If you’re planning a network upgrade or expansion within the next 6 months, listen up. You might be able to save yourself quite a bit of money AND give yourself a more productive workplace by switching to a cloud-based network instead of an on-premises server. However, cloud computing is NOT a good fit for every company, and if you don’t get all the facts or fully understand the pros and cons, you can end up making some VERY poor and expensive decisions that you’ll deeply regret later.
That said, for some clients after they have network update, the cloud can actually lower their IT costs significantly, greatly improve the ability for remote workers to connect and work, simplify their entire IT infrastructure and genuinely solve a number of technical problems they’ve been trying to work around for years. So which is right for you? Let’s discuss…
Pros Of Cloud Computing:
- Never upgrade your systems again. When you’re hosting in someone’s cloud, it’s the equivalent of renting an apartment. You get all the benefits of living there but none of the responsibility for maintenance. In fact, one of the reasons cloud computing can save your organization a lot of money is that the cloud provider is “pooling” the money of many organizations to host and maintain the environment, meaning you’re paying for only a fraction of what it would cost for you to host and maintain the same infrastructure.
- Lowered IT costs. This is probably the single most compelling reason why companies choose to upgrade their network (all or in part) to the cloud. Not only do you save money on software licenses, but also on hardware (servers and workstations) as well as IT support and upgrades. In fact, we save our clients an average of <<X% to Y%>> when we move some or part of their network functionality to the cloud.
- Ability to access your desktop and/or applications from anywhere and any device. If you travel a lot, have remote workers or prefer to use an iPad while traveling and a laptop at your house, cloud computing will give you the ability to work from any of these devices.
- Disaster recovery and backup are automated. Of course, check the small print of your cloud provider. Some will only back up your data for a period of 3 days prior, and some will waive all responsibility for backing up and securing your data.
- It’s faster, cheaper and easier to set up new employees. If you have a seasonal workforce or a lot of turnover, cloud computing will not only lower your costs of setting up new accounts, but it will make it infinitely faster.
- It’s a “greener” technology that will save on power and your electric bill. For some smaller companies, the power savings will be too small to measure. However, for larger companies with multiple servers who are cooling a hot server room and keep their servers running 24/7/365, the savings are considerable.
- Cons Of Cloud Computing:
- The Internet going down. While you can mitigate this risk by using a commercial-grade Internet connection and maintaining a second backup connection, there is a chance that you’ll lose Internet connectivity, making it impossible to work.
- Data security. Many people don’t feel comfortable having their data in some off-site location. This is a valid concern, and before you choose any cloud provider, you need to find out more information about where they are storing your data, how it’s encrypted, who has access and how you can get it back.
- Certain line-of-business applications won’t work in the cloud. Cloud computing makes your small business dependent on the reliability of your Internet connection. When it’s offline, you’re offline. If your internet service suffers from frequent outages or slow speeds, cloud computing may not be suitable for your business.
- Compliance Issues. There are a number of laws and regulations, such as Gramm-Leach-Bliley, Sarbanes-Oxley and HIPAA, that require companies to control and protect their data and certify that they have knowledge of and control over who can access the data, who sees it and how and where it is stored. In a public cloud environment, this can be a problem. Many cloud providers won’t tell you specifically where your data is stored.