A growing number of organizations now rely on cloud-based services. In fact, almost half of all spending related to enterprise hardware, software, and outsourcing services will be on cloud-based products by 2026. This shouldn’t be shocking as enterprises are using an increasing number of third-party applications in a variety of areas, ranging from general applications like Microsoft Office, to CRM services like Salesforce and even accounting platforms like Microsoft Dynamics. These are all examples of services and platforms that have been effectively used and implemented the cloud.
The inherent capabilities of cloud-based platforms are future proof, meaning it is no longer necessary to go through the cycle of updating hardware and software to maintain relevance of a specific software for the end user. Those who remember this replacement process are familiar with the high cost and time consuming nature of this process. Therefore, cost and scalability are the two most attractive features of cloud technologies.
However, some legacy applications, such as those used in financial institutions and for trading purposes, don’t yet have a need to make an immediate transition to the cloud. As we see cloud capabilities enhance, though, it becomes an increasingly compelling option for all types of applications, including legacy technology.
Why enterprises resist the cloud
As the cost decreases, cloud services become competitive and highly attractive to the enterprise, yet there are instances, due to regulation or security requirements, where running an application out of your own data center or environment seems necessary. Payment systems and customer databases are two areas where there have been hesitations about the use of the cloud. And while hosting these solutions locally may seem to carry high-level security, it may just be offering a sense of security, without truly supplying additional security.
In fact, cloud-based services in most instances are more secure than those hosted at a company-owned data center. This is because cloud providers automatically enhance security, without being prompted and without (usually) requiring assistance from the end user or the organization. Therefore, if a vulnerability exists, it’s easily fixed by the provider. This isn’t true of locally-stored solutions, which usually requires a laborious update from the IT department.
Think about it this way – if you store all of your money in your home instead of a bank and your house gets burglarized, you are solely responsible, likely having to start from scratch. Whereas if your bank account gets broken into, the bank assumes most responsibility and it’s usually fixed without requiring much help from you, the user. This, in its simplest form, is the security difference between cloud-based and data center. As trust with cloud-based services improves, we’ll see adoption increase and a larger number of cloud-based options emerge.
The growing number of cloud-based services
Today, SaaS solutions are the most popular cloud-based solutions, as they are used in nearly 7 in 10 companies. While SaaS is anticipated to remain a staple for many organizations, other cloud-based solutions are anticipated to rise in the next two years, including the following:
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS): Traditionally functioning as a replacement to hardware infrastructure, IaaS solutions function as an operating system to virtually host applications as a third-party provider. These solutions are ideal for short-term projects or when a product is in development, but not for permanent use as it functions frequently on a pay-per-use model. Examples include Amazon Web Services or IBM SmartCloud Enterprise.
- Platform as a Service (PaaS): While IaaS supplies the platform, PaaS usually operates on top of that over the internet, serving as a method for programming languages to interact with databases and servers. The PaaS provider controls and configures the back end while users can focus on coding or deploying an application. Examples include Google App Engine and Windows Azure.
- Database as a Service (DBaaS): A frequent component of PaaS offerings, DBaaS solutions provide a storage solution for application data. The cost can be tied to capacity or usage, but it’s a replacement to installing software and the DBaaS provider is in charge of maintaining it, meaning all the user has to do is use it. Examples include Microsoft’s Azure SQL Database service and IBM’s Cloudant.
These three outlined are only the tip of the iceberg in uncovering the ways in which cloud-based solutions can be used in IT departments and beyond, proving that cloud-based solutions aren’t just a trend. While organizations should jump on the bandwagon as soon as possible, third-party providers should also focus on providing cloud-based capabilities as demand increases. For example, Amazon, Google, and Microsoft, were quick to move to the cloud, but other technology leaders, like Cisco, were late to the game. As awareness, trust in security and demand for cloud-based solutions grows, we’ll see a growing number of applications, developments, and uses advance in the coming years.
Filed Under: Infrastructure