Most people now have at least a basic understanding of what the cloud is. That said, even people like Infor’s Charles Phillips, whose entire affair is around the cloud, wants to encourage people to think carefully about whether or not the cloud is right for them. Hence, he has devised the following list of pros and cons of cloud implementation.
The Pros of the Cloud
- The idea of cloud computing is economic scale. This means that it could save businesses, regardless of size, a lot of money.
- There is no high upfront cost, nor is there a need for highly trained personnel or special facilities. Furthermore, there is no continuous cost of upgrading software and hardware either.
- Companies only have to pay for necessary resources. Hence, there is no more stockpiling of stuff that never gets used until it is out to date. This means money that is spent, is spent in an efficient way.
- The cost of maintenance is virtually non-existent. The IT company that owns the cloud is responsible for those issues. This means that businesses have a much smaller technical burden as well, even though they will always have the most up to date software.
- The cloud can grow and contract with a company, scaling up and down as needed. This elasticity means that all projects can run the way they should, rather than having to be delayed because the software is not appropriate. All necessary resources can be gained on the spot.
- It is environmentally friendly. A single server farm will carry the cloud of multiple agencies, meaning that power requirement, and thereby the use of fossil fuels, is reduced.
The Cons of the Cloud
That said, the cloud is not necessarily the best way forward. There are some concerns that must be considered, and each business has to individually weigh up the pros and cons. The most pertinent disadvantages of the cloud are:
- Security, as you do have to trust a third party to hold your personal and valuable data. This is why you must consider whether you want to sign up to community, public, or private cloud servers. Private clouds are the most secure, public clouds the least. While the cloud itself, in whatever form, is perhaps no less or more secure than traditional forms of storage, the problem is that there is little accountability if something does go wrong.
- Reliability is a second concern. The cloud is online, so if the internet goes down, or there is a problem with the server farm, no data will be accessible anymore. This is why it is important to look into the contingency plans the cloud company provides.
- There may be legal reasons as to why the cloud is not suitable. There is the Health and Human Services Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) and the Sarbanes-Oxley, for instance. If your business is covered under these, then the cloud may not be right for you. This is the one disadvantage that will always instantly outweigh the advantages.