Cloud computing has provided sizeable benefits to businesses of all shapes and sizes in more ways than one. What started out as an experimental technology has quickly grown into its own industry with a large variety of providers each offering their services and products to a growing customer base. Those customers have come to realize how helpful the cloud can be, but what we’ve seen in the past few years can best be described as the tip of the iceberg.
What the future holds in store is even more tantalizing, and that has lead many organizations to adopt the cloud for their own operations. Perhaps one of the main driving forces behind so much growth is how the cloud can benefit small businesses. In fact, one study from the SMB Group shows that an impressive 92 per cent of small businesses are using at least one cloud solution, even if that solution is as basic as email. While cloud computing certainly provides benefits now, what’s to come in the ensuing years may end up having an even bigger impact on smaller organizations that are constantly looking for new technological solutions to aid their growth.
To understand how small businesses will be impacted by the future of cloud computing, it’s important to first know how they benefit from it now. Some of the advantages are fairly basic, from lowering overall operational costs to helping companies do more work in less time and with fewer resources. These benefits are expected to continue as the cloud becomes more widespread and as the technology is perfected. That also means a more productive workforces with an eye centered on innovation. The cloud helps small businesses come up with new solutions to recurring problems, effectively streamlining the process by which these solutions are created. This same streamlining factor leads to faster delivery of new services and products. Again, these are all benefits small businesses can enjoy now via the cloud, only the benefits will become more pronounced in the future.
One major area of growth in the cloud’s future will be in its use of big data. Some cloud services already offer big data analytics, but they are currently in the minority. The future, however, will be one that sees cloud providers fully embracing big data and the advantages it provides for small businesses. At the same time, companies will also see how valuable big data is. Recent research shows that around 23 per cent of businesses are currently using the cloud for Database-as-a-Service (DBaaS). That number is expected to rise to 44 per cent by 2017. The impact of using the cloud for big data analytics is tough to understate. By providing access to big data for small businesses, organizations can get better analysis of customers, enabling them to tailor marketing efforts and products to targeted audiences. Big data can also help small businesses take that additional insight and use it to grow their companies, helping them compete against much larger competitors.
A significant factor in the cloud’s growth has been the variety of services it provides to small businesses. That variety is only expected to increase in the future as well. Right now, companies can find cloud vendors that offer Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), and many more. The diversification of cloud services will only increase in the future. Beyond the big data analytics mentioned above, growing services like desktops, security, storage, and others will also become popular, giving small businesses a wealth of options to choose from when selecting a cloud service that best suits their needs. This will help them operate at maximum efficiency.
Many of the predominant concerns and issues surrounding the cloud will likely be addressed in the future. While small businesses understand how cloud computing can be beneficial, many are reluctant to adopt the cloud over worries about security and privacy. Cloud providers are well aware of these concerns and continue to work hard improving their security measures so company data is well protected at all times. With better security and more legal certainties regarding privacy, small businesses will feel more comfortable using the cloud, in turn taking full advantage of cloud computing benefits.
While the future can be difficult to predict, it’s clear that as the cloud continues to grow, small businesses in particular stand to gain a lot. From more diverse cloud services to improved security to big data analytics, small companies will become even more versatile and productive in the future. The cloud has quickly proven to be an indispensable tool, and small businesses will be able to use it to the fullest extent as the years roll on.
About the Author:
Rick Delgado is a technology commentator and writer.