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“The cloud” is frequently referenced when discussing the future of technology, since it offers businesses of all sizes enterprise-level technology at an affordable rate. And, while switching from a traditional IT setting to cloud technology is seen as an easy choice for many, this switch, like anything else, comes with disadvantages as well.
Some misconceptions still linger from those early days of cloud computing, however, so we’re here to set things straight. Here are three pros and cons of using cloud applications that are relevant to any business today:
In a cloud computing environment, the application can be used in nearly any region across the world, using any internet-connected device, with just a few clicks. When you store data in the cloud, it can even help with recruiting efforts by opening up a pool of potential employees outside your area, allowing them to work remotely. According to Forbes, remote work has become the standard for at least 50% of the U.S. population, and businesses across public and private sectors increasingly recognize the benefits of hiring and retaining remote workers. To do that, they need the cloud.
Other major advantages of cloud computing are demonstrated in how it helps increase user access, employee collaboration and productivity, and dramatically cuts down on wasted time spent searching for files. Within the cloud, work is streamlined, and employees are no longer limited by a physical network.
One of the most significant benefits of cloud computing is the cost savings that come with migrating to a cloud solution. In fact, for small to medium-sized businesses, cloud computing is up to 40 times more cost-effective than a traditional in-house IT system. Instead of investing heavily in servers and data centers, cloud users only pay when computing resources are consumed, eliminating unnecessary costs. Cloud solutions also require less in-office IT equipment and are more energy-efficient than traditional software.
Because of networked backups in the cloud, hardware failures do not lead to data loss. The virtual server used in cloud computing is also hardware-independent, so the operating system, applications and data can be safely and accurately transferred from one data center to another. This significantly reduces recovery times compared to traditional disaster recovery approaches, which require multiple servers to be loaded before data can be restored.
Security and protection against data breaches often top the list of business owners’ main concerns about switching over to the cloud. By leveraging remote cloud-based services, a company is essentially outsourcing their data, so they are trusting their provider to effectively manage and safeguard their data. When considering a cloud services provider, exercise due diligence and select a trusted, experienced and reliable provider of cloud computing services with a proven track record of data protection.
Some are not aware that there are different types of cloud computing services. Many cloud experts believe that trusted cloud data centers, such as Amazon Web, have better security than an in-house data center, so security risks of cloud computing are really contingent upon the reliability of the provider. Users can also choose from public, private or hybrid offerings, depending on their security needs, which is another important factor to consider in order to optimize security.
Limited control is generally not a huge issue with cloud services, but it is another potential disadvantage of cloud computing that should be taken into account. When a business moves over to the cloud, users have limited control over the function of their hosting infrastructure.
They are still able to control and manage applications, data and services, but not the back-end infrastructure – a big change for companies accustomed to a traditional IT system. Some businesses see this as a benefit of cloud computing, however, since this frees up the IT department to focus on other projects.
While cloud service providers take many measures to prevent service outages, nobody can be 100% immune. Cloud computing is internet-based, so it can only be utilized with a solid internet connection. If the connection is disturbed or unavailable, the cloud cannot be accessed, leading to possible downtime.
This is another reason why it is imperative to choose a reliable cloud services provider with good customer service because, even if an outage occurs, you can be sure your provider will resolve the problem as soon as possible. With the right provider, cloud computing is still much more reliable and consistent than an in-house IT infrastructure.
Many experts believe cloud computing’s advantages outweigh its disadvantages and that, oftentimes, the disadvantages can be mitigated or avoided altogether. Still, it is always important to consider all your options when deciding which IT system – traditional, cloud-based or both – is right for your business.
It might also be a good time to consider how your entire approach to technology might benefit from a shift to managed services, including cloud computing. Check out our guide below outlining the difference between Traditional IT vs. Managed IT. If you have questions about how your organization could benefit from an outsourced solution using cloud computing. Contact the team of experts at the Gordon Flesch Company today!