Cloud computing is changing the way businesses operate and spend capital, as it is no longer an IT optimization strategy. Rather, cloud computing has become an exceptional business strategy. IT budgets are increasingly incorporating the cloud. By the end of 2015, it is estimated businesses will spend roughly $180 million on cloud services, according to data aggregated by SiliconANGLE contributor Jack Woods. By 2018, an estimated $79.1 billion will be spent on cloud equipment. These numbers come off as absurdly high, but in fact, the more enterprises spend on cloud computing and equipment, the more cost-effective the business becomes.

Less equipment
Physical servers are expensive to purchase and maintain on-site. For instance, the more data servers a business uses, the higher the energy costs associated with maintaining certain atmospheric variables. Businesses must also factor in the equipment depreciating over time. So, not only do businesses have to plan for the immediate purchase of servers, they must also plan for future costs.

Switching to the cloud does not require expensive hardware costs, especially for infrastructure-as-a-service providers. Looking at 2015 trends, Computerworld surveyed a multitude of IT professionals. Of the 194 respondents, 43 percent expected cloud based services spending to increase throughout 2015. Furthermore, 24 percent of respondents said hardware spending was expected to decrease during the year.

More bang for your buck
Businesses looking to host services on-site have to worry about a plethora of issues, from firewall and antivirus security, to daily, time-consuming maintenance tasks. Finding a trusted cloud provider will eliminate many of those concerns and enable businesses to become more agile and reduce redundancy within IT departments, allowing them to focus on bigger projects. Sixteen percent of respondents to Computerworld's survey said cloud computing projects were the most important to IT departments in 2015.

What are these projects? They could range from the creation of enterprise applications to mobile management. 

Efficiency is increased
Slow equipment and websites can severely harm businesses in an age where everything needs to load in an instant. Cloud computing solves this problem, as the latest technology is used and kept up-to-date. In fact, businesses do not even have to worry about upgrading the equipment. By not having to worry about technical details, businesses can focus manpower on their customers and growing their operations. Businesses can therefore innovate with the cloud and increase their customer base.

Increased agility and reliability
If businesses notice an emerging trend or need to scale back operations, the cloud allows them to swiftly respond to the situation. A company will be better equipped to analyze data and enter a potential new market due to cloud resources than an organization still utilizing legacy infrastructure. For instance, companies can utilize the cloud to share and connect resources across numerous locations and this allows offices to quickly get up and running, whereas businesses still utilizing physical servers will have difficulty moving large amounts of data around on short notice. According to the Harvard Business Review, as cited by CIO, 49 percent of aggressive cloud adapters entered a new market in the last three years.

Businesses concerned about switching to the cloud should also take relief in knowing services will rarely be interrupted when working with a highly qualified service provider.

By this point, the cloud is vital to a business's operations. Cloud computing will not only lower costs, but will also help increase a company's efficiency and agility.