Moving to the cloud is becoming less of an option for many companies and more of a necessity. According to a 2021 survey by O’Reilly, 48% of the surveyed organizations intend to move to the cloud within one year.
But is it worth it?
Cloud computing comes with cost savings, improved customer insight, increased collaboration, disaster recovery, and quality control. On the flip side, this modern form of computing comes with downsides such as limited control, vendor lock-in, downtime, and data loss or theft.
Here’s a breakdown.
What is Cloud Computing?
Cloud computing is a term used to refer to the storing and accessing of data over the internet. With cloud computing, no data is stored in your computer’s hard disk. Instead, applications and data are stored and accessed from a remote server.
Cloud computing is divided into three distinct services. These are: Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS).
The advantages and disadvantages of cloud computing tend to hold across these three cloud computing services. However, the importance of each pro or con will vary based on the service.
Advantages of Cloud Computing
Cloud computing comes with the following advantages:
Cloud computing comes at a reduced cost. Unlike the traditional data center setup, businesses don’t have to build their own IT infrastructure or purchase hardware components and equipment. As a result, companies spend less on the initial setup and continued running of their cloud services. This translates to improved ROI.
Most cloud computing services also use the pay-as-you-go model. This payments model allows businesses to pay for only the features or resources they need instead of an inflated subscription package.
Improved Data Insight
Data defines the modern digital age. Statistics show that 97.2% of organizations already invest in AI and big data. Cloud computing makes leveraging these technologies easier.
Most cloud computing service providers offer built-in cloud analytics to give you a bird’s-eye view of your company and consumer data. Moreover, you can build and implement tracking mechanisms to gather information globally and generate customized reports for your business with data stored in the cloud.
The information and analytics sourced from this data can be very useful in improving business operations and the bottom line.
With cloud applications, businesses can seamlessly communicate and securely access and share information, making collaboration easier. Several cloud computing systems also allow users to work on multiple documents and files simultaneously and transparently.
This makes teamwork easier even in a remote setup.
Most businesses prefer having complete control of their processes, systems, and infrastructure. Even a few minutes of downtime can be disastrous for any company in today’s volatile market. You sacrifice complete control for better disaster recovery with cloud computing, which saves your bottom line.
Most cloud-based services offer superior and quick data recovery to cater to all kinds of emergencies, ranging from power outages to natural disasters.
Successful businesses thrive on superior quality and consistent reporting to outperform their competition. Cloud-based systems allow tighter quality control by storing all documents in one place and one format.
With everyone accessing this same data, you can maintain its consistency and have a clear record of all updates and revisions. Moreover, you can avoid any human error that may arise.
Disadvantages of Cloud Computing
Cloud computing comes with a list of downfalls. These include:
Limited Control and Visibility
Since your cloud service provider owns and manages the cloud infrastructure, it may be concerning for businesses that prefer greater visibility and control over their infrastructure.
In most cases, it is difficult to get precise information on where your data is physically stored, making it challenging to securely delete information that attackers might explore without leaving remnants. Most cloud providers also use a “shared responsibility” model, meaning you also hold liability for the security of the data you put on their platforms.
The differences in vendor platforms can pose a serious challenge when a company wants to migrate from one cloud vendor to another. You may most likely run into support issues when trying to host and run applications you had in your previous vendor.
This situation makes migrations complex, involving challenging configuration changes in some cases and additional expenses like hiring a team to do the complex migration work for you.
Downtime is potentially one of the most significant drawbacks of cloud computing. Cloud providers can often face occasional downtimes caused by technical outages. These outages may be caused by various factors such as power outages, low internet connectivity, or some data centers going out of service for maintenance.
This is yet another major drawback of most cloud computing services. Yes, there have been massive leaps made in the past years regarding cloud security. However, statistics show that roughly 94% of organizations are still concerned about cloud security.
The main security concerns in cloud computing surround misconfigurations and data breaches. Most cloud providers offer a flurry of security settings, but you can only fully explore them and guarantee top-notch security for your data if you apply the configurations correctly.
Otherwise, your business is vulnerable to attacks.
In a cloud environment, most applications run on a shared resource setup where the available physical resources are virtually shared by multiple businesses using the service. In this setup, if one tenant gets attacked, the performance of the shared resources may take a hit.
Is Cloud Computing Right for Your Business?
Cloud computing will only gain momentum as time passes, with cloud services growing a predicted 18.4% in 2021. Moreover, businesses will start exploring other cloud-driven technologies such as AI and serverless computing to find a competitive edge in the market.
You should dive into this.
The best way to navigate this technology is by ensuring your business is well equipped to deal with the drawbacks of cloud computing while leveraging all it can with better collaboration, improved quality control, and a better insight into your consumer and business operations. Start today by learning more about cloud computing from experts in the field.