Like it or not, cloud computing has become an integral part of how we live and work today. It is something every business either uses or plans to use soon, in whatever form. Private, public and hybrid clouds are growing in popularity exponentially. Containers are hot, and lift and shift cloud apps are making migrations of apps easier for businesses.
Still, everything is not completely rosy on the cloud. With its many benefits come some risks and concerns. Let’s take a look at the benefits of cloud computing before going into the problems.
Cloud Computing Pros
1. The cloud is cost-effective: Businesses on the cloud enjoy the cost benefits. There is no need to maintain expensive in-house servers and other costly devices when everything can be done on the cloud. As your business grows, you can only pay for increasing storage space on the cloud. The costs of increasing processing power, hard drive space, and memory are eliminated. Software costs are lower too, since businesses don’t have to pay licensing charges. The software is already stored on the cloud, and businesses can pay as they use. Access is almost instant, so plenty of money and time are saved.
2. Can be accessed on any device: One of the biggest advantages of having your company’s business environment on the cloud is you can access it from anywhere. You can use almost any device, such as tablets, PCs, and mobile phones to access your work. This kind of flexibility is necessary to keep up with the changing nature of the workplace. Your office is no longer limited to your desk at work.
3. Data centralization: Data is centralized on the cloud. Any files and documents are within easy access of authorized personnel, no matter where they are located. This makes it easy for branch offices in remote locations to access data.
4. Data recovery is easier: With cloud computing, you don’t have to remember to carry out periodic backups of critical information and files. Cloud computing (often) comes with automatic backups, which can be easily recovered should things go wrong. In the traditional hard disk, data recovery wasn’t always possible, or it was expensive.
5. Sharing and collaboration are easy: Since accessibility is flexible, it is easy to share files and documents whenever someone on your team needs it. The job gets done even if you are not physically present at your offices.
6. Free storage: At the moment, the cloud is the safest place to store your valuable information, when compared to your local system. Storage is free or usually inexpensive. It is also limitless, and more secure than your system.
7. Cloud security: The best cloud service vendors choose the most secure data centers in which to store your information. For instance, if you are using e-discovery software and you are having to review documents, you can opt for stronger security for more sensitive information by using encrypted cloud storage. Many vendors will set you up with passwords and encryption keys that only you or other authorized personnel will have access to.
8. Instant tests: The benefits of using the tools available on the cloud is that you can test new applications or features instantly. Cloud infrastructure is scalable and flexible when it comes to testing environments. Cloud computing is becoming increasingly popular with production companies, automobile manufacturers and retailers for this among other reasons.
Cloud Computing Cons
1. High bandwidth Internet: A limitation of cloud computing is the dependence on a reliable Internet connection. Low bandwidth connections aren’t suitable for cloud computing. Sometimes, even high bandwidth connections fail in performance because of high latency.
2. Security concerns: While cloud computing is more secure than in-house servers, it comes with its own security issues. Every company on the cloud needs an IT team and cybersecurity personnel to protect their data from hackers and cybercriminals.
3. Non-Negotiable Agreements: Some cloud service vendors require companies to sign non-negotiable agreements. Since cloud computing still involves a relationship between two parties, contracts are necessary. But sometimes, these contracts can have disadvantageous clauses for the business. For example, cloud providers refuse to accept liability for interruptions in service, for the most part.
4. Unexpected costs: While cloud computing on the whole is affordable and cheaper than installing software in-house, sometimes businesses end up having to pay for additional features they don’t need. Some cloud service software may not contain certain features that a business needs.
5. Lack of full support: Not all cloud vendors provide comprehensive support. Many vendors don’t have a phone number or an email address that customers can rely on. Instead, they have to depend on FAQs and the online community.
6. Minimal control over hardware and software: Since services and apps run remotely, businesses have very little control over the hardware and software features and functions.
7. Lack of network insight: Cloud providers do provide access to RAM, CPU, and disk utilization information. But on the whole, businesses have limited insight into their network. In case of a hardware problem or a bug in your code, you will not have enough information to recognize the issue and fix the problem.
Because of the limitations of cloud computing, it is important to choose your cloud service provider wisely. But as demand goes up, cloud providers are continually upgrading their services and working to fine tune their offerings. Businesses are also becoming more aware of what they need and what they don’t. Since you can’t avoid the cloud, it is best to shop around carefully before choosing a cloud service provider.
Advanticom engineers have tried and tested most major cloud-computing options on the market. Some of our favorites are Microsoft 365 for a secure suite of cross-platform cloud apps. We also like VMware for cloud deployment of virtual machines.