Posted on July 8, 2014

Is Cloud Computing Right for You?

Cloud Hosting has garnered an enormous level of attention from companies spanning dozens of industries. Similar to any technology, however, businesses have to consider whether it fits their needs and is a safe, reliable option. Looking at the pros and cons associated with cloud should be your starting point on making an implementation decision.

 

Advantages

 

Low Maintenance

When you use cloud technology, your cloud provider manages multiple aspects of your system, including hardware, bandwidth and applications. Integration of software is also automatic. Your IT team subsequently can concentrate on other systems, processes, programs and devices that support your company, which can translate to a better overall customer experience and increased efficiency.

 

Scalability, Elasticity and Performance

Providers deploy cloud instances on an as-needed basis automatically, so you can buy the specific software programs and amount of storage that works for you, rather than paying for services or space you don’t need. If your business grows or downsizes, you can add or remove instances to get the performance you’re after. The performance itself is typically excellent regardless of your current scale, because cloud providers try to use the most up-to-date, cost-effective technological options to provide service in the competitive market. Providers also usually employ specialized data center technicians who can provide expert support if necessary.

 

Cost Efficiency

Cloud computing’s scalability by itself is a money saver for many businesses, ensuring they don’t have to purchase beyond their needs. Providers have developed different charging models to achieve even more flexibility, such as one-time-payment and pay-as-you-go. At the same time, cloud eliminates many overhead and licensing costs, such as those for software updates or stand-alone servers.

 

Storage Capacity

Although storage in the cloud technically isn’t limitless, providers usually are able to give you enough space to give you the impression that it is. You really don’t need to worry about how much data you are keeping, and you generally end up spending little, if anything, to upgrade the hardware you have.

 

Data Recovery and Backup

With cloud, you are not storing your data on a physical device, but rather on a strong, reliable architecture. Subsequently, it’s usually fairly easy to get information duplicated or recovered. The process is usually fast, too, both because cloud supports multiple platforms and applications, and because the providers are extremely competent and experienced at keeping client data safe and accessible. Most providers offer disaster recovery services by default.

 

Information Access

Cloud technology allows you to access, share and edit your data from virtually anywhere, provided you have a solid Internet connection. For businesses looking to work across states or even on a global basis, this feature is invaluable, enabling unprecedented ease of collaboration. The fact that cloud works with such a large range of devices–tablets, smartphones, traditional PCs and more–only magnifies its flexibility, supporting the modern bring-your-own-device (BYOD) approach many businesses adopt to save money and give workers the features they want.

Ease on the Earth

Environmental friendliness isn’t always the first thing companies consider when looking at using cloud, but the amount of energy saved by cloud’s efficiency is significant. Systems can scale up or down based on the resources needed, so power isn’t wasted. You also store massive amounts of data in a very small amount of space, all without the need for paper or ink.

 

Speed of Deployment

Compared to other systems, deployment of cloud technologies is often very quick, sometimes taking just a few hours or even minutes. It’s possible to add new users without waiting periods while also enjoying automatic software integration.

 

Disadvantages

 

Glitches

Cloud is a form of technology and subsequently isn’t immune to technical problems. Providers do their best to offer uninterrupted service with strong recovery capabilities, but outages can and do occur. Even if there’s nothing wrong with the cloud service itself, problems can crop up if your Internet connection goes spotty, which can happen for a range of reasons.

 

Security

Cloud relies on the Internet to work, and the reality is that anything you put on the Internet faces some compromise risk. You cannot eliminate the possibility of a security breach completely. You only can do your homework regarding providers, selecting one that goes above and beyond to keep cybercriminals away from your data. The higher the degree of confidentiality you need with your information, the more important it is to pick a reputable, experienced vendor, especially because your customers likely will place at least some of the blame for a loss of privacy on you.

 

Lack of Control and Vendor Lock In

As a tradeoff for the low maintenance cloud offers, you must give up a lot of control to the third party vendor you pick. Depending on how your business works and is set up, that inability to manage the technology and data independently can be a hindrance, with remote operation sometimes robbing you of features you’d get with local programs. Switching from one vendor to another also has significant challenges, so for all intents and purposes, you’re stuck with your provider once you start your contract.

 

Lack of Universality

Despite how flexible cloud can be, the technology doesn’t support all platforms, which might mean you need physical colocation. Providers also sometimes restrict the operating system, application and infrastructure choices you have.

 

Conclusion

Cloud technology is growing in popularity every day, and understandably so. It has huge advantages in areas such as collaboration, cost effectiveness and even environmental friendliness. The advantages of cloud do not erase the drawbacks it has, however, with security issues probably being business’ leading concern. The technology does not fit every business, so the decision to implement it has to be done on a case-by-case basis.

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