Cloud computing is becoming more and more common in business. The global demand for cloud computing services has been growing rapidly over the last decade. It was valued at USD $429.5 billion in 2021, and is expected to reach USD $1025.7 billion by 2028.
The cloud offers many advantages for companies of all sizes, especially smaller ones that may not have the resources to set up their own data centers and IT systems.
But do you know if cloud computing is right for you, or how will it impact your business? We’ve compiled a list of the top advantages and disadvantages of cloud computing so you can compare how they will affect your organization.
What is cloud computing?
Cloud computing is the delivery of computing services via the Internet, rather than on an organization’s private servers. In the context of business, cloud computing is commonly understood to refer to the practice of renting computing power and services from third-party providers.
The three major types of cloud computing are Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS). IaaS refers to renting virtual machines that you can use to host your own software or run a specific software application. SaaS refers to software that is hosted by the vendor and accessible remotely by users. PaaS is designed specifically for building, deploying, and managing applications in the cloud.
The advantages of cloud computing
If you’re concerned about the upfront costs of cloud computing, know that it can actually reduce your costs in the long run. This is because cloud computing providers charge their customers based on usage — they only charge you for what you need. There are no fixed costs, so you’ll never pay for more than you need.
Cloud computing providers can scale their services up or down as needed — as more people use a service, providers will add more capacity. And as demand for a service decreases, they can reduce capacity.
Due to the scale and structure of the cloud-computing environment, it’s easier to maintain and manage security. This is because each organization is sharing resources with many other organizations. Therefore, it’s easier to maintain security on a large scale than to keep a smaller system secure.
It’s also easier for a cloud computing provider to keep their security systems up-to-date. The provider will update their cybersecurity systems, and all their customers will be automatically protected.
With cloud computing, you don’t have to worry about maintaining hardware, upgrading software, or taking care of any other technical tasks. The cloud computing provider takes care of all of that for you. You just have to decide what you want to do with your cloud-based services. This can save you time, money, and resources that you would otherwise have to use on maintenance and upkeep.
Cloud providers can also easily scale their services up or down to meet demand. In other words, they can add or remove capacity as needed. Because they don’t have to worry about the hardware and software, they can respond to demand more quickly than private organizations.
Cloud services can be accessed from any device with an internet connection, allowing users to collaborate and access their data from anywhere. Cloud services can also be accessed from multiple devices simultaneously, allowing users to work on the same documents on different computers without having to physically be in the same location.
The disadvantages of cloud computing
Because cloud computing services are run by third-party providers, you might experience outages when the providers’ systems go down. For example, in March 2022, several major Apple services went down, with thousands of users reporting outages.
This is why it’s critical to choose a reliable cloud computing provider. Make sure their systems are highly available and that they have a good track record for uptime. Your provider’s SLA (service-level agreement) will spell out what happens if their systems go down. Find out if the SLA includes availability and if the provider offers compensation for downtime.
While security was listed as an advantage above, it does also present some issues. When your data is stored in the cloud, the risk of loss or theft is higher if it is not fully protected, as the data can be accessed by anyone able to bypass the security features in place. This risk can be especially high when encryption isn’t used to secure data in transit and at rest.
Cloud service closure
Another disadvantage of cloud computing is that you might find that your cloud-based services have been shut down. This may happen because the provider closes their business or because they go out of business.
Network connectivity dependency
Network connectivity is key to everything that happens in the cloud. If that connectivity goes down, so does everything else in the system. As such, it’s important to make sure that your office has reliable internet access at all times.
In this day and age, it’s almost impossible to avoid cloud networks going down. As a result, it’s important for your organization to have a disaster recovery plan in place.
Find the right cloud solution for your business
Cloud computing is here to stay, and it presents a great opportunity for businesses of all sizes. Depending on the needs of your business, you may want to outsource all or some of your IT operations to the cloud. Do you need to save money? Would you prefer to work from home? Are you concerned about security? We can find the most suitable cloud provider for your business.
The cloud specialists at Technology Solutions will help you navigate cloud solutions, advise you on the best for your business requirements, and manage your entire migration and cloud environment.