Introduction to Cloud Computing and Business
The term Cloud often refers to a centralized location on the Internet, which is used for storing data, making it accessible anytime and anywhere from a connected device. Small businesses have been embracing the benefits that Cloud computing offers. The number of benefits that Cloud computing offers to small businesses is endless. Cloud computing can help businesses to save on time and money by offering enhanced productivity, improved collaboration, and promoted innovations.
Businesses have been using Cloud computing to access the information anywhere using any compatible device. Instead of storing information on computers, Cloud computing offers the storage of data over the Internet. Cloud computing makes the information available from a central web-based hub giving the proper credentials to anyone who has an active Internet connection. Cloud computing works by syncing the data from all the devices that are connected to the Cloud, thus, keeping them updated with real-time information.
The Cloud environment enables users to access all kinds of files, use office-based applications and even collaborate remotely while working on the same project. The data present on the Cloud is always updated and available whenever and wherever needed.
Benefits of SaaS for Small Business
The low initial costs of the SaaS applications can be attractive for small businesses and there is no large outflow of the capital for setting up an application on the computer systems that are used by these small companies. SaaS applications are usually based on pay per user basis and the additional costs are charged when the businesses use extra resources such as- storage and bandwidth usage. Thus, the businesses end up paying only for the actual use by the employees.
SaaS applications can be used on any device which can be connected to the Internet and there is no dependency on the storage devices present on each device. There is a low learning curve involved where the employees are already working on the Internet.
The updates and patches of the SaaS applications are carried out by the SaaS provider and these are done on an almost daily basis. These updates are made available to all users at all times. Thus, there is no downtime of the systems that are frequently associated with such upgrades.
Most of the SaaS applications can be easily integrated into any existing software being used by the businesses. It is easy to expand the capabilities for catering any increased usage within the organization once the minimal hardware has been set up in the company.
Cloud Computing for Small Business
Cloud offers many opportunities for the small businesses segment, providing them the capability for massive information processing tasks for companies of all sizes. The diverse ways in which companies have been using Cloud technology’s potential justifies the versatility that the technology offers to this business segment.
Following are five ways in which the small businesses can gain benefits from the Cloud technology-
1. Scalable Infrastructure:
Scaling cloud-based infrastructure is one of the fasting growing application today in Cloud technology. Web-based commerce has inherently unpredictable loads with an unexpected rise in the popularity which is responsible for carrying the potential of overloading the traditional servers. With a scalable-cloud hosted infrastructure, the failover systems can automatically push the host server in case of overloading.
Benefit for small businesses: The Cloud-based data infrastructure is efficient, inexpensive and responsive based on the demand. The user pays only for the server load that he requires, the cost for data management can be scaled with usage, thereby, providing the best economical solution for any small business. Paying for a massive local server space has become obsolete due to the advancement of Cloud technology.
2. Cloud-based Office Systems
Cloud-based office system offers better support for projects that are group-based than the traditional programs by allowing several users to work simultaneously, with all the changes being reflected in real-time across a large number of devices.
Benefit for small businesses: The live documents are often cloud-based office systems that reflect the changes carried out by all the users instantly, allowing a fundamental shift towards the collaboration between the employees. These workspaces also significantly reduce the responsibilities of IT professionals in infrastructure management, freeing up the time and resources for bigger projects like data analysis.
3. Remote Workspaces
The cloud-based office system also enhances location-independent office environments. This ability to collaborate over Cloud services gives the employees the flexibility and support to work remotely on the projects.
Benefit for small businesses: The telecommuters benefit the businesses to circumvent several costs that are associated with workspaces. Cloud technology perishes down the social barriers for individuals, and thus, laying the foundation of a more inclusive workforce.
4. Big Data Analytics
Towards the end of 2018, more small businesses began utilizing Big Data. Cloud computing has offered them the required processing power to organize and use large chunks of data. The ability to make betters is based on deep customer data that offers advantages such as the delivery of more relevant information to the customer base in a more timely method or even adjusting the customer needs and wants in real-time.
Benefit for small businesses: A large number of companies are shifting their focus in-line to the user-friendly data analytics interfaces avoiding many of the costs that are related to the analysis of large quantities of information.
5. Backups and Recovery:
The security of information has been a major concern for small businesses. The threats have been evolving quickly, and complete defense of critical infrastructure lies beyond the capabilities of a small IT workforce.
Benefit for small businesses: Cloud-based data storage also helps in addressing the security concerns by creating redundancy into a company’s information management approach. Hybrid systems backing up the local data to the cloud in real-time have been offering protection mechanisms against security-breaches, thereby, allowing the companies to reduce their dependency on physical infrastructure and manual backups.
Growth of Cloud Computing in India
A leading IT industry lobby has predicted that the size of Indian Cloud computing is expected to reach a three-fold value by the year 2022. The growth of this Indian market is expected to be at CAGR of 30% in order to reach the value at $7.1 billion. This industry lobby stated that the value of Indian Cloud computing in the year 2018 was valued at nearly $2.5 billion and this was dominated by the IaaS and SaaS segments. The growth in Cloud spending in India was recorded at a CAGR of 40.2% during the years 2016-2018 and this was globally the second-fastest spending on Cloud. In the year 2018, Cloud accounted for nearly 6% of the entire spending done in the IT industry.
The industry lobby has also estimated that the Indian IaaS market will be growing to $2.4 billion by 2022, which was valued at $1 billion in the year 2018. During this period, the IaaS market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 25%. On the other hand, the SaaS market in India is expected to grow at a CAGR of 36% in the same period (2018-2022). The SaaS market is forecasted to reach the value of $3.3 billion towards the end of the forecasted period.
In order to maintain this high growth, the government needs to set tangible time-bound goals for Cloud and keep focus on the infrastructural and operational factors like reliable power supply and high-speed connectivity. The localization of data and privacy regulations are also going to drive the Cloud adoption in India in the coming years.
Businesses be it small or large, have been adopting the new technology environments from time-to-time and the adoption of the Cloud doesn’t seem to be any different. The potential benefits that the Cloud offers are creating a new baseline in the field of information technology. Cloud technology holds the potential of not just improving information storage, but also the way in which the teams and individuals work with a high degree of accuracy to make the business decisions.