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By Gordon Davey, General Manager Azure at SoftwareONE

Gartner has forecast worldwide public cloud spending to reach $600 billion in 2023—but why has cloud taken the business world by storm? By moving servers and applications to the cloud, organisations can enable business transformation, cut back on the cost of running their own centralised computing networks, and improve the time to market.

As 2023 is fast approaching, businesses are laying out their strategies for the next year, especially as we continue through this economic downturn. The cloud can ensure organisations stay agile and flexible despite any disruptions that may come their way.

It’s a cloudy future as we know it 

With the Bank of England warning the UK may fall into its longest recession, organisations are re-evaluating their spending. Many departments may face budget cuts in attempts to combat the economic downturn. However, greater investment in technology, particularly cloud, may be recognised as a growth enabler despite the looming recession. Studies have shown that organisations and public firms that have adopted cloud technology saw revenue grow from 2.3% to 6.9%. In today’s economic climate where money is tight, organisations cannot pass up on the opportunity to see some revenue growth.

To fully reap all the benefits of the cloud, companies must have the resources and skills to manage workloads and filter data; but the skills shortage has hit organisations hard. UK Government data shows that 37% of UK businesses reported a lack of incident management skills, up from 27% in 2020. If organisations cannot properly plan and thoroughly assess their cloud use themselves, they should look to a Managed Service Provider for advice on creating a comprehensive cloud roadmap.

Flexibility is wanted, so that’s what is needed

The widespread uptake of remote and hybrid working provided organisations with flexibility and resilience against the pandemic. In 2023, the digital workplace presents a fantastic opportunity for companies to expand globally. Cloud can aid organisations in their expansion strategies, providing them with the scalability and agility wherever necessary.

When expanding into unfamiliar territory, organisations must think about a variety of distinct steps, including setting up IT infrastructure. Cloud allows organisations to host their IT environments wherever their employees or customers are located, allowing for rapid geographical expansion in ways that were simply not possible in the past. Organisations may not be fully aware of market demand patterns in different countries in advance—cloud gives the opportunity to scale up or down very quickly as required.

Securing your digital workplace

According to an IDG report, 92% of organisations have at least some of their IT environment in the cloud. While the cloud presents businesses with a great deal of opportunities, from a security perspective it can be a larger and more complex attack surface compared to on-premises infrastructure. In a cloud environment, the goal is often to have workloads and applications accessible to users from anywhere and from any device. With so many potential entry points, an unsecure cloud environment is a goldmine for cyber criminals, therefore a holistic approach to security is critical.

In 2023, organisations are going to have a greater focus on ensuring security penetrates every fibre of their digital fabric. Cyber criminals are intelligent, tactical and cunning, trying to keep one step ahead of every organisation. Businesses have no choice but to ensure key data is protected and vulnerabilities are efficiently patched. As the number of remote and hybrid employees increases, and as data needs to be accessed from an increasing number of locations organisations need to be careful not to leave sensitive data particularly vulnerable.

New year, new strategy

Like every new year, 2023 will be full of opportunity for all businesses. However, as the world experiences economic downturn, investing in cloud computing can help businesses ensure they are going beyond just surviving. Cloud has the potential to provide the elasticity and automation needed to improve operations and meet customer demands, all whilst saving money.

But in 2023, organisations must be mindful of more than just the looming recession. With more investment into cloud, comes the need for tighter security. If not configured correctly the cloud offers cyber criminals an easier way in – forcing businesses to bolster their cyber security strategies. With the right protection, cloud offers enterprises endless opportunities to grow and succeed in the new year.

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