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The Pros and Cons of Cloud Computing

The Pros and Cons of Cloud Computing

Cloud Computing

There are undeniable advantages to using cloud solutions for your IT needs, it’s important not to treat them like a panacea. There are downsides to using the cloud, as well as many circumstances where a good old server room is still the best option. Especially as high-end hardware continues to become more affordable and easier to manage.

If you’ve caught yourself wondering whether or not to rely on cloud computing for your next IT infrastructure project, let’s take a look at some of the main perks you can gain by using the cloud, alongside the main issues that need to be kept in mind.

The Perks of Cloud Computing

Perk #1 – Reduce IT Infrastructure Costs

Cloud computing is a great way to save money as having a cloud service provider handle your processing and storage needs means that you don’t need to invest in physical servers, data centers, workstations, or tons of cables. You also avoid all of the associated maintenance, energy, and upgrade costs.

A cloud infrastructure makes outsourcing easier as well. Having your main system on the cloud means that IT companies like HTL Support can set up and manage your infrastructure remotely. That’s much cheaper than hiring an in-house IT team.

Perk #2 – Empower Your Remote Workforce

Times have changed now that the pandemic gave employees the taste of freedom, and nowadays, many of them have “remote work” as a top priority when looking for a new job. On top of that, the pandemic made it clear that businesses stand to gain from being able to switch to remote work when needed, even if that is not the standard day-to-day practice.

It’s easy to see how cloud computing can facilitate remote work. After all, this isn’t just a matter of having employee files in the cloud, but also using cloud solutions to give employees access to applications and computational power. This makes the idea of a “personal work computer” mostly irrelevant; any employee can get work done out of any workstation. Or any device with a screen and an internet connection.

The benefits of this flexibility go beyond remote work. After all, if everything your workforce needs is in the cloud, any worker can get their job done from any workstation in your building. Set up a few spare terminals in a conference room, and you can say goodbye to downtime caused by hardware issues.

Perk #3 – Improve Scalability

Tech should help your business grow, not get in the way. But it is easy — and common — for tech to become a hurdle when you handle all of your IT needs in-house. Without proper care and planning, your team may end up underestimating or overestimating how much hardware will be needed. Resulting in either overspending or underperformance. If you’re very unlucky, you may even get both.

Cloud computing can help your company avoid most of these problems. Cloud services are often offered on a pay-as-you-go model, with near-endless room for growth. Did you hire 50 people and suddenly need twice as much processing power? No need to replace a server or buy new workstations. The most you may need to do is change your cloud services plan, assuming it has a usage limit.

The Downsides of Cloud Computing

Issue #1 – Security and Privacy Concerns

Trust is an important currency in the cloud services world. How much are you willing to trust a faceless IT services provider? If their infrastructure isn’t safe, your data may be exposed to breaches, hacking, unauthorized access, and more. Third-party bad actors aren’t the only concern either; for small cloud service providers may simply disappear or revoke your access overnight, making critical data impossible to access.

Are these problems exclusive to cloud computing? Of course not. Small and medium businesses get their in-house infrastructure compromised all the time. But it is harder to make sure your data is secure when you don’t own the hardware.

Working with a reputable cloud service provider is a good way to mitigate security concerns. There are also ways to protect the data itself so it can remain safe even if the infrastructure housing it is compromised.

Issue #2 – Vendor Lock-In

This is one of the most annoying downsides of relying on the cloud, because once you commit to a particular cloud service provider, it can be difficult and costly to switch to another provider. That makes it hard to adapt if your needs change or if you’re dissatisfied with the service.

Some companies will have a bigger problem with this than others. In general, the more complex and specific your cloud needs are, the more friction and downtime will be generated if you try to switch providers. At which point, handling some or all functions in-house may just be easier and safer, even if it isn’t cheaper.

Issue #3 – Data Transfer Bottlenecks

Big files take a long time to download and upload. The solution to that is a faster connection, but there is only so far you can go without paying to run a cable between your office building and the cloud server.

Data bottlenecks are not likely to be a problem for 95% of businesses out there. If your IT needs come down to text editing, internet browsing, and spreadsheets, there’s likely nothing to worry about. However, for scientific data, raw video footage, and other data-intensive tasks, hitting a bottleneck can greatly throttle your company’s ability to get work done fast.

This problem can happen when you have an in-house server too. However, it’s a lot easier to run a couple extra cables down to an in-house server room than trying to convince your internet service provider to run more cables to your building.

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