In the last five to ten years, cloud computing has become one of the most significant areas in the technological arena for businesses, with many firms moving from local, on-site, expensive servers to offsite data hosting options.
Increasing numbers of tech giants have started offering services in cloud computing, too, making it easy to find well-trusted names to store your information with, such as Amazon, Microsoft, and Google. Plus, there are many other small and medium-sized players in the market to choose from.
If you’ve been lagging behind in the cloud computing area because you’re worried about the time taken to convert, the cost, integration with your systems, or knowing how to handle the job, it’s wise to stop putting off this move. Whether you’ve brought on a new IT manager who can handle this side of things for you or plan to coordinate upgrades yourself, it pays to know the main pros and cons of cloud computing.
There are many plus sides to moving data to the cloud. Scalability and flexibility are two. When you use cloud services, you don’t have to worry about running out of space on-site to store information. Instead, you utilize the platform(s) you sign up to and extend your storage capacity as your needs expand. Pay for the amount you require, with no lag time if your organization has sudden growth and needs quick access to increased storage needs.
Plus, cloud providers are responsible for continually upgrading their products, so you don’t have to worry about that as technologies change and new ones become available. This all means you have flexibility, and you’re not tied to a specific server type or size. You might even utilize more than one cloud platform if, for instance, you want to take advantage of the manageability of Azure container instances provided by Microsoft Azure plus the security reliability of Google Cloud.
Cloud platforms are also flexible with the types of offerings you can choose from. Most well-known brands provide different services to suit diverse and evolving needs, including analytics and artificial intelligence capabilities. Also, when you use the cloud, your business gains flexibility. It becomes more agile because resource and file sharing happens in real-time and can be uploaded and accessed by anyone anywhere in the world. Team collaboration and mobile business operations are therefore simpler.
Another benefit of switching to the cloud is the potential cost savings you can create for your venture. When using the cloud, you don’t have to invest in expensive hardware or other infrastructure or pay for in-house or contracted tech experts to upgrade or repair things for you. You don’t need to keep a specialized team on your payroll, and you can pay for what you need when you need it.
Using the cloud can save you time, increase your information security, boost network and data reliability and uptime, and make disaster recovery easier, too.
There are some potential downsides of cloud computing to note. Happily, many of these risks can be mitigated. For example, using the cloud requires a decent internet connection that’s stable with good bandwidth since you need the net to access cloud services. Reduce the likelihood of not being able to upload or download files to and from the cloud by investing in a new modem. Ensure you use the type of internet that provides the best speed and reliability in your area, too, such as satellite, cable, or broadband.
Like any tech service, your cloud platform could go down at times, leaving you with service outages. However, this can happen with on-site storage anyway and is less likely to occur when you utilize one of the major providers. They can’t afford to risk their reputation with regular interruptions, so they do everything possible to minimize downtime.
While cloud services are pretty affordable now and offer value for money, check contracts for vendor lock-in issues before signing. You don’t want to get stuck unable to migrate from one provider to another if you become unhappy with the service or prices. Choose an option that’s flexible and doesn’t come with too many restrictions.
Security could be an issue with cloud platforms because hackers target every network, system, and website possible these days. However, the large tech firms concentrate heavily on data security and follow global compliance information security and management best policies.
As such, your information is likely in safer hands in the cloud than it is internally, within your corporate offices and other locations. Also, you can always opt for a private or hybrid cloud option to keep some business-critical details more secure if you’re worried.
No matter which cloud service provider you choose, make sure they have a well-regarded name in the industry and offer excellent customer support in case you need assistance.