What is cloud computing and what are its benefits?

A cloud figure on top of a blue circuit board background

Today, businesses across the globe are facing unprecedented challenges as they seek to stay on par with the increasing demands from customers and shareholders. To navigate through these challenges and to keep a check on increasing IT costs, CIOs from leading corporations are betting big on cloud technologies for building new IT ecosystems to drive business agility and cost savings.

What is cloud  computing?

Cloud computing provides enterprises flexible and elastic IT-related capabilities such as software, infrastructure, and hosting in a pay-as-you-go model. Cloud solutions help organizations achieve a transformational shift of their IT operations from a capital expenditure to an operating expenditure for more predictable spending. Enterprises can leverage capacity on demand with the flexibility to scale up and down as needed, and don't have to pay for underutilized capacity.

Let's take a closer look at cloud computing with a simple example. Google's mail service enables users access to their email from anywhere via the Internet. Google provides the email interface and storage space required to host user data. Users can log in and access their email from any device at any time. This convenience of access drives high levels of customer satisfaction in their user experience.

What does this really mean for businesses?

A flexible pay-as-you-use model for managing key IT operations empowers businesses with the ability to scale up their IT infrastructure per business requirements and gain more control on IT expenditure. The advantages of cloud adoption cannot be limited to just IT transformation; cloud has the power to impact all aspects of the business, helping drive innovation and speed. Cloud technologies act as a foundational base for companies who aim to achieve digital transformation and create better customer experiences online.

Some interesting cloud computing projections

  • According to the 2018 IDG Cloud Computing Study, cloud computing is projected to increase from $67B in 2015 to $162B in 2020 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 19%.
  • Gartner predicts by 2020, Cloud spend will grow at 6X the rate of IT spends.1
  • The 2018 IDG Cloud Computing Study also reveals that 77% (population size of 550 companies) of enterprises have at least one application, or a portion of their enterprise computing infrastructure, in the cloud.

Popular cloud delivery models

Traditional IT Ops Cloud IT
Data servers and storage IaaS
Applications that have direct business impact SaaS
Applications that have no direct impact on business (supports enterprise applications) PaaS
  • Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) is a cloud service model that delivers IT infrastructure, like servers and virtual machine services, to help enhance the storage capabilities of an organization.
  • Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) provides a complete environment for application development and management capabilities on the cloud. This includes middleware, development tools, database management systems and data security-related infrastructure.
  • Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) provides enterprise business software (CRM/Customer Data Platforms (CDP)/mobile apps, etc.) on the cloud on an elastic basis where the business can procure end-user licenses in line with changing demands of the organization.

Popular cloud deployment models

  • Private Cloud or the on-premises cloud is a cloud computing service implemented within the organization and limited for access to its employees. For a private cloud, although provided by a third-party cloud vendor, the control and governance rests with the organization's IT department.
  • Public Cloud is a service, or a group of services, that can be accessed by any organization on PaaS pay-as-you-use basis. Public clouds offer the greatest level of efficiency and flexibility for an organization for an optimal utilization of shared IT resources.

Gartner predicts the worldwide public cloud services market is expected to grow 21.4 percent in 2018 to $186.4B, as compared to $153.5B in 2017.

  • Hybrid cloud, an amalgamation of private and public cloud, helps businesses spread the individual aspect of their IT operations in the most efficient environment possible. With a cohesive strategy and robust monitoring, hybrid cloud can deliver the right business results with optimal cost savings. If implemented properly, all environments in this model work together and provide a seamless user experience.

Benefits of cloud computing: How can your business make the most of cloud?

Cloud gives you choice. Cloud helps you try and test different options with regards to infrastructure or software and helps you choose the best solution that fits your business needs.

  • Scalability. Cloud allows you to quickly add or retire IT resources based on your business needs.
  • Get more for less. From application development to upgrades, or product development to testing, cloud solutions offer a path to a lower total cost-of-ownership option to meet your business needs.
  • Reduced capital expenditure. Cloud will help you transform your IT operations from a capital to operational expenditure for predictable spending.
  • Better security. When compared to traditional IT infrastructure, cloud can deliver better security and disaster recovery options to help businesses secure business critical data.
  • Better access and collaboration. Businesses can leverage cloud to ensure applications and business data are available to their employees and shareholders on the go.


  1. The Salesforce Economy: Enabling 1.9 Million New Jobs and $389 Billion in New Revenue Over the Next Five Years, IDC

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