Lured by the cost-efficiencies, scalability, mobility, and flexibility it offers, organizations were steadily increasing their cloud presence even before Covid-19 hit, causing 61% to accelerate their digital transformation efforts, according to a 2020 IDG/CIO Covid-19 Impact study.
The cloud has now permanently changed the way businesses work. Though many of the changes were forced, organizations have been overwhelmingly pleased with the results. Fifty-eight percent say the cloud has made work more efficient, and 40% say the ease of using cloud services has spurred them to work on developing new revenue-generating business initiatives.
In the public cloud, DevOps teams can build and scale new products faster and more cost-effectively. The cloud also allows employees of every stripe to access work materials anywhere, anytime, on any device, facilitating collaboration with colleagues across the globe and giving workers the flexibility they have craved for years. At their disposal is a host of tools for managing projects and sharing information, boosting productivity and increasing job satisfaction. Single sign-on adds another layer of efficiency, allowing people to effortlessly shift among tasks throughout the workday.
Customers, too, have become cloud-dependent, demanding fast, highly personalized service provided by the cloud’s speedy processing power and analytic capabilities.
There is hardly a corner of the workplace where the cloud hasn’t made a significant positive difference. Yet despite their ready acknowledgment of its benefits, many companies are holding back from moving over further applications and infrastructure.
The Cloud Obstacle Course
Several factors are keeping companies from taking advantage of cloud resources. Chief among them is controlling cloud costs, cited by 40% of organizations in the IDG 2020 Cloud Computing survey.
At first glance, this objection seems surprising, since one of the main reasons companies move to the cloud in the first place is to take advantage of its pay-as-you-go flexibility, which reduces costs. Overprovisioning of data center infrastructure is common, and companies realize they can avoid these fixed costs and reapportion the savings to invest in R&D that can lead to revenue-generating products.
But many organizations lack the expertise needed to properly manage cloud infrastructure and resources, leading to ancillary expenses. Sixty-seven percent told IDG they expect to add an array of new positions to their rosters – cloud architects and systems administrators, security architects, data architects, cloud network engineers, and more – just to manage their cloud investments. Talent in some of these specialties is scarce, making the new roles expensive, as well as hard to fill.
Other top cloud worries include maintaining data security, meeting governance and compliance rules, and integrating cloud resources with on-premises systems.
These problems are exacerbated when companies use more than one cloud, as over half now do. A multi-cloud environment is appealing because it allows companies to select the best options for their organization, as well as avoiding vendor lock-ins and boosting disaster recovery. But each cloud requires IT administrators to learn a new set of tools. And even with multi-clouds, some organizations complain of a mismatch between resources and their specific needs. Others have concerns about performance and reliability.
Moving resources into the cloud is also challenging. Legacy apps come with dependencies, and must be re-architected or refactored to become cloud-compatible, a costly and tedious process.
These problems act as a counterbalance to the forward momentum of cloud adoption. Despite its advantages, 27% of organizations plan to move some of their cloud applications back to the data center, the IDG study found.
A New World of Cloud Resources
Recent innovations may soon make organizations’ cloud worries obsolete. Public cloud providers such as Google Cloud – along with the expert partner companies working hand-in-hand with it – now have the ability to eliminate migration and management headaches while significantly amplifying cloud benefits. Here are some of the areas where this dynamic cooperation is making a vital difference:
Better security and governance – Today’s technology allows companies to move workloads to the cloud maintaining the same visibility and compliance they have in the data center. Cloud-based tools greatly improve security, continually scanning both infrastructure and incoming data for real time threats. Advanced analytics and automated responses prevent problems before they occur, notifying companies of weaknesses or inconsistencies that need to be addressed. And collaboration between DevOps and SecOps allows developers to plug security gaps before production, allowing companies to release new products with confidence and avoid time-consuming, embarrassing remediations.
Easily Migrating and managing legacy applications and virtual workloads – Enterprise lift-and-shift tools such as Google Cloud VMware Engine let companies move even complex legacy applications quickly and easily. Virtual workloads can be whisked to the cloud without the need for re-architecting or refactoring, saving time and money. Or organizations can opt for a hybrid model, with the on-premises environment and a cloud instance working in sync. Either way, there’s no need to train administrators for new systems or hire expensive experts – everyone can use the same familiar tools to manage applications and infrastructure at home and in the cloud.
Lowering costs and optimizing performance – The cloud’s adjustable performance tiers and visibility into expenses and performance allow companies to lower capex and tweak operations to achieve maximum efficiency at minimal cost. They can scale up or down at a moment’s notice to accommodate changes in workloads or customer demand.
Increasing workplace efficiency – Citrix virtual desktops and virtual productivity and collaboration applications make workflows more user-friendly and efficient while reducing the burdens on IT.
Facilitating ecommerce – High-performance computing and cutting-edge Kinsta web hosting tools make sites more resilient and ensure that they load quickly, preventing finicky online customers from jumping to competitors. Better performance also boosts site ranking, while automated backups and malware scanning keep cybercriminals at bay.
Harnessing the power of AI – Advanced analytics provides unparalleled insights into operations, empowering developers to build innovative, data-driven applications that give them a competitive edge.
Building a Better Future
The cloud has come a long way since its early days as a vehicle for distributing simple software and storing old data. By expanding native capabilities and working with a network of internationally-renowned experts, providers like Google Cloud can now offer organizations a comprehensive slate of business-enhancing features, including high-performance computing, low-cost scaling, state-of-the-art security, sophisticated analytics, and user-friendly management tools, as well as unique features like the live migration of virtual machines.
As cloud capabilities continue to expand, migration and management have become easier than ever. It’s time to cast aside outdated objections and embrace the unlimited potential of a cloud-driven future.