Moving to the Cloud – 5 Advantages & Disadvantages
Cloud computing is a great opportunity for small businesses to off-load some of the hassle and costs of IT management. Security issues related to having their business data ‘out’ on the internet seem to be the number one concern of small business owners. One approach could be to start cloud computing slowly; choose one or two of your business applications (Email, File Share) to replace and see how it goes. Hopefully, over time, you will become more comfortable with it, gain a deeper understanding and be able to leverage it to gain further advantages for your production environment.
Below are some of the advantages, and disadvantages to take into consideration:
Moving your business to the could eliminates the cost of hardware and maintenance. Removing these capital expenditures and the associated service salaries from your technology expenses can translate into significant cost savings.
All you will need within your office is a computer and an internet connection. Much of your server hardware will no longer be necessary, not only saving you physical space but eliminating the need for maintenance and employee attention.
Instead of having hardware within your office, cloud data is housed in one, or multiple, data centers, providing enterprise level security, which is cost prohibitive for most individual businesses. There is also no single point of failure in the cloud because your data is backed up to multiple servers. This means that if one server crashes, your data stays safe because it is stored in other locations. The potential risk of hardware malfunction minimizes because your data is safely stored in redundant locations.
In today’s world of connectivity, we are able to work whenever and wherever. While waiting for a flight or meeting, employees can still work – and work efficiently. Before cloud services were prominent, working outside the office was problematic and time consuming. Remember having to save your files on your laptop and then returning to work and needing to transfer your updated files to ensure others have access it. Working from multiple devices now means you won’t have to worry about manually adding the latest file onto each device. Instead, the latest version of your document is stored in the cloud and will be easily accessible from any of your devices.
With cloud storage, you pay for what you use, as you use it. You do not need to anticipate how much storage space you will need for the year and risk paying for unused space or running short. Deploying machines into scalability sets and availability groups is also more time and cost efficient than ever before.
Connectivity & Downtime
Cloud computing makes your small business dependent on the reliability of your Internet connection. When it’s offline, you’re offline. If your internet service suffers from frequent outages or slow speeds, cloud computing may not be suitable for your business.
Cloud data is accessible from anywhere on the internet, meaning that if a data breach occurs via hacking, a disgruntled employee, or careless username/password security, your business data can be compromised.
At first glance, a cloud computing application may appear to be a lot cheaper than a particular software solution installed and run in-house, but you need to be sure you’re comparing them properly. There are a number of “Extra’s” involved with cloud solutions such as transfer of data, backup and even the storage type redundancy you decide to use, which must all be taken into account when cost planning your migration, and they can add up quickly or get away from you if not planned correctly.
One size DOESNT fit all
There is no custom configuration possible outside the machine types provided by may Platform as a Service (PaaS) providers pre-defined solutions. If these pre-defined solutions don’t fit your planned deployment, you need to make your deployment fit their solution and are unable to make their solution fit your needs. Finding a middle ground can lead to a poor performing application or paying for horsepower that you simply don’t need.
Support for cloud services comes with a hefty price tag, and with a strict set of rules. It must be calculated in your planning that if the need arises, you may need to pay for higher levels of support.
While the cloud is not for everyone for everything, most companies, or even individuals, should be able to see some benefit to migrating at least some of their services to the cloud, and while One size doesn’t fit all, the sizes available will be able to fufil some of your needs!