Pros & Cons of Cloud Computing

If you are thinking about moving your business into the cloud, it’s a good idea to look at the advantages and disadvantages of making the jump.  Only you can decide if the benefits outweigh the risks to your business.  As with all of my posts on this blog, I found a great article that talks about some of the pros and cons of doing your business in the cloud.  Here is what I gleaned from reading the article:

Advantages:

  • Cost – using cloud services such as storage and software can be less expensive then investing in equipment and desktop software for your business
    • Instead of paying for servers for your network, you can pay as you go for only the storage you need
    • Software can be costly.  It requires an initial investment, maintenance, upgrades and licenses for each user.  Using cloud based software can prove to be less expensive, and updates and maintenance typically happens automatically in the cloud.
  • Storage – using storage as a service in the cloud allows you to use only the space you need, and as your needs grow – the space is virtually unlimited
  • Backup & Recovery – no need for nightly tapes or backups on your physical hard drive.  Backing up data in the cloud is easier.  As for recovering data MOST cloud providers are well equipped to recover lost data.  This can save you time and money in case of data loss.
  • Software Integration – in the cloud, software integration usually happens automatically
  • Access to information – as long as you have an internet connection, you can access your data in the cloud from virtually anywhere
  • Deployment – getting set up and started in the cloud is fast.  You can typically get things up and running within minutes.
  • Scalability – many cloud provides offer pay as you go services.  This allows you to pay for only what you need when you need it.  If you anticipate a change in your needs, you can quickly change the services you use.

Disadvantages:

  • Technical Difficulties – if your cloud provider goes down, so do you.  If you don’t have access to the internet, you don’t have access to your services in the cloud.
  • Security – you are giving up control of your data.  Since it is in the hands of your cloud provider, the security of your data is at the mercy of that provider.  Sensitive data may be at risk.
  • At risk of attack – since you have your data out there in the cloud, there is always a chance of your data being compromised.  (Of course, there is also always a chance of your data being compromised within a physical network on site too!)

There are pros and cons of moving your business to the cloud.  However, you can minimize the risks involved if you do your research, make sure you choose a cloud provider who is reputable and has a proven track record of knowing how to deal with the risks and who you trust to keep your sensitive data safe.  In my opinion, the same risks are present if you have your business on a physical network in your building.  It just seems a bit scarier when you are entrusting someone who is less invested in your business than you are to keep that data secure.

References:

http://mobiledevices.about.com/od/additionalresources/a/Cloud-Computing-Is-It-Really-All-That-Beneficial.htm

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