“Work smarter, not harder” – that’s the saying, right? Executives are constantly seeking new marketplace advantages over competitors to put themselves one step ahead. Whether it be the latest and greatest in innovation, offering improved customer service or simply streamlining logistics for better efficiency, there’s always something to make a company stronger. However, gaining a competitive edge doesn’t necessarily have to be difficult, sometimes a simple shift – or migration – will do the trick.

The cloud’s superior ability to support agility, scalability and availability at much lower costs has been drawing companies from on-prem to cloud environments throughout the past several years. But are these the only reasons 71% of enterprises (companies with more than 1,000 employees) intend to grow public cloud spend by more than 20%? Certainly not. In addition to providing the aforementioned benefits, the cloud can improve businesses in a number of areas, specifically: security, ability to innovate and reducing compliance struggles.

Top 3 reasons cloud can improve businesses

Security

There are several factors as to why cloud is a more secure option than on-prem infrastructures. One is that reputable cloud service providers (CSPs), such as AWS and Azure, are able to offer better security to the underlying physical infrastructure (i.e. the racks, networking, cooling systems, etc.) as well as to the enclosing data center premises itself. In fact, even though the cloud shared responsibility model says a business is tasked with securing its applications and data, most CSPs provide PaaS tools and services to help you secure your network. These services include Amazon Inspector, Amazon GuardDuty, Azure Security Center, Cloud Security Scanner by Google Cloud, etc.

These providers can ensure additional security as they are able to take advantage of scaling economies to acquire best-in-class security solutions and top-notch cyber security talent. In comparison, most businesses are likely weighed down by severely constrained information security budgets and – due to the cybersecurity talent shortage – very limited or sometimes even non-existent in-house talent.

Often times, in an on-prem set up, security is typically the responsibility of IT or DevOps teams, whose original skill sets are far from the realm of security. To make matters worse, these staff members are likely already wearing a number of other hats and are stretched thin. The advantages CSPs provide by having the needed financial and physical resources allow them to implement security features, set up risk mitigation, or perform incident response protocols in a much more timely and reliable fashion across environments than companies whose main expertise and budgets are focused elsewhere. Seeing as cloud providers can take care of a large majority of security concerns for companies, IT and DevOps teams can direct their time and attention to supporting core business operations.

Ability to innovate

Businesses that migrate to the cloud are better positioning themselves to pursue innovative ideas. One reason being is that it’s more affordable and easier to prototype, develop, test or even roll out projects through the cloud. Additionally, when combining deployment options and ease of management of cloud, organizations are able to achieve faster time-to-market.

Also, it’s easier to set up high availability and redundancy in cloud environments. As a result, developers are less susceptible to disruptions caused by power interruptions and unforeseen disasters while working to roll out new features

Finally, there’s greater flexibility in the cloud, especially when leveraging services that offer advantages of new technologies while also absorbing many of the operational tasks.

A perfect example is AWS Lambda. Lambda’s serverless computing allows organizations to enjoy the benefits of computing resources and workflows while freeing them from the burden of managing instances, load balancing or provisioning. Bottom line is that it’s much easier to test new technologies when you can do away with much of the backend complexities.

Reducing compliance struggles

In addition to not having to manage infrastructure and being able to offload traditional IT functions to the public cloud (which then allows employees and internal teams to focus on building the business), companies can also offload several compliance responsibilities to the cloud as well. Many cloud services in Amazon or Azure are certified to be compliant with HIPAA, PCI-DSS, SOC 2 standards and many others.

This boost in compliance can be extremely beneficial for small businesses operating in heavily regulated industries (from a data protection standpoint) such as healthcare, retail or fintech. Cloud technology can considerably help these businesses to offload not only IT management but also risk management obligations regarding compliance.

Common misconceptions in cloud migration

These days, it’s not as difficult to convince companies of the benefits of migrating to the cloud. However, there’s still a slight hitch. When companies do decide to migrate, many tend to embrace common misconceptions that prove to be costly in the long run.

For instance, many believe it’s best to build the cloud first and secure it later, while others are under the impression that CSPs offer all the security needed. Still, others focus on cloud configurations too much and forget about other essentials such as data strategy. These misconceptions are discussed in more detail in our blog post: “Migrating to the Cloud: Debunking the Myths”.

Regardless of misconceptions, hesitations or full-fledged excitement companies have towards migrating to a cloud environment, one of the most important things to keep in mind is baking in security from the start. When organizations implement security measures throughout their cloud environment, it saves time, money and ultimately makes them more secure than they would be if it were tacked on as an afterthought. This ensures that the improvements discussed earlier can be realized in full.

Migrating IT infrastructures to cloud environments does much more than free up time and space for organizations – it provides them the upper hand over competitors. Cloud technology is the future for businesses, and to not take advantage of its benefits would be letting the other guys win. Moving to the cloud is not working harder, it’s working smarter.