Businesses of all sizes have embraced cloud computing, including large enterprises. In fact, Gartner says that the majority of organizations have expressed an interest in cloud computing and that they expect it to be a major driver of IT revenue through 2014. It is apparent that cloud computing provides a multitude of benefits, even for big companies with large IT staffs. The larger a company is, the more “moving parts” it has to make work together. Cloud block storage can provide the glue that helps every area of the company work together seamlessly.
Required IT skills are moving away from selecting and maintaining hardware and focusing more on selecting and managing cloud relationships, because so many companies are moving to the cloud. The point of entry for many companies is backups, because it is a mundane yet time-consuming process, even for enterprises.
Doing backups in-house means that the enterprise must continually plan and budget to ensure larger and larger amounts of storage are available and to retain backup skills within the IT staff. It is much simpler for the CIO to budget for cloud storage. Usually, providers bill cloud storage by the GB or multiples of GBs, which makes it easy to budget for. Adding additional storage space is often as simple as making a phone call or sending an email, and the storage becomes available the same day. The per-month incremental costs per GB of storage are minimal.
This is much simpler than planning a year in advance to buy new hardware and storage in order to ensure that the money is in the capital budget. Using cloud backup requires no up-front capital expenditure and most companies expense the storage fees each month.
In addition to simplifying planning for hardware needs, cloud storage provides other advantages to the enterprise, including risk mitigation and disaster planning. Since by definition cloud storage is off-site, backup media is not stored at the company’s facility, which is often a requirement for insurance purposes. Cloud providers often have multiple facilities in various regions with backup servers that kick in automatically in the event of a failure at another site, so system downtime is negligible.
IT professionals often embrace cloud computing because they realize it frees them from performing repetitious day-to-day activities such as system backups, and allows them to focus on strategic ways to use technology to make the enterprise more competitive. Most IT people are attracted to the field because they feel excited about solving problems with new technology, and they often become disillusioned and bored when they find their days are filled with necessary but unexciting tasks.
By outsourcing backups to the cloud, the IT team has more free time to work on more strategic projects, including helping departments collaborate on projects, facilitating global communications and mapping new, more efficient business processes. User support improves when IT has more time, and IT can finally tackle the long postponed project backlog. Simply outsourcing backups and storage to the cloud can make the enterprise a leaner and more agile organization with a focus on strategic initiatives.