With technology constantly evolving and new innovations to help us be more efficient, one of the big things we’ve seen recently is for businesses to move do and store their work on a cloud-based system, and move away from using conventional, installed programs and applications.
There are a lot of companies and business owners who contemplate when they should move to a cloud-based system, like with anything, there are benefits and drawbacks to cloud computing, so for anyone who is unsure what to do, we are going to have a look at these and this will hopefully give you some idea if it is right for you.
Benefits of Cloud for Business:
No more software updates
With all applications now hosted and updated server side in the cloud, your IT team won’t need to spend as much time fixing broken or outdated software, allowing you to direct their efforts elsewhere. Everyone will be on the same playing field, cutting back on compatibility issues from people running different versions of software.
You also won’t need to worry about installing software on new PC’s, as everything will be accessed through the cloud.
One of the biggest reasons for hesitation when people think about moving to cloud, is data security? There are some drawback (but we will look at those after), so let’s look at the positives, companies offering cloud services are going to be investing a lot of effort and time into making sure they are secure, people will not want to use their service if they don’t feel their data is secure, their reputation and business relies on it!
There is also the argument, that hosting work on your own server, isn’t going to make it any more secure, think of it this way, are you really going to have as much time and money invested in your security as say Microsoft or Google, probably not.
Your data will also be stored offsite, so you won’t need to worry about manually taking backups and keeping them secure yourself.
Access from anywhere
With everything being stored in a ‘central’ cloud space, as long as you have an internet connection, you can access it from anywhere, need to check a press release before it goes out, but are out of the office? No problem, load it up from wherever you are and take a look. Many cloud-based services will have integrated smartphone apps as well, to make things even simpler.
A cloud-based system will come with automatic backups, keeping your data secure, you will generally have multiple recovery points, allowing you to see back through multiple version changes.
With everything stored in a central place, multiple people can see and edit the same document and see what edits other people have made, gone will be the days of emailing attachments back and forth, waiting for the next update or approval.
This can be especially useful for companies where people don’t all work from a single location.
There will be less spent on software that you won’t need as it will all be accessible from the cloud, less spent on hardware, you won’t need be as concerned with things like server changes, upgrades and failures.
You can easily be able to expand or shrink the amount your cloud subscription depending on what you need.
Drawbacks of Cloud for Business:
This made both lists, because even though it is something cloud service companies will provide, there will always be some sort of risk, if you have it on your own servers, you can at least find out what security measures you have in place and what can be added, where if it is on the cloud, you have nothing to do with the security measures, it is in the provider’s hands.
Migrating to the cloud can end up as being costly, keeping up current systems that support your business while moving to the cloud can cause the costs to rise. Some companies will be able to help and facilitate this and make it easier for you, but it is not something everyone can offer.
There is the possibility, no matter how small the chance might be, that there will be an outage of the service, causing you from being able to access your files. There is also the issue that if your business has internet connectivity problems, you will be locked out of accessing the system.
When choosing a cloud service, you need to be careful of something known as ‘vendor lock-in’, this is when there are deep-rooted differences between cloud systems make it difficult from changing to another vendor, which will make changing over to another service expensive and not worth the cost.
In the End, it’s Your Decision
Image source: http://www.morethanwinning.org/yourdecision.htm
Hopefully, these points have helped you come to a decision to if using the cloud for your business is right for you is your call, if you do decide to go to cloud or are still unsure, a good tip would be to, start small and then continue from there, if it doesn’t suit, then you haven’t invested all your times and resources into it, if you find it better, you can start transitioning more to the cloud.