The Pros and Cons of Cloud Computing
Cloud computing has been a hot topic for some time; operating systems based on online servers are slowly replacing traditional operating systems on internal hard disks. However, if you are still unsure whether to make the switch, it’s good to weigh up the benefits and disadvantages.
Here are a few main points to help you decide whether your business should make the change to the cloud.
Cloud vendors going out of business
Like most new technology, it’s fast paced and constantly evolving. That’s why unfortunately, like many start-ups, they can go out of business or can rapidly change their service. You should always check how you can back up your data, as it would be detrimental if you have moved your entire database over, only to find out that your data has been jeopardised. It is best practice for your cloud provider to enable you to download your data in a non-proprietary format, meaning that you can open your data in a variety of word processing software programmes.
Although cloud servers are relatively secure, especially following the rising number of high profile breaches recently, there is still a risk of an attack. Storing data using an outside source is always risky and this should be considered when deciding to make the switch.
Make sure that thorough research goes in to the cloud company to see if they follow the maximum compliance requirements for data security. In addition, privacy concerns will need to be full understood and addressed as third party services could have access to your data.
Downtime is another major concern for those wanting to convert to cloud services. A good internet connection is vital, because otherwise it can lead to extensive downtime during which employees will not be able to access data. So before you make the decision, ensure that your connection is reliable.
Cost can be seen as either a positive or a negative. Every business wants to keep their costs down, however with the cloud, it means that you have a continuous cost rather than a one-off investment. Nevertheless, some could argue that this is still a much lower cost compared to regularly having to update your own hardware. Although you have to pay a monthly subscription to the cloud, this actually means that you don’t need your own servers or complicated and expensive infrastructures in place.
Essentially, you are able to connect to the internet, rather than paying for locally installed software packages. They will also be automatically updated to the newest version rather than having to do updates yourself.
One of the key benefits to Cloud computing is that you can have all of your data in one easy and manageable place – meaning that you don’t have to update your business hardware as often as you normally would without the cloud.
Service providers will back up all data regularly, meaning it is much less likely for data to be lost. In addition, it also means data is not physically on devices, so if it is lost or stolen productivity can be kept as you can start working on another computer right away.
Although there is always a security risk, cloud computing providers are changing rapidly. They acknowledge that they have a more competitive advantage when they offer more in terms of security and privacy. Providers are going through great measures to ensure that they are as protected as possible.
As businesses become more flexible, there is often the chance that people start to work offsite. There is much more flexibility for work opportunities by using the cloud, allowing you and your team to work wherever and whenever you want. Collaboration is also easier, enabling you to be connected wherever you are.
Overall, it is evident that there are benefits and disadvantages to cloud computing. The business landscape is continuing to change and according to former UK business minister Vince Cable there have been links to improved productivity in businesses that embraced the technology.
Nevertheless, not all technological advancements are suited for every business, so make sure you do your own research before taking the leap.
What are your thoughts on cloud computing? Join the conversation @kingstonsmith.