8 min

Top 10 Benefits of Cloud Computing

As you look to acquire new computing capabilities and/or to get out from under ownership and in-house management of IT equipment and applications, here are 10 benefits and advantages of moving to the cloud.

What's Inside
  • Cloud service offerings

    Learn more about Software as a Service, Infrastructure as a Service and Platform as a Service.

  • Top benefits of cloud

    Today’s cloud offers many benefits and advantages. Here are some of the most compelling.

  • How CDW can help you with cloud

    Looking to leverage the power of the cloud for your business workloads? Check out CDW’s comprehensive cloud managed services for AWS and Azure.

Holographic projection of a cloud on a 3d render of processor.

You’d be hard pressed to find an individual or business that doesn’t rely on some form of cloud computing in their personal and professional lives. Cloud computing is everywhere today, but the history of the cloud and the road that took the world to shared information technology and distributed computing is a long and winding path.

Distributed computing powered by communication networks emerged as an idea as early as the 1950s and 1960s but was more of a novelty and a rarely applied computing model. It wasn’t until the mid-1980s when organizations began building and managing local area networks (LANs) and connecting client/server computing for file exchange and printer services that the mainstream notion of business computing resource sharing truly took hold.

With the emergence of the internet and the World Wide Web in the early 1990s, businesses increasingly pivoted towards a distributed business computing through the use of wide area network (WAN) connections from telecommunication providers. But those early offerings, particularly through internet connections enabled by dial-tone modems, were plagued by slow and unreliable connectivity that too often resulted in frustrating and underwhelming user experiences.

As Ethernet technology became the de facto standard for all network connectivity by the late 1990s, data transfer speeds accelerated to gigabit-per-second heights and early iterations of software “hosting” and remotely delivered services began emerging. These were the days of application service providers (ASPs) who were among the cloud service pioneers but were also mostly come-and-go players who over-promised and under-delivered.

By the new millennium, larger and more established IT vendors fully recognized the market demand for computing capability by all types of businesses and organizations, and a desire by many to support flexibility through what was then described as telework. Vendors took to the internet to offer software and data storage as managed services. Connection speeds and network management had improved so significantly that, by 2010, reliable email services and remote storage offerings were quickly replacing in-house owned and managed systems. The cloud had finally arrived, and cloud providers were delivering computing power, applications and data storage capability as managed services to the market.

Cloud service offerings

Today, the cloud transformation is in high gear. It has re-invented how applications are delivered, redefined how most businesses and individuals leverage compute power through “as-a-service” delivery of IT and is the underpinning for organizations that are embracing digitization and digital process transformation.  

Research from 2022 reveals 60 percent of all corporate data was stored in the cloud, 48 percent of businesses had put their most important data there and 94 percent of companies were using cloud services. Among the types of cloud offerings being used by businesses are:

  • Software as a Service (SaaS): Most major software vendors now deliver their software through the cloud and customers purchase licences for the right to use it rather than outright owning copies. SaaS ensures the most up-to-date versions are available and, because software is hosted and accessible through the cloud, SaaS customers can access these applications from anywhere and on any device.

  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS): Storage, servers and other “virtual” computing hardware are among the offerings delivered by IaaS cloud service providers. This computing capability is purchased in a utility fashion, where users pay a metered rate for as little or as much hardware computing resources as they require or consume. IaaS cloud service providers own and manage the customer-utilized IT hardware and provide access to it through public (internet), private network connections or a combination of both.

  • Platform as a Service (PaaS): Application and systems developers look to PaaS cloud service providers for development environments that allow them to build and test. These “hosted” resources offer a cost-effective alternative to the traditional approach of creating and managing an in-house application and system development test bed. PaaS providers offer the advantages of greater accessibility to development resources and the ability to scale these testing environments as required. PaaS includes servers, network, storage, operating systems and databases.

Top benefits of cloud

As companies look to acquire new computing capabilities and/or to get out from under ownership and in-house management of IT equipment and applications, today’s cloud offers many benefits and advantages. Among the most compelling are:

Cost certainty and savings

Cloud service providers charge monthly recurring fees for their offerings and turn IT into a much more predictable expense. Because there’s no cost of equipment or software ownership for customers that use cloud, there’s also no potential for runaway in-house costs due to unexpected or unanticipated circumstances. The cloud eliminates the expense of in-house IT management and other significant costs such as electrical power consumption for the operation and cooling of high-end IT equipment.  

Rapid IT deployment

Typical in-house installation and deployment of software and hardware can take weeks or months and usually requires IT expertise to perform the work. IT provisioning in the cloud sees rapid and hassle-free deployment thanks to preconfigured applications and systems that make it much easier for customers to get started. And cloud providers have the IT expertise on staff that many organizations simply cannot afford.

No capital investment required

Not so long ago, budgeting for new IT systems and software or to refresh aging technology was a matter of allocating funds over many years. Sourcing IT through the cloud requires no ownership and eliminates the need for capital budget allocations.  

Pay as you grow

Need to expand your IT capacity to accommodate new users, bring in greater functionality or additional capacity? With cloud computing services, an organization simply purchases the additional technology resources required. Conversely, if capacity and resources are no longer needed then a business can reduce or eliminate IT application licences, unused functions or systems.

Technology democratization

Back in the days when owning and managing IT were the only computing options available, high-performance systems and software were unaffordable to smaller businesses. The cost of expertise to install, integrate and manage IT put technology investment even further out of reach for many. But today’s cloud service providers offer high-performance technologies at a much more affordable price through economies of scale achieved by serving many different customers and addressing a wide range of IT workloads.  

Built in cybersecurity

Cloud service providers can typically offer a far more secure environment for many IT applications and systems compared to what most average businesses can create themselves. Cloud providers deliver 24/7 ongoing network and computing resource monitoring and typically use automated responses and action to isolate and block perceived cybersecurity threats. Cloud data centres feature state-of-the-art security technologies and highly skilled IT security professionals. Conversely, a smaller organization might struggle to have even basic security event management or security orchestration through automation and response.  

Access anywhere/anytime

Among the most compelling aspects of computing in the cloud is a shift away from enterprise data centres being the focal point for computing capability and removing the constraints of locked away IT resources. Access to IT through secured public cloud-delivered services support computing from any connected location and through any secured device. Such convenience and flexibility are highly appealing to organizations that need always-on, anywhere remote access for their workers.

Latest and greatest resources

As has been previously mentioned, there’s no need to ever upgrade or replace hardware and software when a cloud service provider delivers all of your IT applications, systems and processes. They own the equipment and resources.

Maintenance- and management-free IT

Research shows 60 percent of the lifecycle costs of software systems come from maintenance. Other significant expenses related to IT systems and software can include design, development, deployment and integrations. In addition, there’s the ongoing day-to-day costs of monitoring, management and system/user support. It all adds up to significant additional expenses for in-house technology assets. Cloud providers take ownership of these management and support tasks in the delivery of IT as a service to customers.

Backup and restore/disaster recovery

Most cloud service providers have a range of data protection offerings to ensure things don’t get lost or disappear when a disaster strikes. Remote backup services in the cloud can be real time, ensuring little if any gap exists between the time of a system failure and the most recent and available backup. Cloud backup and restore is a lower-cost capability that can be scaled to address the scope and volume that an organization may require.

How CDW can help you with cloud

Looking to leverage the power of the cloud for your business workloads? Check out CDW’s comprehensive cloud managed services for AWS and Azure, backed by more than 20 years of managed services support experience. CDW’s AWS- and Azure-certified architects, consultants and engineers help with deployment, configuration, installation and day-to-day management of cloud solutions. They work closely with your organization to help you build an end-to-end cloud management strategy.