Moving to the Cloud, Pros and Cons
There is no doubt that the future of application consumption will be done through the cloud, but like everything else in this world there will be pros and cons. Change is always a daunting opponent, and for a business that have already established standards and processes, changing them will be daunting and if done wrong will be costly.
The cloud computing paradigm has made it easy to transition business processes into the cloud, and have made it especially easy and cheap because the expertise requirement will no longer be the burden of the organization. But before taking the leap, you have to know what you are getting yourself into.
Here are the pros of moving your business to the cloud:
1. Set up cost is almost zero. When setting up your business for cloud computing, all the expenses that you would have incurred if the system was setup in-house are non-existent. There will be no hardware purchases for servers and no over spending on the man-hours that it would take to setup everything. Service providers may even wave installation fees.
2. Great scalability which eases expansion. Because of its nature, cloud services scale dramatically from very small needs of home businesses to huge corporate demands. Because of its pay to use model, clients will only need to pay for what they need and scale up if ever their needs grow.
3. There is no need for technological or security expertise. Users of cloud applications require no expertise behind the technology because the provider already takes care of all the technical babble and all the user need would be proficiency in using the applications.
4. Accessibility and collaboration. Since cloud applications can be accessed from anywhere and at any time, it would be easier to collaborate with employees who are not in the same geographical location and makes it easier to manage a global workforce.
Of course there are downsides to all good things.
1. Fear of unavailability. As the industry of cloud computing is still evolving, most vendors are still upstarts and it will be hard to determine whether they will be around a long time. There are also fears of takeovers and buyouts. Because of this, the integrity and availability of your data may still be in question.
2. Data ownership and data exchange. When your provider kicks the bucket or you decide to terminate your service, what would happen to your data then, will you be able to take it back and any copy erased from the provider’s databases? If you decide to change providers, how easy would it be to transfer all your data, will they be compatible with the new provider’s systems? These are certainly valid concerns and should be greatly considered when choosing vendors.
3. Control. Since clients have little or no control of how their data is being handled, all they can do is trust their providers and maybe ask a few questions, which will most likely be answered by “Don’t worry, it’s in good hands”.
In the eyes of this proponent of all things technology, the benefits that cloud computing brings to a business far outweighs the downside and concerns. So if you are contemplating on moving to the cloud, then do it.
By Abdul Salam