What is the cloud, where is it? What is it for?
You may have asked yourself these questions, many times, and even looked for an answer but not found a satisfactory one. The term “Cloud” or “Cloud Computing” is everywhere…
Simply put, Cloud Computing means storing and accessing programs / data over the internet instead of your computer’s or server’s hard drive. “The Cloud” is really just a metaphor for “The Internet”. The term is derived from the days of flow chart diagrams depicting the infrastructure of Internet as nothing but a puffy, floating white cloud.
Local Computing v Cloud Computing
When you store data on and / or run programs from your hard drive, it’s called local computing. Everything is physically close to you meaning that access and retrieval is fast for your computer and others on your “LAN” or local area network.
Local Computing is:
– Having all your equipment physically close, on your “local area network”
– Storing data and running programs from your hard drive or network server.
Cloud Computing is:
– Accessing your data & programs across the Internet, or
– Having your data synced over the web
In a large business you may know all about the workings of the system on the other side of the connection, whereas as an individual user, you may never have any idea of the enormous data processing happening at the other end.
In both of the above cases, the final result is the same; with an online connection, cloud computing can be done anywhere, at any time.
Companies of all shapes and sizes are adapting to the this new technology and experts predict that this trend is only likely to increase in the coming years.
Whilst large companies already greatly benefit from utilising Cloud Computing, it is not without its disadvantages – so we have listed the pros and cons so that you can weigh up whether it is worth considering if your business should migrate to the cloud.
Benefits of Cloud Computing
Flexibility – Cloud based services are scalable meeting the demands of business, this agility can give businesses a tangible advantage over competitors. Deployment and management is also more straightforward, reducing the potential complexity of large scale projects.
Disaster Recovery – Utilising cloud based backup and recovery solutions has ensured more organisations invest in this important area where traditionally they may have lacked the funds and expertise to implement it.
Cost – Cloud computing reduces the cost of buying and maintaining expensive on-premise hardware and instead relies on a subscription based model thus decreasing capital expenditure (CAPEX) within your business.
Accessibility – Cloud computing enables you to work anytime, anywhere, providing you have an internet connection, and with many cloud services also offering mobile apps, you are not tied down to a particular device. This also enables businesses to offer more flexible working patterns for staff.
Reduced Environmental Impact – Instead of running multiple, mostly unused on-premise servers continuously, companies instead used shared resources as and when needed, thus improving their “green” credentials.
Disadvantages of Cloud Computing
Downtime – is a disadvantage caused by either broadband outage or due to a Cloud Computing service providers failure. Both will affect business continuity.
Limits of total control – when using cloud based computing your business is reliant on a third party provider for your services. This could impede your business strategy and possibly reduce hybrid integration, requiring your business to adapt to the service providers platforms and working practices.
Security and privacy – your business’s data is valuable to you but could also have value to someone else, remotely storaging and accessing your data comes with risk and needs to be very carefully managed in an effort to maintain data security and privacy compliance.
Vulnerability to attack – every aspect of cloud computing is potentially accessible from the Internet leading to attempts by hackers to look for vulnerabilities, there have been many cases in the past couple of years where big cloud service providers have been breached.
Cost – although CAPEX is reduced by subscription base cloud solutions, as a business it is important to weigh up the operational expenditure (OPEX) against the service requirement taking in to account the life of the hardware required for an on premises option, in some cases, particularly for small business it may be more cost beneficial to adapt on premises solutions.
Contract Lock-in – Often cloud suppliers make the task of migrating tricky to avoid losing a customer to a competitor; it is up to the business to weigh up these risks prior to signing up.
Deep South IT can assist your business with anything from simple cloud backup plan to a full blown disaster recovery solution.
We look forward to working with you.
© Deep South IT 2017 www.deepsouth.co.uk