The Internet of Things (IoT) is finally taking over the world. Along with the rapid pace of digital transformation and remote work disruption, 2021 was a watershed moment for IoT too. It was the year when we had 10 billion active IoT devices connected to each other for the first time. But this trend might just be a scratch on the surface for what’s to come for IoT technology in the near future.
The second-order impact of IoT’s explosion is the growth and adoption of cloud computing technology because it’s essentially the backbone that hooks different IoT devices to a network and enables them to talk to each other. Without cloud computing, IoT devices are deprived of collaboration capabilities—which is one of the core IoT offerings. That’s because cloud computing is a centralized server that stores all the resources that IoT devices need to access when they have to carry out a task.
IoT offers a wide range of advantages to businesses looking to accelerate their business processes. At the very core, IoT offers two major benefits:
When you blend IoT with cloud computing, you get unparalleled business advantages to improve productivity, eliminate the chances of human errors, maximize operational efficiency, and thoroughly exploit organization resources without any wastage.
To be clear, IoT devices can run independently from cloud computing because they can do the data processing locally through techniques called “edge computing” or “fog computing.” But these technologies are not scalable and therefore rendered useless for growing businesses.
In addition to creating a single source of data for all IoT devices in a smart network, cloud computing provides high scalability at relatively affordable costs. For businesses that want to leverage IoT technology to optimize their operations, cloud computing offers many other advantages.
For instance, cloud computing makes it easy for manufacturing plants to easily access and run IoT assets from a remote location. The hassles of administering IoT for manufacturing are virtually non-existent because there’s just one centralized command center (i.e., cloud) to manage them. Cost-wise, there’s little upfront investment to set up and run IoT in manufacturing.
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According to various stats, about 88% of businesses in 2021 have adopted the public cloud. This goes hand-in-hand with another rising trend where 67% of all enterprise infrastructure is now on the cloud.
The fact that Amazon Web Services has a 32% market share—the largest in the cloud computing market segment—is yet another testament to the growing popularity of cloud computing and IoT for industrial applications. And there are good reasons behind this large-scale shift to cloud computing.
Here are the 4 primary reasons why cloud computing and industrial IoT solutions are critical for businesses across all industries:
Digital transformation (DX) is the new business imperative for any organization that wants to achieve a rapid growth mandate. DX is a surefire way for an organization to connect with its core customers and compete head-to-head with its fiercest rivals.
This kind of transformation is not complete without migrating your business data completely to the cloud. IoT cloud computing technologies accelerate DX for your business and speed up your time-to-market.
The deliverability of cloud computing through the Internet means that anyone in your business network can access an IoT device or relevant data from any location around the world as long as they have Internet access. In a long time horizon, this ease of access enhances team collaboration and improves overall business efficiency.
By virtue of not having hardware dependencies, cloud computing removes the barriers for its users to start using cloud and connected IoT solutions without having to overcome a huge curve. On-site solutions often need businesses to hire and designate dedicated technicians to manage software licensing, administer user roles and permissions, and train users to operate the systems. Today, most apps built on the cloud are developed with an aim to empower the end-users and reduce any friction in their user experience.
Cloud computing offers the benefit of processing data instances at high speed and provides top-notch agility for development teams that want to fast-track their software deployment processes. Development teams can experiment with new product ideas, design prototypes, and deploy the program in near real-time—cutting their dependencies from on-site hardware and long-drawn manual development cycles.
Cybersecurity is one of the top concerns for enterprises in today’s hyper-connected business environment. Gartner predicts that 25% of all cyberattacks against businesses in 2022 will be targeted at IoT infrastructure. It’s probably the reason why the market for IoT security is projected to grow to $18 billion this year.
But thanks to the cloud’s advanced security architecture, there are ways your business can mitigate most of the risks of cyberattacks if it happens to your organization. Cloud computing stores and handles business data in a way that bypasses the dangers of unwarranted cyberattacks. For instance, cloud apps by design require businesses to have federated roles to manage user permissions, grant or access granular permissions and restrict access to sensitive user data.
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The maxim of “when you invent a ship, you invent the shipwreck” perfectly describes the challenges currently prevalent in the cloud computing landscape. There certainly are endless possibilities when you combine IoT’s emerging potential with cloud computing technologies, but there are also a few shortcomings that businesses should be aware of to avoid costly mistakes.
Here are 4 challenges with cloud computing that can create roadblocks for your business:
As discussed above, cloud computing is the new hunting ground for cybercriminals because of the immense business opportunities that the cloud offers. Yes, cloud computing is relatively safer than the traditional ecosystem of hosting and deploying business-ready applications. But no platform is 100% full-proof from security loopholes, which generally stem from a lapse in human judgment.
Compliance and industry regulations are more of liabilities than risks for cloud computing. Cloud offers seamless ways for businesses to create, store, and migrate data across devices—but it’s not easy to do so without meeting the regulatory standards of an industry or the governance.
The IoT devices within a set cloud parameter have no problem collaborating with each other because they are programmed to do so. But with the increasing competition in cloud space and the proliferation of IoT applications, one major challenge that cloud computing is staring at is the compatibility with other devices outside of their network. It’s also a double-edged sword—improving cross-device compatibility means cybersecurity risks and lack of compatibility means limiting the scope and scalability of cloud and IoT apps.
Businesses have nuanced preferences for cloud computing. A majority of businesses use public cloud, some of them prefer to build their own private cloud, and an increasing number of businesses today are inching towards a hybrid cloud environment.
According to research, over 81% of enterprises prefer a multi-cloud strategy. But that means increased hassles in building and managing cloud-specific applications—which can turn out to be an administrative nightmare. On the other hand, it’s limiting for businesses to concentrate their efforts solely on a single cloud platform.
If you do a cost-benefit analysis of cloud computing in the context of your business, you will soon realize that the pros of adopting cloud-connected IoT devices far outweigh the cons. The challenges are minimal and manageable, but the business opportunities that cloud computing offers are massive.
If you want to future-proof your business operations and achieve business outcomes fast and in an efficient manner, you must have a cloud-friendly strategy for your organization’s success.
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