What Does The Cloud Mean For Enterprise?

    Even in 2015, some enterprise leaders are still skeptical of cloud computing. Some people still are not entirely sure what it is, while others are not sure that the cloud is right for their company. Some even are quick to dismiss its value and focus too intently on the rare cloud breaches.

    But the biggest surprise of them all is that many who oppose the cloud probably use it every day . According to The Telegraph contributor Sophie Curtis, "almost any Web-based service you can think of uses the cloud in some way." The most prevalent examples are Netflix and Facebook. If you've ever used email, then you've used the cloud!

    The cloud is not just about storing data remotely. Businesses that have proper cloud initiatives in place can improve workflows and increase the availability of essential assets. Rather than writing off the cloud, enterprises should realize that it is a game-changing technology that many of their competitors have already found success with.

    Recognizing Potential Weaknesses Is Key

    The cloud is what you make it. Security breaches happened since well before the cloud became popular, and they will continue after the next big tech trend usurps cloud computing. The secret to cloud success is to understand that when used correctly, its advantages clearly outweigh its potential shortcomings.
    "It is perhaps unrealistic ... that anyone who hopes to engage in the digital world will be able to avoid using the cloud," Curtis wrote. "However, consumers owe it to themselves to find out what protections the cloud services they use have in place, and make informed decisions about what data they are willing to share."

    Security is an essential aspect of any enterprise technology. But one possible obstacle can present a much bigger problem: improper deployment. The cloud is for everyone, but the ways in which individual organizations best leverage it will vary.

    What's Good For The Goose...

    Even if cloud initiatives are executed by the book, there is no guarantee of success. Perhaps a company has selected a cloud solution that employees dislike. While the idea of making all information available to every worker on-demand is appealing, not every organization requires this, as it can lead to low adoption rates among staffers.

    Instead of focusing on moving entire databases into the cloud, many businesses find that only select applications and services are best in the cloud. One popular way to do this is by hosting communications systems in the cloud. Voice over IP (VoIP) and unified communications (UC) are most effective when employees can access them on their personal devices, for example. Being able to open an app that connects professionals to their peers from remote locations is a powerful way to ensure that business thrives.

    Unfortunately, some businesses have not yet embraced cloud communications. A 2014 ZK Research study found opinions that back up a huge enterprise concern: People are still overly cautious when it comes to the cloud. Thirty-two percent of survey respondents said they are "taking a wait-and-see approach to cloud UC."

    "Considering how long [UC as a service] has been available, these numbers are very low," ZK Research founder and principle analyst Zeus Kerravala wrote. "Why? Well, as is the case with any cloud-based application, there is a tremendous amount of trepidation. Primary fears tend to revolve around quality of experience, security and IT's ability to have the same level of control as with on-premises-based technologies."

    Thankfully, the cloud is already highly used despite such lingering and misguided fears. Like Curtis stated, businesses today will have to embrace the cloud to keep pace with the competition. Organizations that do embrace the cloud will enjoy some incredible benefits.

    Cloud Improves Business Agility, Tenacity

    From a power outage to a freak winter storm, enterprises are often at the hands of fate. Downtime has a way of creeping up on companies, so more are investing in the tools to prevent it. The cloud is very helpful here.

    Should productivity become impossible at the physical office for whatever reason, managers can allow their teams to disperse and pick an emergency workspace of their own thanks to cloud communications. They will be able to take their devices wherever they can get an Internet connection and resume their work as if nothing ever happened. Cloud UC and VoIP solutions permit team members to stay in the loop and continue collaborating in the face of adversity.

    Understanding The Advantages

    A major misgiving about the cloud is that it is just for cutting costs. While budgets benefit from the cloud, it also provides significant operational advantages.
    "I don't believe that business and IT leaders should leverage the cloud merely to get what they had before at a lower cost," Kerravala wrote. "They should use the cloud because it's better than the traditional deployment model, and it allows organizations to serve dynamic, mobile workforces better than any other solution."

    To improve daily operations and prevent downtime, invest in the cloud. Organizations will especially benefit from this technology when they utilize cloud communications solutions.

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