Cloud computing has become a commodity in the business world, seeing tremendous growth year over year. In fact, Gartner predicts that by the end of 2015, spending on cloud technology is expected to exceed $180 billion worldwide. However, the lingering question is this: Is cloud computing a universal digital solution or is only good for a select few?
As with any solution, there are pros and cons. Let’s start with the pros of cloud computing:
In many cases, saving money is the biggest benefit of the cloud for your business. Moving to a “resource-as-a-service” model, whether it is a software or infrastructure changes, eliminates heavy capital expenditure and reduces scaling and downsizing costs.
A well-implemented cloud-enabled business model can ensure that you pay for only what you need, and you can adjust anytime you need to do so. Very often, businesses who invest heavily on their digital infrastructure require large-scale and unpredictable data center resources. It may need to be scaled up or downsized with business growth or decline. Businesses benefit greatly from a cloud storage model where storage is a flexible resource, especially in fluctuating markets. This is the reason why 25% of the respondents in the same Gartner survey picked storage as the resource they will move to the cloud as soon as possible.
Easy System Integration
Cloud computing can offer software tools and applications you need without having to worry about the integration of different systems. In many cases, new applications and services can 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 environmen and fine tuning the infrastructure can be done much quicker.
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 burden of compliance and auditing of these systems.
While the cloud can provide a slew of benefits, it also has some downfalls.
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
Nothing is 100% foolproof. Even the largest names in cloud services have faced outages and network issues in the past. Many businesses need uninterrupted connectivity with desired cloud resources. Cloud and Internet providers cannot always guarantee that uptime.
The bottom line is that cloud computing is a technology that is hard to ignore 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.
For more information about cloud services and whether they might be a good fit for you, contact us today.