Over recent years, cloud computing has grown into one of the biggest trends in the technological sector, as more and more business owners and managers have made the move from local servers to offsite data hosting. Indeed, as indicated by the results released last year of a study conducted by Goldman Sachs, spending on cloud computing platforms and infrastructure is predicted to grow at a 30 percent compound annual growth rate in the coming years, up to 2018.
If you’re thinking about moving your company’s information and systems over to a cloud-based platform in the future, it’s best to outsource the work to a business that specializes in cloud solutions at an affordable rate. First though, it pays to really understand some of the main benefits and challenges of cloud computing advances so that you know what to look out for. Read on for some pros and cons, as well as some tips on the best way you can utilize the technology over coming years.
Pro: Cost Savings
There are plenty of benefits to be enjoyed from moving your business data to the cloud. One of the primary reasons to do so is the cost savings you can enjoy as a result. In the past, businesses had to pay for expensive servers to be installed on site, and then to update the tech as it became obsolete over time.
With cloud computing now though, you can say goodbye to large capital expenditures, and instead opt for a “pay as you go” system where you are only charged for what you need, when you need to use it.
Pro: Greater Flexibility
With cloud computing, business owners can enjoy much greater flexibility. Rather than buying the cheapest server that may be outgrown quickly, or an incredibly expensive product to cover future growth, entrepreneurs can just pay for data storage by the month and increase or decrease their plan as required over the years. With monthly costs predictable and minimal, cloud computing is easier to afford, and makes for more accurate cost projections over the year too.
Pro: Saves Time
When you utilize cloud computing you can also save significant amounts of time as maintenance tasks, disaster-recovery help, and regular updates are all included with the service. This means no more spending time in-house on managing and updating software or site security.
Furthermore, companies which provide cloud computing services tend to resolve any issues in a short time frame, and will ensure that businesses are back up and running in a timely period, with fewer operational interruptions to concern themselves with.
Pro: Worldwide Availability
Another main benefit of cloud computing is that it gives employees, contractors and other contacts who are given clearance the ability to access company information from anywhere around the world. Cloud-based platforms are not location dependent, so teams can easily log on to systems and access data whenever they need it, not just within office hours.
Con: Security Issues
The main risk to be aware of when using cloud computing technology is that security could potentially be compromised. Although it’s no more risky than in-house servers (and in fact most cloud providers have a heavier focus on network security than businesses would ever have themselves), data breaches are still possible.
Hackers may try to destroy data which is kept in the cloud, or access it for their own uses, by breaking in using things like botnets and malware. DDoS (distributed denial of service) attacks also occur and are designed to overwhelm website servers and render them useless for periods of time.
Con: Limited by Internet Connection and Outages
One other potential drawback of cloud computing that you should be aware of is that when information is in the cloud, access to it relies on a dependable internet connection. As such, if you lose your internet service in the office or at home, or are traveling and can’t find handy Wi-Fi (a limited risk in this day and age) then you won’t be able to see or download data at that time.
If the cloud computing service provider suffers its own server outage, then you will also lose access to your information and will have to face some downtime.
How to Best Utilize the Technology
To best utilize cloud computing technology, you must always choose a reputable, well-established, trustworthy provider. Before you sign up to a plan, make sure you conduct research into each of your shortlisted options.
Opt for a company that is well-known for having optimum service levels and for providing top customer support so that you can reach them any time for assistance if needed. The uptime rate of the company you select should be the highest possible too, as should its security protocols.