By definition, a cloud user entrusts his data to a remote service or the Internet, in particular. This information is then stored in the “clouds” and the user does not need to be in a specific location to have access on it. In reality, many people are not aware that they are already cloud-based computing for a long time. A very good example is a web-based email service, wherein the messages are stored “in the cloud.” But as cloud computing becomes popular, its pros and cons are becoming obvious.
Generally speaking, anything that involves delivering hosted services over the Internet can be referred to as cloud computing. But unlike traditional hosting services, cloud-based services are fully being managed by the service provider. All the user needs is an electronic device with an Internet connection, he does not have to have his own set of servers. A cloud computing service is sold usually on per hour basis or per minute. In addition, a cloud user can freely decide as to how long he can use the service. For these reasons, more and more businesses and companies are tempted to try cloud computing.
Cloud Computing Pros
For now, cloud computing is still considered to be at an early stage. But obviously, IT people continue to think of ways to increase storage capacity with less effort, with cloud computing aiming to shift the focus from the LAN (Local Area Network) to WAN (Wide Area Network). To help you understand if cloud computing is really something you should try, below are some of its major advantages:
- Cost Efficiency – This is the most obvious and biggest advantage, so far. With cloud computing, a huge cost for investment is being eliminated. This includes overhead charges for data management, data storage, software updates, licensing fees, server maintenance, and others. Instead, clients are only required a one-time payment service fee. Cloud computing also eliminates the need to add new equipment or hardware, and a great cost reduction when it comes to paperwork and hiring an IT staff.
- Convenience – Cloud computing offers a lot of convenience to users. This includes being able to have immediate access to information in different time zones and geographic locations, even at the same time. Consequently, people with access on access on the cloud can easily share and modify those files and documents. If you are a business man, you and your staff can also have instant access to any software and applications via your chosen CSP; you don’t need to test them anymore.
- Great Time Saver – The process of providing a back up and recovering data is very fast and easy, simply because your data is not stored in a physical device. Any authorized member of your organization can also have access using his tablet and smartphone, allowing you to collaborate with them easily. You can easily adopt the “Bring your own device” (BYOD) policy. You also don’t need to worry about managing data centers. And because all of these, you can save a lot of time so you can focus more in your core business.
- Highly Scalable – As compared to personal computers and similar equipment, the cloud has an almost unlimited storage capacity. With cloud computing, you will never worry about storage space and therefore no need to upgrade your hardware as your business grows. And because you will only pay for the data storage space and applications you need, this built-in feature for cloud deployments makes it highly scalable for any type of business.
Cloud Computing Cons
Despite the great advantages mentioned above, cloud computing also has its own set of disadvantages. Below are some of them, which will help you balance as to whether this service is suitable for you.
- Security – Security has been always the biggest concern when it comes to online activities, including cloud computing. So far, business owners and ordinary users have no other choice but to trust these CSPs. It is up to these providers to protect their client’s sensitive data and information from hackers and unauthorized users. On the positive side, there are many reliable cloud-based service providers that offer high levels of security protocols and anti-theft features.
- Outages and Downtime – Outages and downtime is also a common problem among any online service provider, even the best cloud service providers are prone to have connectivity problems. In some cases, a CSP may spend a few minutes before it can detect a faulty server. To reduce the downtime, choose a provider with excellent customer service and has an established team of IT staff.
- Dependency on Provider – Unfortunately, cloud users will have limited control over the system and will always be dependent on its CSP. Oftentimes referred to as “vendor lock-in,” users find it difficult to switch to another provider especially if the size of data to be transferred is huge. If the size of your data is extremely huge, migration becomes nearly impossible.
This is why you should be very careful when choosing a cloud vendor. Although cloud computing offers only a slightly learning curve, the technical aspect of it can be a huge burden.
Note also that not all workloads are immediately suitable for the cloud. Some of them have very specific security requirements. Therefore, you need to evaluate your business first before deciding to have your workloads in the cloud.