Are you thinking about moving your business IT, network, data, and/or telecommunications services to the cloud? This is becoming more and more commonplace in the business world, so it’s a good time to discuss “cloud” versus “local” services. How do you decide which is correct for your business?
Cloud Computing Helps Reduce Overhead
Cloud hosting can allow business to cut costs significantly. One reason is because you must purchase fewer costly in-office devices; rather, you pay a monthly fee for the storage and computing power you need from a cloud provider. This means that as your needs expand and contract, you can get exactly what you need without paying for too much. Cloud computing reduces the high cost of software since you’re essentially renting it on a per-user basis. This also means you always have the latest version of software, including all updates and patches, without having to purchase, install, and manually update each separate machine. You can add new employees easily by purchasing one more user access account, which give the new user access to all the software and features your existing employees already have; you pay only for the access you need on a per-user basis. You also do not need to purchase memory or new servers to accommodate the new load added from users and software.
Cloud Computing Improves Data Access & Reliability
By taking your business data and programs the cloud, your efficiency should improve: users can access files and software from anyplace with internet connectivity on almost any device (including tablets, phones, laptops and more). A great benefit of the cloud is that all your data is centralized in one location so all employees can get to the same data even if they are in a different branch office or on another continent. This means you can share files with all of your business associates easily and reliably, rather than sending versions back and forth via email or hard copy.
The cloud can also help ensure your data is safe, secure, and backed up. Most cloud providers have automatic backups scheduled as well as redundant data centers, so your data is always backed up and protected from loss. This can eliminate worry about a hard drive crashing and backups not working. In terms of your overall security, most cloud providers use the strongest encryption and password policies to protect your data.
Disadvantages of Cloud Computing
So I have told you the good now let’s talk a little about the “down side” of the cloud. First and foremost, a reliable high-speed connection to the internet is a requirement, since all your files and software are now somewhere in cyberspace. The more users and intense programs you use in your business, the larger “pipe” you need to connect to the internet. Other factors also come into play, like how many of your employees will watch video or stream music over the same internet connection that is used to connect you to your files and business software. If you don’t have enough bandwidth, you may struggle to maintain speed and performance.
Since most cloud providers keep your data safe and you have minimal local hardware or servers, you most likely won’t need a IT staff. Although this is a good way to save on business overhead, it can mean that there’s no one monitoring your company’s overall IT health and security. Because of this, it’s prudent to hire an IT consulting firm to run quarterly security scans to assure you are taking the most appropriate precautions to avoid becoming vulnerable to viruses, malware, hackers or other threats. Not having an in-house or on-site business IT support team may also leave you with another problem: many cloud computing providers do not provide full support for you and your employees for anything other than connectivity. This means their support ends once you can logon to their platform. If you have a problem, question, or concern about how to use their software, you will be on your own to figure out a solution.
Software incompatibility may be an issue as well depending on the software requirements of your business. In some cases, only the software that the provider supports is allowed to be installed on their servers. In other cases, they may have upgraded server components in an effort to keep you on the “latest and greatest,” but your software may be compatible with older versions of supporting operating system components. You will also have very limited access to the backend systems that run the cloud so if you have an issue with your software’s code, getting access to the correct logs and components to resolve the problem may be troublesome. Running on remote computers shared by other companies means that there is usually limited flexibility in a cloud provider’s systems. You may have very limited access to change ports or configurations on servers or routers that are needed for software your business needs to run.
While there are pros and cons to cloud computing careful planning and precautions can minimize the disadvantages. For most businesses, the easy access, data backup, sharing, centralized data, security, and low cost of the cloud outweigh the drawbacks. Retaining an IT provider that can provide a full range of managed IT support services for business, like Dymin, can help make the cloud work even better for your organization. Our 24/7 remote and on-site business support gives you the advantages of an in-house IT department without the expense. Contact us today to find out about how our managed IT support for business and IT consulting services can help you take advantage of all the benefits of the cloud.