Ever wondered how you can access so many pictures, videos, and messages on social media platforms? Have you ever used a GPS tool for travelling from point A to point B, and puzzled over how it all worked? Do you always shop online, but never quite understood how you can find so many products at the same time? Well, that’s cloud computing for you. Cloud computing is the delivery of computing services such as servers, storage, analytics, and software over the internet. The “cloud” refers to a centralised location on the internet that stores data, making it accessible anytime, anywhere, from any device. The technology is a paradigm shift from the past, where people would run applications or programmes from software downloaded on a physical computer or server in their buildings.From start-ups to global corporations, government agencies and non-profits, all sorts of organisations are migrating to cloud computing technology to deliver a broad set of services that help them move faster, lower costs, and scale applications. These services include creation of apps, storage and recovery data, hostage of websites and blogs, streaming of audio and video, and making data predictions, among others. Moving a meaningful portion —not necessarily all— of an organisation’s existing IT assets to the cloud is considered a “migration”. A migration might consist of moving a single data centre, a collection of data centres, or some other portfolio of systems that is larger than a single application. The decision to migrate to the cloud can be prompted by several milestones, including data centre lease expiration, required hardware upgrades, software license renewals, location requirements to meet regulatory compliance, global market expansion, increased developer productivity, or the need for a standard architecture.Moving forwardFor over a decade now, Amazon Web Services (AWS) has been the world’s most comprehensive and broadly adopted cloud platform. AWS offers more than 90 fully featured services for compute, storage, databases, analytics, mobile, Internet of Things (IoT) and enterprise applications across 44 Availability Zones within 16 geographic regions around the world, with announced plans for 17 more Availability Zones and six more regions.If your business or enterprise is looking to migrate to the cloud, AWS offers tools to help you do that quickly and reliably, be it simply lifting and shifting an existing environment, or migrating to SAP HANA. For example, AWS Snowball is the solution to choose if you want to transfer large amounts of data in and out of AWS Cloud, without worrying about high network costs, long transfer time, or security lapses. Similarly, Amazon S3 (Simple Storage Service), allows you to store and retrieve any amount from data from anywhere, be it websites, apps, corporate applications, or IoT sensors. Take Amazon Route 53: a scalable and highly available domain name service, that gives businesses the opportunity to route end users to Internet applications by translating names like www.example.com into the numeric IP addresses that computers use to connect to each other. Amazon SES (Simple Email Service) eliminates the complexity and expense of building an in-house email solution by providing a platform similar to the one the e-commerce major uses to interact with its customers. The stages of cloud adoptionThe path to cloud adoption is unique for every enterprise. The stages of adoption described here can be a useful way to understand some of the steps involved when migrating to AWS cloud. PROJECT: In the project phase, you are running projects to get familiar and experience benefits from the cloud.FOUNDATION: After experiencing the benefits of cloud, you then build the foundation to scale your cloud adoption. This includes creating a landing zone (a pre-configured, secure, multi-account AWS environment), Cloud Center of Excellence (CCoE), operations model, as well as assuring security and compliance readiness.MIGRATION: In this stage, you migrate existing applications including mission-critical applications or entire data centers to the cloud as you scale your adoption across a growing portion of your IT portfolio. REINVENTION: Now that your operations are in the cloud, you can focus on reinvention by taking advantage of the flexibility and capabilities of AWS to transform your business by speeding time to market and increasing the attention on innovation.Cashing in on the boonLet’s take a look at how cloud computing services, like those offered by AWS, are beneficial for businesses:1. Reduced costsCloud computing can help companies reduce costs as there is no expenditure on server maintenance, power and cooling costs, and software and upgrade expenses. Simply put, cloud technology from AWS lets you focus on your customers, rather than on the heavy lifting of racking, stacking, and powering servers.2. Global reachCloud computing allows businesses to operate from anywhere, and to extend their global reach. In other words, moving on to AWS will allow you to easily deploy your application in multiple regions around the world. As a result, businesses can provide lower latency and better experiences to their customers at a far lower cost. 3. Quick delivery of resourcesIn a cloud computing environment, new IT resources are only a click away, which means companies can reduce the time it takes to make those resources available to their developers from weeks to just minutes. 4. Increased flexibilityFor small or growing companies, cloud computing is the way forward. For example, if a project demands increased collaboration, firms can access collaboration tools quickly without advanced planning.5. Massive economies of scaleBy using cloud computing, businesses can achieve a lower variable cost than they can get on their own. Because usage from hundreds of thousands of customers is aggregated in the cloud, the providers can achieve higher economies of scale, which translates into lower pay.6. Improved collaborationCloud-based software allows teams in different locations to collaborate on projects without having to resort to email attachments. Employees can also connect through instant messaging and hold impromptu meetings using cloud-based technology.7. Safe storage of dataCompanies can use cloud-based service to retrieve data in case of a system failure or a disaster, such as fire or flood. Many providers allow businesses to save data in multiple centres across multiple locations in a bid to improve security. 8. Greater reliabilityA major advantage of migrating to the cloud is that new IT resources will now be just a click away for businesses. The time taken to make new resources or experimental innovations live and available to partners and customers is greatly reduced with AWS. As a result, there is a dramatic increase in agility and efficiency within the organization, which also results in greater reliability as a brand. With cloud-based services, companies are likely to resolve issues faster than a small business with only limited IT resources. Indeed, AWS cloud computing has allowed millions of active customers around the world, access to resources that would have been expensive and inaccessible for them in the past. It has also provided a level-playing field for all organisations, be it small or big. Across the world, Johnson & Johnson, Tata Motors, Bajaj Finance, Shell, Barclays, Haptik, CleverTap, Manthan, Philips, and Netflix are some of the leading enterprises that have increased business agility and reduced costs by cashing in on the technology. Read how customers have succeeded with AWS cloud here.AWS services are trusted by millions of active customers around the world monthly -- including the fastest growing startups, largest enterprises, and leading government agencies -- to power their infrastructure, make them more agile, and lower costs. Find out more about AWS online.