There is no doubt about the fact that cloud computing is the new trend in the field of information technology. Businesses no matter small or large are now pondering over whether they should opt for cloud computing or not. Queries like what network technology supports the cloud, what is the process of implementation of cloud storage and how to plan a cloud implementation strategy are being addressed and put forward. But before jumping on the trend of opting for cloud storage blindly, it is important for everyone to consider the benefits and risks of cloud computing. Although cloud computing eases a lot of work especially when it comes to data management and storage, there are some risks and demerits associated with this mechanism that need to be taken into consideration before finalizing anything in this regard. A wise approach is to do thorough research and in the light of the company goals and aims, determine whether cloud solutions would be the right path for your business.
Cloud computing practices and technology has surely proven to be the latest development in the field of information technology. It has caught the attention of businesses and companies from all around the globe and it is needless to say that an exponential growth in the popularity of cloud computing solutions can be observed.
The number of companies switching towards making use of cloud services as well as the companies offering cloud services seems to be increasing at a rapid rate. Therefore, one can clearly see an increase in the uses of cloud computing in business. People seem to be very happy when discussing cloud computing benefits for small businesses as well as enterprise level larger companies.
However, before jumping on the bandwagon of cloud services, it is important to do some research and go over the advantages and disadvantages of cloud computing. This will help you understand whether cloud services are truly the right option for your business model or not.
The purpose of this piece is to go over the perks and advantages of cloud computing while addressing the risks of cloud computing as well. By the end of the analysis, you will be able to see both sides of the picture and truly determine if you should be considering cloud computing or not.
Let's begin our analysis by having a look at some goals and benefits of cloud computing:
Accessing and storing data can be an expensive venture. Especially if the company is trying to do so while opting for onsite storage locations. Therefore, opting for cloud based storage options can end up a lot of money. Many companies avoid cloud computing storage options because of the assumption that they are expensive. But in reality, when choosing cloud storage services, the companies are charged for only the services and features that they use. Therefore, they always have an option to customize the plan as per their needs.
Another reason for adopting cloud computing, especially for small scale businesses and startups is the fact that almost all cloud service providers have a one year trial period. Any business can sign up for the trial subscription to test the performance of the services and choose to renew or cancel the subscription at the end of the year based on their experience.
One of the biggest concerns that businesses put forward regarding the implementation of cloud storage is data security.
These are some queries and concerns that cross the mind of any company’s manager when determining whether cloud storage options are a good option or not. In reality, the role of the cloud manager is entirely to make sure that the data on the cloud remains safeguarded and protected. Therefore, strict and foolproof security mechanisms are in place, access control is practiced and efforts are always being dedicated to improve the security of the cloud as much as possible.
Although there have been some incidents where cloud storage locations had to deal with attacks and data loses and thefts, these incidents were pretty rare. The risk of such an activity is a reality, but in comparison with physical storage spaces, the chances are pretty low. According to a research, around ninety four percent businesses stated that they observed an increase in their data security protocols after switching to cloud computing storage options.
Having immediate and easy access to data is very important for businesses. Sometimes waiting for data to load and be available can be a huge hassle. When companies move their data to cloud based servers, they can get immediate and quicker access to their data. Mobility and easy access is therefore one of the biggest perks associated with cloud based storage options.
Moreover, since the data is not stored on a physical location, there is no restriction for one to be able to access the data. The data can easily be accessed through any place. All one needs to be able to reach the data is an active internet connection. This option makes cloud computing a great choice for freelancers, remote based workers and the people who are always on the move.
Disaster management is an important part of a business plan. One can hope that no disaster comes along however no matter how careful one may be, there is always a risk for something to go wrong. Therefore, businesses should be prepared and equipped to deal with the disaster.
Disaster management and risk mitigation becomes a lot more easy when data is stored on a cloud. The data is not confined to a physical storage space therefore the risk of data being destroyed is lesser. Even if cloud storage is used for data backup, the recovery process is simplified.
When using cloud services, businesses get a lot of freedom to change their plans and customize the services and facilities. Therefore, the business can always easily increase or decrease the range of the services being utilized as needed.
This is an important aspect for businesses because the scope of businesses is constantly changing. Managing storage and data access while using physical resources and adjusting them according to the business needs can be tiring as well as straining in terms of financial terms. But this is not the case with cloud solutions. All you need to do is to ring your service provider and change your plan as needed. You will only be billed for the resources that you use.
Now that we have discussed the advantages and perks of cloud computing, now it's time to shed light over the cloud risks and considerations:
Cloud storage options are useless without an active internet connection. Therefore, if you are trying to make the switch towards cloud solutions, the first step for you is to ensure that you have an uninterrupted internet connection. The internet is the sole link that will connect you to your data stored on the cloud. Although it may seem like a very small limitation, at times, it is difficult to ensure internet connectivity. If any such situation takes place, you should be prepared to not be able to access your data for a while.
When speaking of cloud solutions, many people assume that downloading and uploading the data is very simple and quicker. However, since cloud solutions are often based around shared servers, there are times where there is too much pressure on the servers. This clogs the response time and data requests that would usually take a blink of an eye can be kept holding and waiting for hours. If you need to access something urgently during such a situation, the slower connection will surely be a hurdle for you.
As already discussed, cloud storage options are often in a shared capacity. Therefore, your data will be stored on a server that already contains data from another company. Although there are mechanisms in place to keep the different data entities separate, the chances of a mix up still exist. Therefore, experts recommended that cloud storage should never be used for housing data that is of an extremely sensitive nature and if leaked can lead to irreparable damage.
All in all, there are both sides of the story i.e. cloud benefits and risks. Therefore, it is impossible to rule whether cloud storage should be opted for or whether it should be ruled out entirely. Depending upon your business model and structure, you need to assess your requirements before determining whether switching to cloud computing is the right course of action for you or not. There are plenty of cloud computing advantages for small business but at the same time challenges of cloud computing are also a reality. In a nutshell, this is a sensitive decision that requires attention and ample research.