Cloud computing has revolutionized the field of technology in recent years. Almost every business, regardless of size or scope, uses cloud-based resources to their advantage. Organizations increasingly rely on artificial intelligence (AI), data analytics and automation to stay relevant; and the cloud is making these services available faster than ever.
In addition to speed, the cloud offers the ability to deliver a myriad of services at scale using technologies ranging from traditional virtual machines to serverless computing. As businesses need more flexibility, they also use the cloud to handle large volumes of complex traffic. The benefits that cloud computing offers to businesses are simply too great to ignore.
Cloud computing certifications are more in demand than ever for a good reason: They ensure that workers can both leverage and deliver on the promises that are in the cloud.
The cloud: today’s infrastructure revolution
Before the cloud revolution, businesses around the world faced a wide range of challenges in designing and operating their own IT infrastructure. What used to be a time consuming and expensive undertaking has been made even more expensive by keeping IT and security support staff on site.
However, cloud platforms like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud have been able to eliminate some of these issues. Today, global companies can focus on running, optimizing and scaling their operations using third-party cloud platforms.
How cloud computing is impacting international businesses
The cloud has changed the rules of the game for businesses around the world. Let’s take a look at five key ways the cloud has revolutionized the way global organizations work. Pay close attention to how cloud computing has revolutionized the way IT professionals support businesses today.
1. Fast scaling capabilities
International companies are increasingly dynamic and must adapt more often than ever to changing circumstances. Without the cloud, organizations around the world would never have been able to adapt to the global people and supply chain challenges we have encountered over the past two years.
A business that responds to market demands and ‘explodes’ seemingly overnight will need to significantly expand its IT infrastructure and effort in a short period of time. On the other hand, a business going through a tough time may need to cut costs a bit in order to keep costs down, which can lead to layoffs and reduced budgets for IT infrastructure maintenance. With cloud solutions, however, both of these scenarios are actually quite easy to manage.
Cloud computing providers allow you to quickly scale up or scale down your operations. Whatever your situation, cloud platforms will help you optimize your business’ resources and expenses in any situation. The trap ? You will need to train technologists to understand how to optimize your resources and match them to current business needs.
2. Profitability and savings
Before cloud technology became widely available, businesses had to spend a lot of money building their own physical IT infrastructure. This infrastructure often could not adapt quickly. It also became obsolete quite quickly. Additionally, organizations had to employ entire teams of experts to run, monitor, and optimize this infrastructure.
This situation was not tenable. Companies have often found themselves focused on thorny technology issues, rather than the activity of mapping out-of-the-box technology to their critical business concerns. The result was that companies incurred a significant opportunity cost because they could not focus their resources in the right direction.
Using cloud platforms allows businesses to stay active and use technology more wisely. Organizations will still need to employ specialist technologists to use the cloud. But workers of all abilities will be able to work much more efficiently with cloud resources. In other words, more employees – even those who consider themselves “non-technical” – will be able to use cloud technologies to create sophisticated solutions. As a result, technology will be truly integrated within an organization to create more useful business solutions. Some call this trend the “democratization of technology”.
3. The opportunity to improve teamwork and communication
Effective communication and teamwork are essential to the success of any international business. The cloud has become the primary platform for increased collaboration and the ability to harness talent more effectively. Over the past decade, collaboration between overseas teams, remote work, and local contractors using software as a service (SaaS) like Office 365, Salesforce, and Google Apps has become the norm.
Effective communication will be even more important as organizations face new challenges in the future. These challenges will include interpersonal and cross-cultural communication issues, as well as coordinating the use of cloud applications accessible from various parts of the world.
4. Enhanced Security – If Managed Correctly
Like any powerful set of technologies, the cloud can offer enhanced security, if managed properly. Over the past few years, organizations across all sectors of the industry have become concerned about perceived cloud security issues. One of the concerns was that the platform provider could access their customers’ data in one way or another. Most governments and businesses around the world are now convinced that this is not a problem and trust the cloud for even the most sensitive data.
Another perceived weakness was the perception that the cloud provider was fully responsible for all security. It is true that cloud platforms give businesses the freedom to choose their own security settings, restrictions and policies. Cloud platforms allow the use of multi-factor authentication (including 2FA), state-of-the-art encryption and advanced procedures. They can also provide the ability to automatically update certain elements of the infrastructure necessary to support a business.
But it’s important to understand that using the cloud involves a model of shared responsibility: the cloud provider is responsible for ensuring that the platforms that support an organization’s applications are secure. And organizations that use cloud-delivered platforms have a responsibility to make sure the code they create and use is secure. Organizations are also responsible for ensuring that they correctly configure applications and cloud services.
Consider the following analogy: If you are renting an apartment, it is the responsibility of the apartment complex to provide accommodation that meets fire safety codes. For example, the dwelling should have functional fire detection equipment and safe devices such as a stove, microwave, etc. But the apartment complex is not responsible if the person living in the apartment abuses these devices and starts a fire. That’s why the world needs more skilled workers who understand where uptime, business continuity and disaster recovery responsibilities begin and end.
5. Disaster Recovery and Data Loss Prevention (DLP) – More Possibilities?
Data loss can be devastating – and potentially fatal – for a business. One of the biggest issues with traditional IT solutions installed is that they are more likely to malfunction and catastrophically fail. If such a thing happens, it may be difficult to get your data back. Depending on the backup and recovery protocols implemented, you may not be able to save your data at all. Fortunately, cloud computing also solves this problem.
When you use a cloud platform, your data is stored off your premises on third party servers. Cloud platforms can keep all your information safe in the event of downtime or other issues. They can also implement advanced backup and security protocols so that no data is lost, even if the servers shut down unexpectedly.
Yet businesses still have to activate these services and also weigh the costs associated with their use. With the cloud, almost all services are available. But this availability often entails costs which must be carefully considered.
Keeping the cloud promise
Organizations around the world will continue to invest in technologies that will allow them to thrive. The cloud makes it possible to take advantage of technologies and architectures that were once inaccessible to most businesses. We live in a cloud-centric hybrid IT world, where cloud-based solutions will work with more traditional data center and server room solutions. As long as we have leaders and workers who know how to effectively manage cloud-based technologies, international businesses will be able to adapt to current conditions and thrive.
As CompTIA’s Chief Technology Evangelist, Dr James Stanger has worked with IT experts, hiring managers, CIOs and CISOs around the world. He has a rich 25-year history in the IT field, holding positions such as Security Consultant, Network Engineer, Linux Administrator, Web and Database Developer, and Certification Program Designer. He consulted with organizations such as Northrop Grumman, the US Department of Defense, the University of Cambridge, and Amazon AWS. James regularly contributes to technical journals including Admin Magazine, RSA, and Linux Magazine. He lives and plays near Puget Sound in Washington, United States.