Cloud computing refers to the use of computing resources, both hardware and software – that are present on a remote machine and as a service to the end user over some kind of network (Internet). By definition, a user entrusts his data to a remote service, on which he/she has limited to no influence.
Cloud computing has become a need in the business world, seeing tremendous growth year over year. Gartner predicts that spending on cloud technology is expected to exceed $180 billion worldwide. However, the question remains Is cloud computing a universal digital solution or is only good for a select few?
Cloud computing has its pros and cons.
Cloud is scalable!
Often, organizations who invest heavily on their infrastructure require large-scale and unpredictable data center resources. A well-implemented cloud strategy can ensure that you pay for only what you need, and you can adjust anytime you need to do so. It may need to be scaled up or downsized with business growth or decline. You can benefit greatly from a cloud storage model where storage is a flexible resource, especially in fluctuating markets.
Cloud computing solutions offer tools you need to integrate a bunch of different independent systems. In most cases, new applications and services fit in quite seamlessly, and many businesses can start work from day one of the implementation. In some cases, everything from envisioning a solution to setting up the environment and fine tuning the infrastructure can be done much quicker than traditional systems.
Saving money is the biggest benefit of the cloud for a small business. “Resource-as-a-service” model eliminates heavy capital expenditure and reduces scaling and downsizing costs. This lowered burden on a small business can be the difference between success and a dud.
As far as heavily regulated business IT applications are concerned, infrastructure needs to be as compliant as possible. Cloud-service vendors provide SLAs and certifications that ensure the compliance in relation to audit standards, which relieves the IT team of some of the burden of compliance and auditing of these systems.
Shared Infrastructure Constraints
With cloud computing, often you are accessing your resources from a globally connected shared resource library and, chances are, you might have to experience “noisy neighbors” in the process. However, private cloud services that are dedicated to your business can reduce or eliminate this performance risk.
Your Internet connection also becomes a critical piece of your uptime puzzle with cloud computing. Many companies choose to operate multiple Internet connections with automated failover to reduce the risk of cloud computing outages.
Incidents such as the recent iCloud hacks are obviously a concern. Despite advancements in encryption and firewall systems, privacy of data still poses a legitimate threat in the cloud.
Technical Glitches and Outages
No computer is foolproof, neither is cloud computing. The largest names in cloud services have been attacked successfully in the past or faced some kind of an outage. Businesses need uninterrupted connectivity with their resources viz-a-viz Cloud resources. Cloud and Internet providers cannot always guarantee that uptime.
The bottom line is that THREAT is inherent to technology, everything is 100% secure until someone breaks in, and that is a hard to ignore fact in today’s digitally connected business world. The advantages and disadvantages of the cloud only matter with respect to how your business functions and what your IT infrastructure needs. Choosing the right IT and cloud services partner is a large part of making this decision.