Is Cloud Computing Right for Your Business?

June 4th, 2014

illustration of Clouds and multimedia files

As more businesses look at migrating their data to the cloud, the pros and cons of Internet storage are regularly discussed online. For those who are new to the debate and are thinking seriously about cloud computing for their business, the following is a brief outline of the main arguments for and against this exciting new technology.

What is cloud computing?

The cloud is basically a fancy name for the Internet. Cloud computing is the process of storing and managing data online rather than onsite. In other words, it uses a network of remote servers that are hosted on the Internet, rather than your local company server.

What are its advantages?

The reason cloud computing is growing in popularity, especially among businesses, is because there are several very good incentives for doing so. These include:

  • The cloud’s ability to deal with virtually infinite amounts of data almost instantly. As the Internet is practically limitless, so is its storage capacity, doing away with the need for expensive mainframes and onsite servers.
  • The cloud’s ability to be accessed from anywhere. Because the Internet is accessible from any place there is an Internet connection, business people can retrieve data on their mobile devices wherever they happen to be.
  • The cloud’s cost-effective operation. Because cloud providers house their servers elsewhere, businesses do not need to buy and maintain expensive onsite hardware. All maintenance and updates are carried out by the provider.
  • The cloud’s versatility. The smallest business has access to the latest software programs in the cloud and the beauty is, they don’t have to purchase them, but can use them for a small fee for as long as they need them. This represents huge savings and allows them to compete with much larger competitors.
  • The cloud’s collaborative nature. Online collaborative tools such as Google Docs, allow business colleagues to collaborate on the same online documents in real time, making joint projects possible regardless of location.

What are its drawbacks?

When deciding whether cloud computing is right for your business, it’s important to examine the disadvantages of having your data online. These include:

  • The fact that you need an Internet connection to access it, which means if your ISP goes down, you lose access to your data.
  • If you rent your online software by the month, over time it could become more expensive than buying it outright.
  • How secure your data is online depends largely on the security measures adopted by your cloud provider.

Weighing up the pros and cons will help you make the right decision about whether to migrate to the cloud. Some businesses are taking a softly-softly approach and trialling certain areas of their business in the cloud to see just what the savings are and where the problems, if any, may lie. In the meantime, new cloud providers are emerging every day as the expected mass migration to the cloud slowly gains momentum.

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