with limited resources and hardware investment. In the cloud, businesses are getting things done at lightning speed with ease.
Scale On-demand Vertically and Horizontally
Since the number of servers you can provision is no longer bound by the physical size of your server closet, a whole new way of scaling your infrastructure can be unlocked:
- Vertical Scaling is the process of beefing up a server by adding more CPUs, more memory or faster disks. Scaling vertically allows you to speed up individual applications and single threads without having to add more machines to your pool of resources.
- Horizontal Scaling grants more throughput at the cost of complexity. A simple example - if one server can handle 6 remote desktops, then load-balancing between two servers should provide 12 desktop access simultaneously. Adding more concurrently running servers empowers you to execute more concurrent workloads.
Efficient infrastructure scaling in the cloud is achieved by performing both horizontal and vertical scaling. You can increase the storage or change the size of your virtual machine to accommodate the increasing needs of users. Once the servers can grow no further, you can just add another one to handle more requests.
This kind of flexibility is invaluable - it removes the fear that we might make the wrong hardware investment at the onset of our architecture layout, and therefore overpay for unused equipment or constantly make additional investments tying up resources. It's nearly impossible to truly understand how an application will need to scale in the future – especially when your developers haven't written the application yet!
There is no “one size fits all” strategy to infrastructure architecture, yet the cloud allows you to expand alongside the unique personality of the applications you host in just a few clicks instead of adding physical hardware, which can take days and weeks.
Enterprise-level Security for All
Cloud security is the most common misconception of the cloud.
Many people often mistake data breach as the biggest concerns when adopting cloud computing. However, cloud security is one of the major reasons that companies are moving to the cloud.
You can take advantage of the cloud while reducing security and compliance costs with a variety of built-in security services provided by a public cloud provider:
- Identity and access: Enterprise-level cloud identity governance enables you to manage access for your end users, i.e. multi-factor authentication and single sign-on access
- Network security: Your virtual machines and data are isolated from undesirable traffic and users. You can only access through encrypted or private connections.
- Data protection: Encryption is used to secure data in transit between data centers and you. Data destruction requires industry standards that call for overwriting storage resources before reuse, as well as physically disposing of decommissioned hardware.
- Data privacy: You can specify the geographic areas where your data is stored and get additional contractual commitments about the transfer of personal data to address specific compliances, such as the E.U. Data Protection Directive. Cloud providers limit access to and use of your data only as necessary to provide or troubleshoot the service.
- Threat defense: Continuous monitoring and analysis of traffic reveal anomalies and threats. You can also conduct penetration testing of applications you run in the cloud.
- Compliance programs and certifications: Cloud providers such as Microsoft Azure help you streamline compliance for the infrastructure and applications you run in Azure. You will receive audit reports and compliance packages to get insight into how specific regulatory standards are met.