The cloud has proven itself to be an invaluable tool for modern organizations. While in-house servers are still around for many companies, the cloud has given businesses of all sizes and industries access to public computational resources that they otherwise could not afford.
Cloud lab environments take advantage of off-site hardware to deliver simulated IT environments to client businesses. The market for these tools typically comes in the form of Software-as-a-Service, or SaaS. The vendor company handles all the hardware maintenance and upgrades, while the client business only needs to pay a regular fee for the service.
Use Cases for Cloud Lab Solutions
Why would the average company even need a cloud lab? Some of the most common use cases here are:
- Sales demos. “Try before you buy” has been a salesperson’s favorite slogan for a long time, and the same is true for software sales. The best way for a new client or business to understand the value out of your product is to let them try it out for themselves in a simulated environment. Cloud labs are the most inexpensive way to do sales demos, as clients can access the content remotely over the internet, negating the need for dedicated hardware and software installations.
- Proof of concepts. There’s no better way to prove that your idea works than to simulate it in a virtual lab. Cloud-based labs offer an enclosed environment to test out new concepts safely. It’s even easier to share the results over the cloud. Minimize time to market using these online labs.
- Sandboxing. When it comes to software development and testing, ensuring that your product works in a variety of platforms and operating systems is vital. Instead of setting up individual environments physically, you can simulate each one using virtual labs sandbox environments. The result is faster development cycles and shorter times to market.
- Virtual software training. One of the best use cases is cloud labs for training. Instead of merely reading from a PDF or PowerPoint, cloud-based training labs allow you to simulate real-world circumstances for participants to practice their knowledge. This perk is popular among IT training and cybersecurity crowds.
Training is not specific to employees either. Business partners can receive intel from the main company in channel sales arrangements. Even customers can learn more about a business’s products and services through cloud-based lab training.
Ideal Features for a Cloud Lab Service
In the market for a cloud lab SaaS provider? Some important features to keep an eye out for include:
- A unified account system, where a single login is enough to access all the content
- Scalability to accommodate growing businesses
- Excellent customer support for dealing with potential issues
- Compatibility with several platforms, including web browsers and mobile devices for maximum accessibility
- Integrations with your current business tools, such as consumer relationship managers and learning management systems
- Feedback systems for collecting reports on individual performance as well as overall statistics
Cloud lab providers achieve these features through automation, proper security measures, and other internet technologies. Best of all, you can expect to pay less for the service compared to building your own in-house solution.
Cloud Labs as a Service: Your Organization’s Next Upgrade
Whether you call them virtual training labs, cloud-based labs, or just cloud labs, this SaaS solution should be on your list as a business manager. Businesses both large and small use it for sales demos, proof of concepts, sandboxing, and training purposes.
As cloud adoption becomes more and more widespread, modern companies need to catch up to stay competitive and avoid getting left behind.