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via Milner

Cloud computing is taking the business world by storm, and it shows no sign of letting up. By the year 2017, 91 percent of businesses are projected to have integrated the cloud into their organization. Currently, 67 percent of businesses have either switched or are planning to do so in the near future, indicating that we are at a tipping point for the cloud. When you lay out the benefits to businesses, it is clear to see why so many organizations are expected to transition to cloud in the next three years: competitive advantage. Here are some of the key advantages a cloud-based network will provide.

The Basics
Adopting a cloud network reduces or removes server hardware and the maintenance that goes along with those boxes. This frees up an often over-taxed IT department to manage other duties, while providing quicker resolution to network issues and more secure data storage. Going to the cloud reduces network downtime and improves collaborative access to stored company information for less cost than maintaining systems in-house. Typically, a cloud-based network is more secure than in-house servers.

Adverse Event Mitigation and Disaster Recovery
For most organizations, something as simple as a power failure can be catastrophic. Unplanned network outages and downtime are responsible for $26.5 billion in lost revenues across the United States. Moving to the cloud mitigates the risk of outage because service providers have resources that businesses typically don’t have. These resources include multiple locations for physical data storage, flood and fire proof buildings, advanced backup procedures and around-the-clock monitoring for security vulnerabilities. So, in the event of a natural disaster or disgruntled employee, files are backed up in a separate physical location, safe and sound.

Economies of Scale
For small and medium sized businesses, cloud computing is up to 40 times more cost-effective when compared to managing their networks internally. These cost savings include not only the adoption of a virtual server, but utilizing a Managed IT Services company, something that often goes hand-in-hand with cloud computing for small and medium-sized businesses.

Making this switch is clearly powerful. 66 percent of businesses that implemented cloud computing reported both cost savings and improvements in continuity, while fourteen percent reduced their staff. Further, those using cloud-based applications spend an average of 25 percent less on personnel and 40 percent less on consultations.

Oddly enough, concerns about security and data access are the primary reasons many organizations have not adopted cloud computing. However, security seems to be the biggest benefit realized by those who have made the switch.More IT professionals indicate more trust in their cloud provider to maintain data security than they would trust internal security.

Considering that 94 percent of businesses reported an improvement in security after virtualizing their network, it’s safe to say that those adopting cloud for security purposes are on to something, and at a time where it is more critical than ever. 2013 noted a dramatic spike in targeted attacks, attacks leveraged at small and medium businesses, and a volume of data compromised by breaches.

Cloud makes collaboration easier for companies by affording easy access to applications, files, and communication tools regardless of where the employee is located. The cloud drives more rapid innovation and applications that analyze and manage big data, which can be centrally shared.

The workforce today is challenged to do more, with fewer resources – making automation notably beneficial to any company. Upon adopting the cloud, nearly three quarters of businesses noted significant reduction in time spent on routine administrative tasks, boosting productivity. Approximately half of surveyed cloud users documented improvements in efficiency and increased mobility.

With gains in both security and recovery, improved collaboration and efficiency, scalability and reduction of cost, it is clear why the cloud is taking over the computing world. While most companies are aware of these gains, many continue to hesitate about transitioning to the cloud, with concerns that may or may not make sense for their company. However, in time (3 years, to be precise), those who are not cloud covered will represent a very small minority of business owners. Those who simply wait for the storm to pass will be at a serious competitive disadvantage.