The world has seen its share of promising technology trends that started strong, but eventually proved itself impractical or unnecessary – I submit into evidence Google Glass, 3D TVs, and eBook readers. However, one technology that’s standing the test of time is completely intangible to the employee that uses it every day. It’s everywhere, yet seemingly nowhere. It’s continually evolving to meet the needs of businesses in every vertical across the globe. It’s the cloud.
Although the idea of the cloud has been around since the 1960s, it wasn’t until the late 1990s that it started to gain a (small) foothold in the market thanks to companies like Salesforce and Amazon. Cloud adoption strategies and cloud spending have grown immensely since then, and by 2020, it’s expected to be a $162 billon industry.
Who is migrating?
Since its adoption in the early 2000s, the cloud has matured and become the logical replacement for the physical hardware and software needs for companies of all sizes. In 2016, McAfee surveyed over 2,000 IT professionals from companies ranging from 500 employees to over 5,000 to evaluate the state of cloud adoption. According to their findings, 93% of all organizations surveyed have adopted some form of cloud strategy (e.g., Software-as-a-Service, Infrastructure-as-a-Service, or Platform-as-a-Service).
Even companies with the most sensitive data, including financial and healthcare organizations, are benefiting from cloud adoption. According to the 2016 Cloud Research Report, 99% of financial organizations and 96% of healthcare organizations utilize a cloud service. Because these industries are highly regulated, there are strict compliance requirements they must follow, which demonstrates not only the progress the cloud industry has made regarding security and transparency, but also how these industries are gaining confidence in cloud solutions.
What are they migrating?
Cloud solutions come in several forms, including Software-as-a-Service (e.g., Microsoft Office 365) Infrastructure-as-a-Service (e.g., Microsoft Azure), and Platform-as-a-Service (e.g., Salesforce, Microsoft Azure); the most commonly adopted of which is Office 365. In fact, according to a recent study, 80% of Fortune 500 companies use the Microsoft Cloud in some capacity.
Many larger companies are adopting hybrid strategies in which they have a cloud service as well as a physical, on-premise footprint, which allows for flexibility especially with regard to proprietary applications. This flexibility allows companies to have critical services like email and file sharing in the cloud, while still housing their home-grown apps onsite.
Does it save money?
In many situations, migrating to the cloud can save you money. And although it may be a more expensive solution for some companies, it may still be worth the expense given its benefits. Here are some potentially cost-saving benefits of migrating to the cloud:
- No hardware costs – Not only does an on-premise solution include the capital expense of a hardware purchase, it also requires the recurring expense to keep it powered on and properly cooled
- Limited maintenance costs – Maintaining and supporting a cloud solution is significantly cheaper than the cost to maintain and manage physical equipment, which requires proactive and emergency support
- Redundancy – Redundant hardware is a key component of a good Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity plan, but the on-premise equipment can be costly; however, most cloud services reside in multiple data centers with redundancies built-in to protect your data
The future of the cloud.
As cloud services become more advanced, accessible, affordable, and compliant, we will see continual and increasing acceptance in the SMB and mid-market space. In addition, we will continue to see investments and enhancements to both Software-as-a-Service and Platform-as-a-Service followed by a greater adoption of both. As these services prove to be effective ways to meet business requirements, we expect to see a gradual decline of Infrastructure-as-a-Service.
Since its inception, the cloud has proved itself to be more than just a great idea, it’s here to stay. If you see the cloud in your company’s future, contact us today.