This week my blog will focus on cloud computing. Cloud computing is a technology alternative whereby a network of remote servers hosted on the internet (the “cloud”), that runs applications, manages, stores and processes data instead of a local server or a personal computer. This allows much of the burden of maintaining and managing IT resources to be shifted to an external provider, which is a plus for any business.
A new technology like this is always going to have its advantages and disadvantages, some of which I have compiled and will discuss now.
For the pro side of things, Cloud computing has a lot going for it;
- More predictable IT costs – Generally works on contract basis, this leads to easier budgeting.
- Ease of implementation – the cloud host typically handles the implementation and will provide guidance for any set-up required by an organization.
- Greater Accessibility with the internet – The cloud is available to any computer with internet access, so employees have round-the-clock access to anything they may need in order to increase their productivity.
- Scalability – With cloud computing you can increase capacity and add capabilities without necessarily having to invest in new infrastructure or personnel training. Purchasing new software for each individual employee is no longer a problem as they can access everything on the cloud.
But it does pose a few drawbacks;
- Disaster recovery and business continuity – the level of protection you get from your provider must be considered, i.e. what happens to your data if the servers were to shut down or inadvertently destroyed?
- Privacy of your data – How is your data being protected? Is the provider able to access your data? Look at the now-infamous Apple cloud leak, and the private data of high profile celebrities being spread all over the internet.
- Connectivity – is there going to be an alternative when your internet connection goes down? Do the providers offer an offline option or backup?
- Service Level Agreements – SLAs provide a baseline of service time – usually monthly – that your provider “guarantees”. How difficult is it to keep track of costs and if you are due any compensation?
While there are risks worth considering, cloud computing offers significant innovations and advantages, really seems to have emerged as a viable technological option. With services like Google Drive offering unlimited, and yes, truly unlimited storage space online, how can it be possible to turn something like this down for any business and personal use. Just as long as all my photos stay on my smartphone where they’re supposed to be.
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