In honor of Earth Day, we wanted to talk about sustainability and the cloud. Cloud computing can make a big impact on promoting a greener world if it’s approached strategically. This particular benefit is extremely important but is not yet widely recognized. According to GreenBiz Group, 90% of companies around the world are moving toward sustainability. Large organizations can cut their energy use and carbon emissions by 30-60% with cloud computing compared to on-premises infrastructure, and that number moves up to 60-90% for SMBs. Cloud computing is enabling the transition to sustainable business. Let’s explore how!
Pay As You Go
The typical payment model associated with cloud computing is pay as you go. It’s a simple model that allows businesses to remain in control of their spending, but it also encourages businesses to consume only the resources they need, as they need them. This means you avoid wasting resources that don’t get used, which results in both energy and resource efficiency. This creates more efficient business behavior overall, and keeps energy usage low, prices low, and the impact on the environment low.
Today, few offices use their on-site servers to their full capacity. This means that huge amounts of energy are wasted to power unused machines. Cloud computing provides the power and computing resources that businesses need while also eliminating a lot of energy usage.
Virtualization is the underlying technology for deploying cloud computing services. It enables a physical server to act as multiple servers, which reduces the physical server footprint and adds resource efficiency as less equipment is necessary. Additionally, virtualization reduces the need for data center space, energy consumption, and a business’ e-waste footprint. The cloud centralizes computing, so a business ends up reducing the number of servers it relies on. Servers require energy to operate, so anytime you can lower the number of servers required, you’re heading in a good direction. Servers also require air conditioning to function, so ditching on-site servers allows a business to also cut down on temperature control.
With cloud computing, multitenancy is an option. Different organizations can function off the same cloud-based infrastructure without security issues. This ties into the benefits mentioned above, as multitenancy leads to fewer servers. When a cloud provider places multiple clients on one server, resources are shared, similar to how electricity and water services are consumed. This has intrinsic green benefits, including less equipment needed, a decrease in space used, and less waste created. This is a big improvement on traditional computing, which has each organization running separate systems and consuming huge amounts of energy.
Businesses account for a huge share of paper that is consumed, which is over 300 million tons per year. Cloud computing directs organizations toward digital operations, which will help reduce paper consumption. A paperless office doesn’t just help streamline workflow. It’s extremely eco-friendly, and cloud computing makes it more realistic. Businesses can start turning to digital technology for projects and collaboration. Simple things, like sharing crucial documents with users in other regions digitally, are good first steps towards sustainability and paper reduction.
Transportation and shipping leave big carbon footprints. Cloud computing can help reduce these by enabling businesses to share documents virtually, rather than through the mail. Additionally, remote working is becoming much easier and more common today, so talent that might be located far from the office can still work as efficiently and productively as employees located in the office. A long commute isn’t necessary. And for enterprises that regularly fly employees for face-to-face meetings, cloud can introduce virtual meeting services that will save money, time and energy.
Today, smart organizations are thinking about sustainability and green solutions. Not only will they promote a better world, but this green focus can also enhance a business’ reputation with customers who might be concerned with sustainability. By digitizing necessary functions and lowering emissions overall with help from the cloud, businesses can start making the move towards sustainability. Of course, the cloud isn’t the only step that should be taken, but it’s a good way to get started.
Smart 2020 found that within the next five years, information technology-enabled energy efficiency will translate into approximately $946.5 billion worth of cost savings. Cloud computing is really a win-win. Businesses can reduce their carbon footprint while also cutting down on expenses, increasing operational efficiency, and experiencing modern technology solutions.
Happy Earth Day everyone!