The cloud has played an essential role in enterprise technology for a decade, but concerns over security, privacy, and compliance led many organizations to retain on-premises software despite its limited anywhere, anytime accessibility.\nThe COVID-19 pandemic changed everything. Companies turned to reliable cloud providers to make work from home a reality for their employees and scale operations quickly, accelerating the adoption of cloud engineering. At the same time, the cloud enabled more companies to forgo maintaining their own data centers.\nAgainst this backdrop, trust in cloud security among businesses has gradually improved, increasing adoption. The cloud has evolved from a technology choice or a pursuit to drive down costs, to a transformation enabler and the de facto standard for the future of enterprise operations. The cloud models available today allow organizations to leverage the strengths of each and solve major business challenges. However, given there are several options for cloud implementation, businesses should carefully consider the capabilities that modern cloud computing provides and the various cloud options available.\nThe evolution of the cloud\nAt the start of the last decade, cloud computing was new and not easily understood, so companies hesitated to adopt it. In addition, many cloud providers were unprepared and ill-suited to deliver solutions to organizations designed for on-premise software, rendering migration to the cloud useless.\nToday, however, cloud providers have evolved their services to meet the two key drivers: business needs (business function, added value, and increased agility) and IT needs (operational efficiency, security, and spend management).\nModern cloud computing providers now enable organizations to:\n\nSimplify business solutions with proven techniques and repeatable patterns.\nDemocratize access to technology: Making technology available to more people, also known as \u201ccitizen access,\u201d for app development, data and analysis, design, and knowledgebase.\nImprove enterprise agility and speed: The cloud integrates business units by enabling more sophisticated data sharing and enhanced collaboration through shared tools, allowing teams to speed up decision-making and problem-solving.\nEnable a rich ecosystem of digital services on-demand.\nIncrease value: Organizations can align technology with business needs through cloud engineering, which attracts new workers and provides access to new skill sets, such as DevOps, agile, and UX. The cloud also enables process improvements, such as automation and human augmentation, that increase productivity.\nBoost operational efficiency: In a mostly remote work environment, organizations can pivot from an enterprise data center to replicate data and app services across locations. The cloud allows organizations to scale on demand and enhances their overall resilience by enabling quick response to outages and disruptions.\nOptimize cost and spend: Cloud adoption provides flexibility with \u201cpay what you use\u201d options, allowing enterprises to spend more effectively while increasing revenue and retaining personnel.\n\nNot all clouds are created equal\u00a0\nChoosing the right cloud adoption model that can accommodate an organization\u2019s unique needs has become paramount. To take full advantage of all the cloud has to offer, it\u2019s important to know the differences between the adoption models first.\nFive models and their capabilities:\n\nA hybrid cloud approach\u2014adopted by nearly three in four enterprise businesses that have moved to the cloud \u2014 utilizes on-premise infrastructure, or a private cloud, and a public cloud, such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Microsoft Azure.\nA multi-cloud approach\u2014distributes the same types of workloads on more than one public cloud provider, with or without an existing private cloud. This avoids vendor-lock in, allows greater flexibility and splits the risk of an outage between providers.\nA poly-cloud approach\u2014evolved from multi-cloud, allows organizations to distribute different types of workloads to different cloud providers, taking advantage of their strengths. For example, an organization might use AWS for standard services and Google cloud for machine learning and data-oriented applications. By leveraging the most advanced offerings, enterprises can extract the greatest business value.\nIndustry cloud\u2014represents a broad range of industry-specific collections of cloud services, tools and applications optimized for a specific industry use case. For example, Microsoft and SAP partnering to deliver SAP supply chain solutions through Microsoft Cloud for manufacturing.\nDistributed cloud\u2014brings cloud capabilities to different physical locations\u2014cloud providers maintain and operate capabilities, but physically execute at the point of interest (near to the origin). Developed from the convergence of 5G and Edge, common styles include Edge cloud and Metro-area community cloud.\n\nThe cloud is no longer a future state for many organizations. To maintain competitive advantage, organizations should carefully consider the opportunities present in each model, such as lowering costs or streamlining business operations, before adopting a solution.\nLearn how PK can guide you in your cloud adoption journey at pkglobal.com.