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Posted on Dec 28, 2015 in Backups, Continuity, Recovery

Business in the Cloud: Friend or Foe?

Business in the Cloud: Friend or Foe?

Cloud computing has emerged to be a viable IT cost containment solution that several small to large companies are starting to adopt to streamline their IT operations. It is not uncommon for many businesses to go into the cloud as part of its IT outsourcing strategies. For sure, there are cost-efficiencies to be realized. But does the company evaluated the other side of the coin, as it were, to gauge that risks and problems the companies faces when it puts its data and systems in the hands of 3rd party cloud computing service providers? Does it really deliver a complete solution where the benefits outweigh its inherent disadvantages?

Advantages

Cost reduction: Cloud computing shifts the responsibility in providing the right IT support from dedicated IT departments to 3rd party providers who are better trained and equipped to provide computing services that would otherwise require significant investments in servers and IT infrastructures for a small or fledgling company. For those starting out their business, the cloud offers an immediate IT support that can create a paperless office environment, reduce labor-intensive and cost-incurring transaction costs, and eliminates the need for investing hardware and the people to manage your IT resources as well as the operating budgets the must sustain any in-house IT operation.

Scalability and Accessibility: The cloud effectively converts your IT into a utility like water and electricity where you pay only for data storage, software and services used and your exposure grows as the business grows. No more OS and software licenses to worry about or servers to keep upgrading. In short your cloud service scales with your business. In addition, precisely because the cloud computing environment is like the internet, your data and software can be accessed anywhere anytime from any computing device -laptops, smartphone and tablets, at home, on the road or from a net cafe.

State-of-the-art computing technology: The cloud brings small and upstart businesses at about the same level of IT sophistication as many medium sized business that use the same cloud computing technologies. The cloud computing environment is essentially a shared computing platform that enables users to benefit from new automation systems for their database and applications, whether your business is new or not, large or small.

Disadvantages

Availability: What are the risks that a cloud computing service provider suddenly goes down and puts your business at a standstill? This is the same risk that all businesses face, even if they have their in-house IT departments and resources. The most common solution is to have a disaster or business recovery system which should be standard fallback for cloud computing service providers. Unfortunately, not all 3rd party cloud providers have such a fail-safe system to fall-back to.

Data ownership: While you down the data, it sits on a computing resource you do not own other than the service your pay for. A cloud service provider can have your data housed in a server in Siberia for all you care and unless you have a service contract explicitly stating that you can recover all your data without fear they could wrongly fall to your competition once the service provider goes out of business, you risk losing any system or data that is hosted or entrusted to your cloud provider.

Privacy and security: Unlike having your own IT infrastructure where you have complete control, you can never be sure how effective the data security and privacy that 3rd party cloud service providers offer. They could be using your data for their own agenda or exposing it to scrutiny to your competitors, government regulators and other interested parties without you knowing it. You have no way of finding out as you are at the mercy your cloud service provider with only their reputation to give you confidence.

Conclusion

It is important for you to do a little snooping around or a due diligence to know which cloud computing service provider you can have confidence with before going into the cloud. Do some research and while the cost can bring the cloud more to your liking, there are other considerations that can make it a burden to your business if you are not careful. To be sure there are online consultants who can help you make an informed decision given your business nature and priorities. Take some time to consult with them.

 

 

 

 

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The relentless innovation of the World Wide Web and Information technology has finally brought the delivery of a business process to a whole new level of performance and productivity. An infrastructure we now know as “Cloud” or “Cloud Computing” has finally made it possible for all sorts of data files to be stored and utilized to and from the infinite domains of the Cyberspace. The dawn of such cutting edge virtual infrastructure opens the door for businesses to expand their capability to hold and centralize information; making their network more proficient and accessible to their advantage.
The term “Cloud” originated from the illustration that is commonly used to depict a storage media or networking infrastructure which is in a form of a cloud. This state of the art virtual networking and storage entity can give businesses a significant step towards efficiency, in terms of business structure. Cloud technology is a promising feat, yes. However though, it still remains debatable for some businesses whether they should jump into the bandwagon of Cloud computing or not. Here’s a brief rundown of how it could possibly optimize a business and where it could fall short.

The Downside

Security

Data protection law is one of the major issues that might be a pain for Cloud technology users. With Cloud storage, data are not stored in a physical storage, well at least not provided by the user themselves; it’s going to be difficult to track down who’ll be held responsible for keeping the data safe and secured. Though data protection laws are slowly keeping at par with the loophole that comes with Cloud Computing, not all providers are actually willing to adapt the security provisions imposed for it, at least not yet; it’s too early to tell. Surely, sooner or later more and more cloud computing hosts will see adapt to this measure as its development soars higher and higher.
Can be Costly
It may seem like Cloud Computer is far cheaper than setting up your own data storage and network infrastructure. However, availing a cloud storage or network online is pretty much like renting an office space; it won’t entitle anybody a permanent property in the long run. Adding up all the expenses shelled out for the monthly fee will eventually sum up to the cost required to set up a physical network infrastructure. Then again, it would all boil down to the type of convenience and structure that a business prefers.

Downtime
Being a data storage that is functioning on the vast domains of the World Wide Web, it is inevitable that this technology would greatly depend on internet access. One scenario would be the unavailability of internet connection. The absence of such would hinder the access of files stored in the “cloud”; for some whose files are synchronized to their own hard drives offline access is possible. However, it’s just not possible to have an offline copy an entire data in the cloud; this would defeat its purpose to begin with.

Another scenario would be the downtime that cloud hosts may experience. Even if internet access is available, but if the hosts for the cloud storage is either having a maintenance or is simply down, accessing these the data would be close to impossible.
Though such drawback is forgivable, it would still cease or at least lessen a business’s productivity most especially in critical working times.

On a Positive Note

Easy Access Anywhere
Cloud computing as mentioned above provides a centralized stronghold for information and all sorts of data. All these information can be remotely accessed and manipulated, wherever internet connectivity is available. This easily solves hurdle concerning accessibility and centralization of data for businesses running multiple sites. With just a few clicks, one site can easily transmit and share in real time their workload to the other.

Everything is Virtual: No Hardware, No Fuss

Cloud computing makes use of the Unlimited storage that cyberspace has to offer. Businesses could just do away from physical storage infrastructure and go virtual. This means less room for non-operations related entities and more for the ones that generates the revenue. Aside from that, it cuts down the cost; Cloud storage is way cheaper than a physical network infrastructure.

Boosting Communication and Connectivity: Increasing Productivity

The transmission of information or data from one location to another is in an instant. It’s like having it in two or more places at the same time, it’s that fast. Files can be shared real time, altering the need to transmit it every step of the way. This way, more tasks can easily be done, boosting a business’s efficiency, the more efficient a business is, the more productive it becomes.

Friend or Foe?

It is without a doubt a dynamic feat to integrate Cloud into a Business’s structure. The decision whether to go for it or not would all boil down to the structure and process of the business. Surely if its advantages would outweigh its disadvantages and at the same time complement a business’s productivity, then this might be its cup of tea. If otherwise however, then it isn’t. No technology could prove its worth unless it could serve its purpose – and Cloud technology is no exception to that notion.

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