Cloud computing refers to storing and accessing your data and applications via the internet and not running it from the devices or the business server. It can provide a number of benefits for businesses like flexibility, control costs and mobility but, there are drawbacks too.
Network Connection Reliance
Internet services down? Cloud services will be down too. Slow upload and download connection speeds will also affect how efficiently the cloud service runs. Even if precautions are made to ensure maximum uptime and speeds, there is always a risk.
Preliminary assessment on cloud applications may appear to be more cost-effective than buying software outright but, detailed comparisons must be made like does the cloud version have the same features and would any missing features concern you? Calculation of the total cost of ownership is necessary, make sure there are cost savings involved both for the short and long-term.
Lack of Support
Cloud-based service providers can be situated anywhere making it difficult sometimes to receive prompt support. So, always check the SLA’s within the contract and check whether their support desk operates during your office hours.
All resources and data is access through the internet benefiting flexible workers because they can access all the corporate data that reside in a central location. However, if there are concerns about data being sent across the internet or the organisation need to follow strict data rules then, cloud might not be suitable.
This can be positive or negative depending on different variables. For a SME adopting cloud services it turns CapEx into OpEx because it allows companies to pay for software or services on a pay monthly, per user basis rather than buying it outright. However, if the business grows rapidly the monthly incremental costs also increases and eventually may result in the business paying more for cloud services than building a private network. So, always review and evaluate on a regular basis.
Privacy and Data Ownership
We’ve all heard the stories about certain governments requesting access to data from service providers – if this is a concern always best to encrypt your data before moving it to the cloud.
There are also issues surrounding data ownership, the question of whether the data belongs to the individual(s) or company that created and uploaded it or does it belong to the storage provider? Because of this you will often find ‘Terms and Conditions’ and ‘Service Level Agreements’ will vary amongst cloud service providers. Before signing on the dotted line always read and compare in detail, keeping an eye on the ‘Privacy and Data’ ownership information.
Cloud computing is not something that will suit every business and as mentioned earlier, it can be more costly than traditional computing, as the bigger the company the bigger the IT requirements are, and the less likely cloud will provide financial advantages. Larger companies may benefit more from building their own private cloud than using a service providers.
It’s not for everyone!!
Cloud will not be the future of all computing, there is still room for a server room and private networks. It is however, great for Startups and SMEs because it flexible and help spread the costs. There are disadvantages that the salesman might not tell you but, it is about weighing up the different options and measuring them against your business IT needs.
For more information on cloud or managed IT services please contact us today.