Technology will always continue to evolve and develop. One development that has been in use for several years now is cloud computing. Cloud computing has been a hot topic for several years now, but there are many startup companies and even established ones who have been quick to adopt cloud computing. For some, the term is somewhat nebulous. Even Larry Ellison of Oracle asked what people meant by the term “the cloud”. For big enterprises and corporations, cloud computing instantly raises concerns about security, control and reliability. Concerns such as these were raised since Google’s Gmail, a cloud–based free email service, endured some known outages. Thus, many enterprises are very cautious about making the switch. According to the 2013 IFG Enterprise Cloud Computing study, 49% of executive-level managers think that cloud can help transform their business. But still, many businesses are slow in adopting the cloud because of these common concerns.
Cloud Computing Is….
To explain it simply, cloud computing is the means of saving, storing and accessing programs and data over the internet instead of using a computer’s native hard drive or in-house servers. For an application or a process to be considered cloud computing, the authorized user is required to access applications or data over the internet. Or a program must at least have a platform or program synchronized with the information over the internet.
Cloud Computing Fears
A 2012 Cloud Computing Security survey found that security concerns are still at the top of the list of worries for anyone considering adopting cloud. The survey has gathered data from senior leaders who are involved in cloud computing decision making in their respective organizations. There are 5 major concerns from enterprises and organizations about cloud:
According to the Cybersecurity vice president and general manager Sam Visner “data protection is the most important concern. Organizations need to ensure that their security policies and protections will cover information assurance. This is specifically when they seek to unlock information value and big data to use it making high-value decisions regarding customer strategy, national security and public policy”. Public clouds share resources between different customers. Virtualization is heavily used and somehow creates additional security vulnerabilities both in access levels and within the virtualization application.
No system is perfect, but a well-staffed cloud provider with highly trained personnel that deals with security on a daily basis will surely minimize the chances of security breaches as compared to an in-house or corporate IT department who’s overworked and understaffed. A 3rd party cloud service provider will likely have a well configured and a more robust load balancer, up-to-date patches and firewalls. By switching to the cloud, the in-house IT people will have more time to focus on core IT duties and less time in mundane daily setup works.
No one wants to lose control, especially if it concerns critical processes. When the systems of the network go down, it is the IT supervisor’s job to bring it back without any further hitches. So it is no surprise that these IT professionals may be nervous if they are handing over the responsibility for an infrastructure to somebody that they don’t know. Traditionally, if something fails over the network or an employee’s workstation, it is the IT department’s responsibility to have it fixed. Now by moving or switching to the cloud, the in-house IT experts know that they are handing their responsibility to a 3rd party IT expert. In doing this, they will worry that they will lose control over maintaining the network.
It’s true that some things will only work on a traditional setup like taking care of hardware issues, but the resources can be scaled faster and the APIs can lead to greater control. With the flexible cloud pricing, it can lead to more control, according to Cloud Engineer Specialist Ryan Stenhouse. He also stated that since the enterprise will have no fixed allocation of resources that can be deployed, the company can use as much or as little based on their requirements and it will lead to big capital savings.
3. Protecting The Data
Just like security, enterprises are worried about the level of data protection. Most governments around the world place very strict data protection protocols and policies for large enterprises. Data protection is a big factor among large enterprises, but it’s not a hindrance in adopting cloud computing. For businesses, this is what they should take into account when evaluating cloud service providers. The business can start by moving any non-critical processes and services which does not contain any sensitive customer data.
The cloud application uptime and performance is another big concern. We all know that a slight delay or a slow load time can make users frustrated and force customers to leave the site. This performance issue will make your business lose money. If the site is down for even just a few minutes, it will have a direct effect on the bottom line, the SEO side and the business brand reputation. But according to some tech experts, these downtime issues are caused by bad codes on the application, which the enterprise or business has direct control over.
When cloud services are in use, there will be a possible bottleneck due to the speed of the network specifically in big enterprises where mission critical applications have been hosted in-house. To counter this bottleneck issue, the enterprise should ensure a fast and secure network.
These worries are valid and any business will calculate possible risks involved before switching over to the cloud. Switching to cloud does not mean that you make the switch in one sweep. You can do it gradually by starting with non-critical processes and applications and then slowly building up. The gradual shift will build confidence among employees, upper management and the IT department. Once the company makes the full switch to the cloud, the benefits will roll in.
Advantages Of Switching To The Cloud
Here are 8 reasons why you might consider switching to the cloud:
1. More Flexible
A cloud based service or application can quickly meet the demands of having more bandwidth because of the service provider’s large capacity remote servers.
2. Automatic Software Updates
The enterprise’s IT department will not worry about updating their software because the cloud service providers will take care of all updates and patches that are required for server maintenance.
3. Disaster Recovery
The cloud service provider will take care of all issues and will take care of the complex disaster recovery plans and implementation. According to the study found by the Aberdeen group, businesses that implemented cloud services were able to resolve issues within 2.1 hours on average. This is 4x faster than traditional in-house IT recovery implementations.
4. Capital Expense
Cloud computing services are usually pay-as-you-go service, thus there is no need for big capital expenses. Cloud computing is also faster to deploy and will only require a minimal start-up cost to get it running.
5. Increased Collaboration Within The Workforce
Cloud computing enhances collaboration among the workforce to sync up and work on projects, documents and shared applications at the same time. It also allows employees to send and receive critical updates in real time.
6. Allows Employees To Work Anywhere
As long as there is good internet connection or access, authorized employees can do their work and projects wherever they are. This flexibility positively affects the employees’ knowledge, productivity and work/life balance.
7. Controlling Documents
Any enterprise that does not take advantage of cloud computing will experience productivity loss since some processes should be done, sent and received in real time to multiple departments. Email is a good tool, but it can only do so much. Employees will have to send email back and forth, which can somehow waste time and only one person can work on a particular file at a time. The cloud provides a central depository on a remote server where everyone who has authorized access can work on one central copy or copies. Employees can also do real time chats while working on the project.
8. Improves Competitiveness
Cloud computing allows SMEs access to enterprise-level technology. It also grants small and medium-sized businesses the ability to take advantage of the technology. Old school enterprises that don’t take advantage of cloud computing will have to rely on old backup methods. It also complicates file or data recovery procedures which wastes time and money.
Cloud computing will continue to evolve for the better. Set aside your fears, research the technology and know which service provider will fit your company’s needs.