The sky’s the limit: the 6 advantages (and 3 disadvantages) of cloud computing

You know that cloud computing plays a major role in digital transformation, but you’re still not entirely sure why or whether the much-talked-about benefits of cloud can actually be delivered in practice. Let us explain …

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Think about the difference cloud computing has made to your everyday life; Gmail, Google Drive, even Facebook and Instagram; all cloud-based applications that hold personal data for sharing across different networks. Now imagine if that freedom, mobility and scale could benefit your work environment too.

Cloud computing, according to the dictionary, means ‘the practice of using a network of remote servers hosted on the internet to store, manage and process data, rather than a local server or a personal computer’.

Beyond the basic definition – and in the real world – this means cloud computing being part of pretty much everything we do in daily life. Banking apps, social media, photo storage, email, online shopping; it’s all possible thanks to the cloud.

Of course, it’s not just our personal lives; businesses and governments are increasingly reliant on cloud computing too. Nevertheless, the level of use among SMEs is still slightly subdued: According to eurostat figures, 45.2% of EU companies purchased cloud computing services in 2023. While 77.6% of large companies purchased cloud computing in 2023, only 41.7% of small companies and 59.0% of medium-sized companies did so. We would therefore like to list the 6 biggest advantages of cloud computing once again.

The 6 achievable advantages of cloud computing

If you were to ask these organisations what advantages they have discovered to cloud computing, their answer would be something like this …
  1. It’s flexible: Cloud computing offers you and your business a highly flexible way of working. The right cloud computing plan can be altered according to the business needs of a company. Often, you have the choice between different cloud SLAs. Minimise the lead time needed to implement new resources, deploy new applications or add new users anytime, anywhere.
  2.  It’s scalable: Cloud provides elasticity – again, the perfect fit for a fast-changing and increasingly uncertain world. If you have a slower business period, you don’t need to worry about maintaining an oversized computing budget; you can simply scale down. And if you’re (hopefully) having a better business period, you scale up. Instead of purchasing excess capacity that just sits unused during slow business periods, you can boost your network capacity up and down in tune with your business needs.
  3.  It’s cost-effective: Upfront costs are drastically reduced. The capital expenditure required to buy hardware and software and run on-premise data centres and servers is removed. Cloud computing also lets you offload some or most of the costs and effort associated with purchasing, installing, configuring and managing your own on-premises infrastructure, like servers, and frees up investment for elsewhere in your business. Instead, you pay for resources on a subscription basis and pay as you go.
  4.  It optimises productivity: Cloud computing services provide ongoing maintenance for all resources that your company uses. Software updates and security patches are done for you, ensuring your data is safe, secure and free from cyber threats such as ransomware. Since these updates are automatic, cause no service interruption, and regularly bring new optimisations and features, you are suddenly free of a huge IT maintenance burden. And by letting go of that worry, you can simply worry about making your business as good as it can be.
  5.  It’s perfect for remote and hybrid working: Cloud computing enables flexible working, because basically, cloud services are available to anyone, anywhere, any time (as long as they have an internet connection). Employees can have fast, secure and stable access to all applications and data from wherever they happen to be, with equal productivity from home, the road or the office. Printing is the prime example. Thanks to cloud printing, employees can send their documents to the cloud while on the move. Once they arrive in the office, these documents can be printed out with authentication and distributed to meeting participants. The reverse also works: let’s say you’ve just had an important business document sent to your smartphone and want to read it through on paper at home in peace. And because your home office printer is also connected to the cloud, you can do this conveniently when you get home. Yes, it’s true. Mobile printing has been around for a long time. But with ‘classic’ mobile printing, the mobile device and the printing device must be on the same network or accessed by a VPN. This is not necessary with cloud printing.
  6.  It’s safe for any world: Data security is the most-cited concern about moving a business to cloud. And certainly, your data is the most valuable thing you own, and it’s natural to feel wary about sending it to an external provider. From servers stored under people’s desks to limited in-house security experts, there are many reasons why cloud can actually be more secure than on-premise. For peace of mind, simply check your cloud provider guarantees the highest security standards. This includes a Zero Trust Policy, a data centre that is ISO 27001–certified (data centres in the EU particularly have to satisfy an extensive range of high requirements related to GDPR compliance), end-to-end encryption for your data and disaster recovery measures to include failover to an alternative data centre. Also check for 24/7 monitoring, an uninterruptable power supply approach and ongoing automatic security updates.

And once everything is secure, the possibilities of cloud computing are endless. For example, you can migrate your IT infrastructure and software to the cloud. You can find out more about this in these two blog articles: IaaS: start afresh with Infrastructure as a Service and SaaS: secure competitive advantages with Software as a Service.

The 3 small disadvantages of cloud computing

But, of course, it’s not all so perfect. Like most things in life, switching to cloud computing does come with its downsides. Luckily all easily solvable downsides, but downsides, nevertheless.
  1. One size does not fit all: Cloud computing is a general term, not an actual thing. There are in fact different cloud models available, like public (delivered by the internet and shared with other organisations), private (solely used by your business) and hybrid (a mixture of both) – and you need to make sure you use the right approach for your own unique business. Depending on your individual needs, you may even combine all the cloud models with a multi-cloud strategy (different clouds for different tasks).
  2. Change does not fit all: The physical shift from on-premise computing to cloud computing might be seamless and easy, but the emotional side may not be. Even though the switch will mean little disruption and easier working for your employees, it may take a bit of convincing to bring some of them round. It’s only natural that some people are wary of tech change (especially if they fear data privacy breaches), and you will need to implement a suitable change strategy that brings everyone on board.
  3. You will need help: The integration of cloud into an existing infrastructure is not something you can do on your own. It needs to be planned and implemented professionally, and it is always best to use an external partner who can help set up your perfect implementation strategy.


Finding the right cloud computing partner

And how do you recognise a reliable cloud computing vendor?  You can recognise the right cloud partner by 4 important criteria, among others:

  1. Security: Choose a partner with robust security measures
  2. Reliability: Choose a partner that offers high uptime and availability
  3. Scalability: Choose a cloud provision that can expanded and reduced whenever required
  4. Support: Choose a partner that provides the right levels of support

You can read more about choosing the right partner in this blog article. When you read it, you will quickly realise that it is about cloud print. Although we at Konica Minolta have our roots in the print sector, we have also been able to utilise our experience with print infrastructures and print software in the on-premise and cloud sectors in other IT areas in a valuable way. Because let's be honest: print devices are nothing more than IT devices these days and the management of print environments is one of the IT-relevant tasks.
  1. We offer you robust security measures: We have two dedicated European data centres that are ISO 14001 certified and ensure your data is GDPR compliant. Our private cloud guarantees complete network isolation of your platform. We also offer end-to-end encryption of your data during storage and transmission. Read more about our security measures in this blog article.
  2. We offer you high uptime and availability: The two data centres are located in Hanover, Germany, and Stockholm, Sweden, and back each other up. If, contrary to expectations, a failure occurs in one data centre, the other is still available. All services provided are highly automated and fully standardised to ensure secure, fast and flexible provision with consistently high quality. Access to the services is possible at any time via secure VPN connections.
  3. We can expand or reduce your platform whenever required: Business growth can be driven, but crisis situations cannot always be foreseen. However your individual situation may change, whether you need more or less computing, storage or network capacity, we adapt to you.
  4. We provide you the right level of support: We agree the availability profiles and response times in the event of faults with you in an SLA. Our 24/7 monitoring ensures that any problems or security threats are recognised immediately. Depending on the type, these can also be rectified immediately via remote access. Konica Minolta takes care of all other issues in accordance with the SLA agreed with you.
Our focus is on small and medium-sized companies, whose requirements we have been familiar with for decades and have always supported them in their digital transformation journeys. We are convinced that there is no general “right” solution for all companies. We therefore focus on personalised advice and support. Instead of several external partners, SMEs can rely on Konica Minolta as a single partner for all their print and IT needs.

More information about cloud printing:

By moving your print infrastructure to the cloud, you will not only improve mobile working, you also relieve IT personnel from the burden of managing various printer servers.

Secure your documents using cloud services

Want to work from anywhere but be able to access documents and print them securely? Moving to a secure cloud-based solution could be the right move for you. Watch our webinar 'Secure your documents using cloud services' where we gained valuable insights from our special guests, Mick Heys, Vice President, Future of WorkSpace & Imaging, IDC EMEA and Thomas Areas, Head of IT at BridgingIT GmbH.

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