The Pro’s and Con’s of Cloud Computing
By Greg Reid for KSP Technology Inc.
The idea of cloud computing has been around since the 1950s and the infancy of the computer age. The ‘want’ has always been there for a point-to-point sharing tool but the problems have been in the bandwidth speed and availability of the internet. Step forward 60 years and the need to connect to our data is a must in our business and personal lives. Whether you are accessing your gmail and google docs, your online CRM like Salesforce, or your company’s file server remotely through a portal like Citrix. Cloud computing has revolutionized the way we live and do business.
The key to cloud computing is Virtual Machines or VMs. Developed by IBM in the 1970’s to allow administrators to build multiple environments on large mainframe computers, it wasn’t until the 1990’s that the concept launched on the internet. The ability to host more than one VM on a single server has fundamentally changed the way networks are built. By having their computing environment hosted on a VM with multiple other users VMs, it has allowed small businesses to have the same quality of products as their big business counterparts without the hardware expenditure of building out their own network. Furthermore, because the data is virtualized, in the event of a hardware failure, the environment is easily transferred to another network with little downtime, increasing the positive ROI.
Cloudy with a Chance of Rain
Dependency on the provider has become the biggest concern with cloud solutions. Users must trust in their provider that they have secured their data from intrusion and stored their data in a suitable facility. This requires the consumer to do their homework regarding the provider. Remember, you are trusting this provider with what could be sensitive and confidential data that could substantially impact your company if compromised.
Technical difficulties do occur, whether it is power or internet outages, or provider’s hardware or software malfunctions. The user must be sure again to ask the specific question of a back up plan if such problems do occur. Downtime is costly to all businesses – coming up with procedures to minimize this is very important to your technical ROI.Questions we suggest asking before signing with a provider; track record-have you had any security breaches or hardware failures that have caused any substantially downtime? Can we speak or have references from current clients? Where is my data being stored and in what kind of environment? Remember If your business is located in Canada and your data is stored in India, you are dependent on the speed of the connections from both countries. It is best to utilize a a local provider.
Bright Skies Ahead
Cost has become a key factor in businesses switching to a cloud solution. This has enabled large and small companies alike to outsource their IT needs to a managed solution provider. Small businesses can now benefit from the same infrastructure as their large business counterparts by lowering the capital cost of a developing and managing a network on their own. Large businesses also benefit by eliminating costly internal IT staff.
As your company grows and expands, scalability and availability become key components in a businesses IT infrastructure. With cloud-based solutions, memory or processing power can be added without difficulty. Because it is an internet-based solution, as long as there is a good connection, you can access your data anytime or anywhere. Mobility has become easy with cloud access being available on computers, tablets and smartphones, giving users more flexibility and collaboration with other employees.
Backup and data recovery are vital to rebuilding after an IT disaster. Most cloud solutions are built on a robust network with maximum redundancy for storing users data. Your solution will come with a team that will make sure data is stored properly and have a disaster recovery plan in place in cases of disaster.
The Time has Come
Although there are some disadvantages to the cloud solution, the best way to over come these is by doing your due diligence. The cloud will be a viable option for some businesses because it can be a cost effective and reliable solution. Asses what your business needs are, and weigh your options.