It’s coming at no surprise that the cloud evolves to become a not-so-secret weapon for many organizations and individuals alike. When speaking about the cloud, the potential for increased productivity, ultimate flexibility, and decreased upfront investment and cost is what gets into people’s mind.

In the past many businesses held out on using cloud based services for security concerns, which eventually by 2016 seems not to be the case anymore. Recent data and surveys show that cloud use is steadily increasing.

According to the RightScale Cloud survey [1], hybrid cloud usage increased from 58 percent in 2015 to 71 percent in 2016. Not only is this number promising, what is even more interesting is that 17 percent of enterprises have more than a thousand Virtual Machines in the public cloud, compared with only 13 percent back in 2015.

For many, “cloud computing” is synonymous with “cloud storage,” and it’s understandable why that’s the case.

A report delivered by the Cloud Security Alliance [2] determined that cloud storage was the cloud app category with the highest number of apps. Cloud Storage was also considered to be the riskiest of all cloud applications. However, the cloud is about a much more than cloud storage for individuals and businesses.

Here are 6 other ways one can leverage the cloud for business applications:

  1. Email - Because email is one of the most mission-critical application in today’s corporate environment, it needs to be trustworthy and ultimately reliable. When you use the cloud (instead of hosting your own mail server), you never need to worry again about uptime and email capacities. A service provider keeps your email running and most of the times the running costs are much lower than when hosting a traditional server in your own office.

  2. Mobile workspace - The cloud allows any company to provide the tools necessary to allow employees to work from anywhere. Emails can live in the cloud, important documents can be uploaded and saved to the cloud - so work can actually be accomplished in the cloud, and not be tied to a physical workspace within an office. The sharing of Files online is another good reason why the cloud enables a mobile workspace. When your organization uses a hosted cloud environment, most certainly there is a place to upload large or sensitive files that you prefer not to send via email. Some cloud storage providers also make it easy to edit documents as a group using online editors.

  3. Website hosting and e-Commerce - In today’s fast-paced world, no one wants to wait for slow websites to load. When you host your website and online store in the cloud, a drastically reduced downtime is often the key factor that decides about success or failure. Furthermore, scalability is a key factor in the cloud, especially if you have a reliable business cloud storage provider managing your services. A reliable cloud service provider can make it easy to deploy extra resources in expected high-traffic times, such as holidays or major sales.

  4. Backup - It’s imperative that organizations keep copies of their files - especially since you never know which documents will prove to be of value when a disaster strikes. Using online cloud storage allows for reliable file backup that can be done effortless and convenient. This is especially helpful when you’re moving offices or changing equipment, and it certainly helps to safeguard information against natural or manmade disasters like a flood or fire.

  5. Development, Testing and QA - Whenever an IT team is in the need of Testing, Development or QA environment for a new product line or app, save money and effort by using the cloud to deploy. There your team can test load time and run simulations to see how an application would work in real time; without actually going live or having to maintain a separate QA environment.

  6. Business apps - Within the cloud you can host your favourite business applications, giving your employees the ability to work anytime and from anywhere. When considering cloud providers, be sure to select one that can host a plethora of business applications.

If your organization is using the cloud, make sure to take full advantage of all its abilities. Focus on making your investment in the cloud count; and that means going beyond simple cloud storage.

  1. Rightscale, RightScale’s fifth annual State of the Cloud survey
  2. Cloud Security Alliance, Cloud Security Alliance’s Cloud Usage report