A Speedy Guide to Sustainability in the Cloud

November 3, 2021

COP26, the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference took place on 31st October – 12th November 2021. It seemed not only fitting, but also necessary, to bring the topic of the environment and sustainability to the topic of the Cloud.

Sustainable migrations to the Cloud could have the equivalent impact of removing 22 million cars off the road1. And 90% of CEOs agree that climate change needs to be addressed urgently, and 86% of CEOs believe that their organisation can play a positive role in addressing climate change2.

It’s vital that, as organisations undergo digital transformation and innovation, we ensure this is carried out responsibly, aligning with sustainability-centric goals. Cloud computing, as explored in our previous blog, is driving innovation, scalability, and agility. Migrating to the Cloud also has financial, societal, and environmental benefits that facilitate sustainable growth. In today’s blog, we’ll discuss how cloud migration can advance sustainability objectives for your business.

Efficiency in the Cloud

Compared to on-premises or legacy systems, migrating your applications to the Cloud has a huge impact on efficiency in these key areas:

  1. Energy-efficient infrastructure – because of economies of scale, cloud service providers (CSPs) tend to use fewer servers and more efficient power. The data centres are often located nearer to the power source and hence lose less electrical energy during transmission.

  2. Server utilisation – for cost effectiveness, public cloud servers upgrade their technology on a regular basis to remain efficient. Higher server utilisation means energy isn’t lost in the same way as traditional data centres.

  3. Power and cooling wattage – cloud computing data centres are built and designed at scale, using less electricity to provide hardware power and cooling. Comparatively, legacy systems often output a lot of wasted energy through heat.

  4. Scalability – relying less on hardware and physical systems facilitates scalability. When your business grows, you won’t need to replace hardware that requires thousands of litres of water and thousands of kilos of carbon emissions to produce. Instead, the Cloud is designed for scalable growth and innovation.

Reduce Commute Emissions

As well as improving efficiency, the Cloud enables remote working through data accessibility. If you can work and access your resources from anywhere, you can eliminate commuting when unnecessary. Private transport is one of the world’s biggest sources of greenhouse gases, with your car producing around 180g of CO2 every kilometre. With work-from-home as an option for many employees since the pandemic, cloud environments facilitate collaboration and secure data sharing, all while reducing your organisation’s carbon footprint.

Renewable Energy

Many public cloud data centres are powered by renewable resources and are proudly showcasing their efforts as businesses prioritise their climate-saving efforts:

  • Microsoft aims to be carbon negative by 2030.
  • Google is the largest non-utility investor in renewable energy in the world.
  • AWS aims to power their operations with 100% renewable energy by 2025.


Business Drivers

Convincing stakeholders of the benefits of sustainable operations can be a challenge. It’s important to recognise that businesses who fail to innovate responsibly will fall behind their competition. There are opportunities to reduce costs in hardware and operations by becoming more cost-efficient with cloud technology. Thinking long-term, your business will benefit from both efficiency savings and scalable growth with a sustainability-centric strategy.

Legacy hardware lacks the opportunity for environmentally friendly growth and development. The Cloud, as so many organisations are already using, presents the freedom to upgrade and scale with advanced technologies that prioritise sustainability for cost-effectiveness, so your choice is made easy.


Besides all these benefits, one question remains: security. This is often an afterthought as projects are in-flight or – worse – in production, without any governance. We often find organisations where IT security has no idea how many cloud systems are in place. Providing a secure cloud onboarding platform, for both public and private cloud, is an essential building block for good governance and robust security. This should be trivially easy for the organisation and provide SSO and MFA standards-based functionality as well as user lifecycle support, request for access and attestation of access.

Now is a good time to remind the reader that cloud migration isn’t an overnight switch. If you’re looking to move your applications to the Cloud or are in the process of doing so, get in touch with the Intragen team for expert guidance. You can email info@intragen.com or visit our contact page today.