Today the cloud is a mainstream part of IT, adopted at least in part by more 90 percent of businesses, according to research conducted in June/July 2014 by CompTIA. Still, many are keen on focusing on the drawbacks of cloud computing, including possible downtime, security issues, and lack of support.

But, one of the main benefits -- the 'silver lining' of cloud computing -- is increased efficiency. In the cloud, services are rapidly deployed and ready for use in a matter of minutes versus the weeks or months it traditionally takes.

Here are four innovative companies leveraging cloud benefits and improving workplace efficiency:

1. CliQR: Moving On Up -- To The Cloud

While most platforms aim to help developers write new cloud-based applications, startup CliQR Technologies is more interested in putting the applications that already run businesses into that business's cloud of choice.

CliQr is a cloud app management platform enabling companies to manage and secure apps onto public, private, or hybrid clouds. In other words, it helps companies move apps and workloads around in the cloud. CliQr lets companies instantly move apps from one cloud to another, or from their own data center to the cloud. This is a technology that supports a hot area of enterprise tech called "hybrid clouds" where companies run apps in their own data centers using the cloud as needed.

2. Cloudinary - Video Handling In The Cloud Made Easy

Anything but ordinary, Cloudinary manages billions of images, simplifying the lives of more than 50,000 developers worldwide, including those working at companies such as Cond Nast, Dropbox, WeWork, Outbrain, Taboola, and Indiegogo. Cloudinary's cloud-based software-as-a-service solution has emerged as the gold standard that developers of large companies and small startups alike use for their websites and mobile apps to solve image needs.

In addition to letting developers and site owners manage the thousands of images on their sites, the service also provides some really powerful tools to manipulate those images quickly and easily. All it takes is a few changes to the URL of the image to resize it, add a watermark, or perform a host of other modifications.

The company recently unveiled a new feature set for video, which provides developers with a technical solution to all aspects of handling videos online. Now developers can focus on their core product instead of spending time building and supporting their in-house video solutions.

"We are excited to unveil our brand new video support, a complete video service that complements our image-management solution perfectly," said Itai Lahan, CEO and founder of Cloudinary. "Our new service saves our customers valuable research and development, IT and devops time because they can edit things on the fly."

3. Totango - Helping Cloud Software Companies Make More Money

Now that you're set up in the cloud, who do you turn to for help? It's good to know that there are services out there in the cloud looking out for others. Totango, a leader in customer success and user engagement for cloud apps, is a startup that shows software sellers which users are at risk of leaving in order to maximize engagement, subscription renewals, and increased cloud spending.

The company helps SaaS vendors and online subscription services take a data-driven approach to reducing churn and driving customer success, product adoption, and trial conversion. Totango monitors customer behavior and usage in applications -- along with critical relationship data from CRM, billing, and other systems -- to generate insights on customer health and engagement.

The company's platform combines big data analytics with powerful segmentation and predictive tools to guide vendors in taking the right actions with each customer to create an active, engaged user base.

4. NextChapter - Making Filing For Chapter 11 Smoother

Filing for bankruptcy is never a pleasant experience. For bankruptcy attorneys, NextChapter makes the process of managing clients easier. The company's CEO, Janine Sickmeyer, has an extensive background in bankruptcy as a virtual paralegal. After struggling for years to manage administrative tasks for her own clients, she conceived the idea of a web-based solution to handle all of it.

We read about companies filing for bankruptcy, but we never stop to consider the intense work involved. NextChapter is lightening the load for lawyers.

Whether it's moving within the cloud or filing for Chapter 11, cloud users welcome innovation of all types for improvement. As startups continue to improve upon cloud features, we'll see plenty of benefits emerge that outweigh its disadvantages.

Do you know of any companies driving innovation in the cloud? Let me know in the comments.

Published on: Jun 25, 2015