The age of the internal company IT department as we know it is coming to a close. Virtualization is rapidly displacing conventional IT infrastructure as more and more businesses take to the enterprise cloud, ZDNet reported. Network solutions provider Brocade projects that by 2016, physical IT departments will represent only 25 percent of company IT infrastructures out there.

Brocade systems manager Phil Coates said the fast growth of the IaaS cloud can be attributed to companies no longer seeing the value in purchasing and maintaining their own hardware. After all, the scalability and accessibility of the cloud lends it a user experience that a physical drive could never provide.

For its part, Australian-based application service provider Stargate Group said its move to the cloud – where it operates on a pay-as-you-go basis – was not only good for business, but also a fiscally responsible move. As the company's general manager Unar Altay pointed out, before its move to the cloud, his company would buy physical storage hardware and accumulate costs. But the cloud and its pay-as-you-go opportunities changed that.

"Pay as you go has a lot of benefits, especially around storage," Altay pointed out.

Limitless opportunities for SMBs in cloud
There are many other benefits for businesses that choose to join the enterprise cloud, particularly small and medium-sized businesses, according to industry insider Richard Reggel. Because of its low startup costs and significant storage space, the cloud enables smaller businesses to compete with larger-scale operations for the first time.

As Reggel pointed out in a recent Real Business article, the cloud is not merely a storage platform for these businesses – it is also a realm in which innovation and growth can happen at a fast pace. One of the main ways it does this is by providing employees with the ability to work remotely. The mobile nature of the cloud allows employees to work on business operations anywhere with an Internet connection. Some businesses are concerned that this mobility opens them up to greater exposure and makes their data vulnerable to a breach. In the enterprise cloud, however, stringent security measures exist to prevent against such incidents. Because each enterprise cloud is made to fit the needs of the business it's serving, companies can stay on top of data security at the same time that they explore the mobility of the cloud.