The benefits of cloud computing vary according to each individual business. Most will agree cost is the primary benefit, but thereafter opinions differ according to each business's requirements. We list the most-often quoted benefits, categorized under three headings - flexibility, efficiency and strategic value.
How many benefits of cloud computing are there? Five? Ten? Twenty? The number appears to be variable according to the motives behind any article listing the benefits of cloud computing and its intended audience. It can also be difficult to find relevance in some of the benefits when your business is not involved in an industry a list is aimed at.
We have taken a slightly different approach to this list of benefits - selecting the twelve most-often quoted benefits of cloud computing and categorizing them under three headings. Our intention is that there is something for everyone to take away from the list, beyond the generally-agreed benefit of cost reduction.
The flexibility of cloud computing is one of the biggest benefits. Businesses can choose their level of service—Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), or Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS)—scale up and down quickly as required to respond to fluctuating workloads, and have the tools at their disposal to build solutions that fit their specific needs.
Cloud computing is not an “all-or-nothing” decision, and businesses can pick and choose which services they want to take advantage of. A choice also exists between operating in a private cloud, a public cloud or in a hybrid environment in which—for example—a business stores infrequently accessed data in the cloud to benefit from reduced on-premises storage costs.
The efficiency benefits of cloud computing are dominated by the savings on capital expenses and utility-style payment structure that ensures businesses only pay for the resources they use. Being able to provision resources with the click of a mouse also enables businesses to get their products to market quickly rather than wait for hardware to be brought in and configured.
One sometimes-overlooked benefit is the availability of cloud computing. Rather than a business suffering downtime and a potential data loss due to a hardware failure, services in the cloud are typically available 99.99% of the time, with networked backups across multiple Availability Zones ensuring the accessibility and integrity of data.
The accessibility of cloud services contributes enormously to cloud computing's strategic value. Users can access their resources from any Internet-connected device and collaborate with colleagues from wherever they are in the world. This gives businesses using the cloud a competitive advantage over businesses with on-premises IT infrastructures.
A further area in which businesses gain a competitive advantage is by not having to worry about managing IT infrastructures. As Cloud Service Providers manage the underlying infrastructure, businesses can focus on application development and other priorities using the most up-to-date technology—updated and patched by Cloud Service Providers whenever necessary.
We acknowledge our twelve benefits of cloud computing are fairly generalized. This is because we wanted there to be something for everyone, so we avoided industry-specific benefits or those that would only represent a benefit to large-scale enterprises.
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