Are Cloud Services Right for Your Business?
Before moving to the cloud, keep this in mind. No perfect solution exists. All options – be it an in-house network or a cloud solution – have upsides and downsides. That’s precisely the case with the cloud. There are pros and cons of cloud computing.
Determine your option on a case-by-case basis. Then, weigh the pros and cons before concluding what option works best for you.
Most companies end up with a hybrid solution. The cloud houses some applications while others remain hosted from an on-prem server. But let’s take a look at the pros and cons of cloud computing to see what might work best for you.
Cloud Services Adoption
Cloud services have experienced exponential growth led by Microsoft Azure, Google Storage, Amazon Web Services, OpenStack, and others. The market exceeded $330 billion last year, with a projection of $623.3 billion by 2023. Moreover, roughly one-third of company IT budgets to cloud services. Today, 90% of companies are on the cloud.
Where global cloud spending is concerned, professional services (12.2%), discrete manufacturing (11.8%), and banking (10.6%) account for more than one-third of spending.
Pros of Cloud Computing
From a statistical standpoint, 42% of companies cite data anytime, anywhere as their primary reason for cloud services adoption. Disaster recovery (38%), flexibility (37%), and relieving IT staff (36%) follow.
Let’s take a close look at cloud computing pros.
- Lowered IT Costs: Many companies move their network (all or in part) to cloud services to reduce IT costs relating to hardware, licensing, and other capital outlays. In addition, you eliminate maintenance time from your IT staff.
- Improved Access: Access data anytime, anywhere. Remote desktop software provides access to a specific desktop, files, applications, and everything else from a remote location. Equally important, thousands of users can access resources simultaneously.
- Automated Data Recovery and Backup: An on-premises server is vulnerable to threats, including viruses, human error, hardware failure, and software corruption. Plus, you risk damage from physical disasters like fires, floods, or other natural disasters. Cloud services get you back up and running quickly. For instance, you can purchase new hardware and be operational the same day with cloud computing. Cloud platforms are more robust and secure than your average business network. They use economies of scale to invest more heavily in cybersecurity, redundancy, and failover systems. So that makes cloud servers far less likely to go down. You can read more about cloud vs. on-premises solutions here.
- Faster Deployment: It’s faster, cheaper, and easier to set up new employees. If you have a seasonal workforce or turnover, cloud computing will not only lower your costs of setting up new accounts but will make it infinitely faster. Cloud services let you scale quickly and effectively.
- Less Capital Investment: You no longer have the responsibility to install, update, and maintain your infrastructure. Think of it as living in a condo. Someone else takes care of the building, maintenance, roof repair, and lawn care. But you still have the only key to your section of the building, plus the use of all facilities. Best of all, companies that are new or expanding don’t have to outlay cash for purchasing and supporting an expensive computer network.
- Utility Savings: Cloud services are “greener.” As a result, they save on your power and electric bill. For smaller companies, those savings may be negligible. For larger companies with multiple servers requiring cooling and 24/7/365 operations, those savings are considerable.
Cons of Cloud Computing
As mentioned, there is no perfect solution. Even as cloud computing delivers an array of benefits, it presents some concerns.
- Internet Failure: You can mitigate this risk by using a commercial-grade Internet connection and maintaining a second backup connection. Otherwise, losing your internet connections means you’re down and unable to work.
- Data Security: Many people are uncomfortable hosting their data in an offsite location. That concern is valid. After all, you’re entrusting data security and its confidentiality to a third-party cloud services provider. Before selecting a cloud provider, you need to uncover more information. Where is your data stored? How is your data encrypted? Who has access to your data? How can your data be restored? Apart from the careful selection of a cloud services provider, you can bolster security by deploying techniques like multi-factor authentication or encryption, for example. More than half of organizations layer in some additional security feature.
- Applications: Certain applications won’t work in the cloud — for example, users with large files such as video, graphic arts, and engineering drawings. That’s especially true if your internet connection is slow.
- Compliance Concerns: Regulatory bodies like Gramm-Leach-Bliley, Sarbanes-Oxley, and HIPAA require companies to control and protect their data. That’s problematic with a public cloud environment. Many cloud service providers won’t report where your data is stored.
That said, most cloud service providers have SAS 70 certifications that require them to describe what is happening in their environment. How and where does data enter? What does the cloud services provider do with it? What controls exist regarding access and processing of data?
So, if you elect to use a provider, make sure they provide validation that meets compliance regulations consistently.
What Are the Types of Cloud Services?
If you elect to move to cloud computing, there are different cloud solutions available.
Pure Cloud: Your applications are stored behind a cloud firewall and accessed through various devices via the internet.
Hybrid Cloud: A hybrid cloud stores certain pieces of IT infrastructure like storage and email in the cloud. The remainder of your IT infrastructure, however, remains on-prem. So you benefit from cloud savings where it makes the most sense without risking your entire environment. More than half of businesses (58%) have adopted a hybrid cloud solution.
Point Cloud Solutions: You place applications like Sharepoint or Exchange in the cloud while keeping everything else on-site with point solutions. The upside is that you capture the advanced features of Exchange, for example, without the cost of installing or supporting an in-house Exchange server.
Public vs. Private Cloud: Anyone can tap into a public cloud service. All you need is a network connection and a credit card. Infrastructure is shared, allowing you to pay-as-you-go with management through a web portal.
Private clouds are essentially self-built infrastructures that mimic public cloud services. The difference is that they are on-premises. Private clouds deliver all the benefits of cloud computing. But data isn’t housed in a public environment; so, companies feel more secure.
Public cloud spending is growing three times faster than private cloud usage. SMBs favor the solution as 43% of them prefer a public cloud.
Need More Insights on Cloud Services?
If you’re looking for cloud services near you, give us a call. We’ll make sure you get the right cloud solution. As a cloud services provider, our IT company has helped SMBs in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, and beyond make the transition to cloud computing.
Our IT solutions are data-driven. So, you can expect greater transparency and ROI from your IT operation.