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To Cloud or not to Cloud? That is the question. William Shakespeare did not quite word this famous saying like that...
To Cloud or not to Cloud? That is the question. William Shakespeare did not quite word this famous saying like that, but it seems to be the big question asked by a lot of companies.
And, with more and more heading in that direction, it might be a good time to review the advantages and disadvantages of working off a Cloud.
Before we go any further, it is probably a good idea to define a Cloud. The “Cloud” is a fluffy name for the internet or a shared network. Essentially, instead of having the necessary software
or programs on an in-house server, they are stored on a Cloud that is shared with many other users and accessed via user names and passwords.
As technology progresses, more and more software programs are being designed “on a Cloud.” For those who are considering changing to computing on the Cloud, the following are advantages and disadvantages as we see them.
Working on the Cloud can be beneficial for all involved. The following are some of the advantages:
When companies have their own servers, it is essential to have an IT person on staff or, at the very least, a local IT source available to handle problems, upgrades, and the day-to-day maintenance of the servers. Working on a Cloud alleviates all of these issues since the software programs are “in the Cloud.”
With technology as it is today, it is common to have employees or contractors all over the world. Working on the Cloud makes it possible to work from anywhere (as long as there is internet access) and at any time no matter the time zone.
Not only does it do away with costs of working with local IT professionals, it also alleviates the necessity of buying desktop software and additional hardware, or paying licensing fees and more.
With every pro comes a handful of cons. The following are the disadvantages of computing on the Cloud:
One main downside of computing on a Cloud is that when the Cloud has technical problems (and it will), everyone must put their work on hold. From system outages to updates to maintenance, accessing the Cloud is impossible every so often. The only upside is that this can happen on local servers as well. It is part of the game when it comes to technology and the internet.
This is a never-ending concern with anyone who accesses the internet for any reason. For companies that compute and store their information on a Cloud, it is a much bigger deal since sensitive information may be accessed. Because the information is on a third party Cloud, it can be slightly more vulnerable. It is imperative to do the research to ensure the service providers are reputable and put security first and foremost.
With some software systems on a Cloud, there is no flexibility in terms of adding and deleting users or tailoring the programs to fit the needs of businesses. Others offer free trials, detailed demonstrations, and customizations to fit the needs of the companies working on that Cloud.
While there are several disadvantages that are important considerations, Cloud computing is an excellent option for small businesses that want to keep their fixed expenses down or cannot afford to have more extensive IT alternatives. The main points to consider are the safety and security of placing private company information out on the Cloud (or the internet).