Modern businesses rely on a wide array of software and web applications to keep their daily operations running smoothly, but the cost of innovation is steep. According to research from Gartner, worldwide IT spending is projected to reach $3.9 trillion in 2020, an increase of 3.4% from 2019. While every organization has its own reasons for adjusting its computing and data storage capabilities, the need to control costs is a universal concern. Without a clear implementation plan and IT management strategy, businesses can end up overpaying or wasting their available resources, whether they’re located on premises or in the cloud.
Although cloud services have made it easier to control desktop and security expenses, many companies are still struggling to maximize their investments. There is a growing need for cloud cost management, yet few companies have integrated automated policies that help optimize their usage – eliminating unused workloads, selecting lower-cost hosting regions, etc. – leading to higher back-end expenses.
Cutting costs in the era of cloud computing is easier than ever, but only if businesses are clear and confident about their objectives. In some cases, moving all data and workflows to the cloud simply isn’t feasible, requiring a hybrid environment that utilizes both new SaaS services and legacy systems. Regardless of how their infrastructure is organized, companies need to pay close attention to how they’re leveraging cloud-based services to avoid wasteful spending. With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at some key challenges organizations face when controlling their desktop and security investments.
Deploying New Tools and Technologies
Business technologies continue to evolve at a rapid pace, with new innovations hitting the market on a near-monthly basis. To keep up with the latest advancements in enterprise resource planning, customer relationship management, data analysis and more, companies are increasingly turning to cloud-based solutions that remove the need for on-premises storage and complex software licenses. One of the main advantages of SaaS products is that most are based on a pay-as-you-go subscription model, which allows companies to reduce their upfront costs. According to research from IDG, around 89% of modern businesses use at least one SaaS product in the IT environments, though most plan to ramp up their utilization in the years ahead.
Another advantage of cloud software is that most are device and location-agnostic, meaning users can access key data stores and dashboards from anywhere. This not only eliminates the need to buy a massive number of dedicated software licenses, it also prevents in-house IT staff from having to perform sweeping installations and updates. Additionally, platforms like Microsoft Azure offer a usage-based billing option, which can help organizations capitalize on modern capabilities without breaking their IT budgets. As noted in a 2019 SpiceWorks survey, adoption of AI-powered technologies is expected to triple in 2021, but finding the right platform will require extensive planning and a lot of testing. To avoid investing in the wrong IT solutions, companies will have to carefully assess their business goals and financial limitations before making a final decision.
Managing Multiple Software Solutions
As companies integrate more SaaS products into their workflows, end users often have to juggle disparate platforms and logins to perform even the most basic tasks. Spiceworks’ 2020 State of IT Report found that organizations leverage nearly 5 clouds on average, each with its own level of security and performance. Unlike traditional software, however, SaaS solutions give organizations the ability to adjust their computing resources on demand to maintain a desired state. For example, companies that want to limit their usage at a certain threshold or outside normal working hours can establish automated policies to help govern utilization and availability. They can also scale up their resources to meet temporary spikes in demand without having to upgrade their infrastructure or make significant changes to their networking protocols.
When it comes to reducing IT costs, maximizing the efficiency of software and web applications is essential. Without the ability to create custom workflows, dashboards and reporting tools, end users may struggle to complete their work in a timely and productive manner. Companies must also consider the back-end costs associated with their IT help desks and support teams. When new updates for SaaS products are made available, in-house administrators can choose to roll out patches to the entire company or to specific users. This control allows organizations to minimize business interruptions and unplanned downtime, while also giving them ability to test out new functionality in a closed environment.
Despite the rising popularity of cloud-based services, many companies remain cautious about the security of their data when using SaaS products. This concern is amplified for those making use of infrastructure-as-a-service solutions, as the integrity of their business information is completely in the hands of a third-party provider. Ultimately, the security of any service run on the cloud entirely depends on the protocols in place at the infrastructural level. In fact, misconfiguration of cloud platforms is currently the biggest threat to cloud-based systems, according to research from Netskope. This finding highlights the importance of cloud adoption planning and the need for overlapping cybersecurity protocols and IT policies at every level.
While most cloud services come with their own built-in security features, enterprises should still take steps to insulate their sensitive data from exploitation. When using any of the SaaS products offered through Microsoft Azure, all data being stored or transmitted is encrypted and protected by two-factor authentication. IT administrators can fully customize user permissions based on work groups or individuals, ensuring employees can only access the data and applications they actually need. These types of automated features can help companies reduce their operational costs without sacrificing security or oversight.
The modern cloud journey is complex and the risk of failure can be high if not done correctly, both in terms of financial losses and daily productivity. If your company is looking to make the switch to SaaS products, leverage IaaS to reduce hardware costs or streamline your IT management processes, ACTS’ cloud experts can help. To learn more, explore our service pages or contact a representative today.