Recently, it seems that almost every company, small business and even individuals are making use of that ever-elusive, intangible, yet so important, “cloud”. Even Hewlett Packard is jumping on board (perhaps rather unsuccessfully as one of their rep’s intelligently stated, “we’re doing that cloud thing”), but is it right for you? Hopefully you’ve done a little more homework than HP and you’re wondering if cloud computing will beneficial or detrimental to your needs. You might be a little reticent into making the switch, “My client’s intimate account details could be exposed!” or, “there’s just too many risks!” Hopefully some of the information in this article can help answer some of these concerns.
The jargon associated with cloud computing can often be the first deterrent for a potential user of the technology. The first thing that should be cleared up is what exactly this mean. Cloud computing is very similar to storing information or data on the internet. By making use of a cloud service you are essentially eliminating the need to purchase and uphold your own servers and any associated software to keep them running.
So should you make the move over? Let’s look at the pros and cons of implementing a cloud computing model into your regiment
PROS of Cloud Computing
Speed and Ease
Creating your own system of storage for data retrieval and entry can be time consuming and costly. Chances are if you are already savvy in the business world, running the software won’t be a problem but do you want to allocate all that time to setting up and maintaining it? Most cloud service providers boast that their services can be in full swing and be used within an hour or so of your purchase. This means good news for those of you with multiple locations and employees who need to utilize the same spreadsheet or document simultaneously.
Costs and Expense
Depending on which model and company you go with you will be presented with a couple different varieties of payments. One popular model is a pay as you go service which can either be monthly or annually depending on the business. Cloud computing providers allow for multiple clients to access the same storage but without access to each other’s personal information. Depending on your area of business, you could potentially be dealing with sensitive information, but rest assured that it will be kept safe from outsider’s eyes. Being able to avoid paying in-house technicians and IT personal can be another potential money saver if you chose to go with this service.
In Case of Emergency
Any business has the worry of what could happen to all of their information in the event of a fire, flood or other catastrophe. Backing up your information to a tape or hard drive will be a thing of the past as you can rest assured that your cloud service provider is taking care of that for you; backing up your information multiple times and generally in several locations.
CONS of Cloud Computing
Are They Certified
When seeking out the services of a cloud computing company you will want to make sure they have all the necessary certification and procedures under their belt if they are going to be housing all of your important information. As this is a constantly evolving technology, the rules and regulations governing how these companies are ran are continuously changing. If you chose to go with cloud computing, you will need to make sure you are staying on top of these changes, than subsequently making sure your provider is following suite.
Most experts on the matter are in agreement that anyone using cloud computing services should employ some sort of security software to check the reliability and confidence of their site….on a daily basis. That’s right; this means opening up your virus software and scanning their site to make sure it isn’t susceptible to any attacks or viruses. Again, another possible time sink to calculate into your already busy day.
Uptime versus Downtime
At the heart of the matter, a cloud service’s database and hardware needs to be maintained and looked after just like any other form of storage and data retrieval software. What this means to you is the question of uptime and downtime. More and more, work days are extending far into the night and sometimes beginning early in the morning. I advise to check when your provider schedules their maintenance to make sure it doesn’t interrupt the flow of your own work.
Either way you look at it, the trend towards cloud computing and storage is becoming more and more prevalent. If you haven’t made the switch yet, chances are you will have to make this choice sometime in the near future. Do your research, ask the appropriate questions and see which company will be right for you.
Have you used a cloud storage service? If so what have been your experience? Was it as useful and convenient as they claimed? I’d love to hear your stories.