The cloud — you hear this term seemingly everywhere these days, and it’s become one of the biggest buzzwords of the past decade. In fact, statistics found at IRMS 360 Enterprise state that, “Nearly 90 percent of businesses have adopted the cloud in some capacity — and in 2015, 24 percent of IT budgets will be allocated to cloud solutions.”
But is the cloud all it’s cracked up to be? Or is it simply overrated and more trouble than it’s worth?
The Pros of Cloud Technology
- It streamlines the way in which team members access information and greatly improves collaboration.
- Workers can usually access information from a variety of devices like desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones.
- It’s ideal if you have workers who telecommute and are spread across the country or even the world.
- Because everything is located virtually, you don’t have to worry about data loss if hardware fails.
- It offers maximum flexibility so you can scale up or down depending on the needs of your business.
- Managing your business in the cloud is much less expensive than it was a few years ago and a financially viable option for most companies.
There are two main downsides of the cloud. The first and biggest is security, or the lack thereof. Any time you’re managing your business in a cloud environment, there’s always the potential for information to be leaked to unintended third parties, which can quickly jeopardize sensitive data. Even though most cloud vendors take in-depth security measures, there’s never any guarantee that you’re completely safe, and no one is immune from a cyber attack.
The other issue is the potential for downtime. Whether it’s because of application bugs, storage failures, or human error, you’re inevitably going to have to deal with downtime at some point. If this goes on for a prolonged period, it can be costly to your business and potentially damage your reputation.
Getting Started With the Cloud
If you think that cloud technology is right for your business, there are a few steps to take when implementing software. First of all, you’ll want to check out a few different vendors to see which one is best for your company. If you have a small team with only minimal needs, a basic service like Google Drive or Dropbox might suffice.
Otherwise, if you’re dealing with a much larger business infrastructure, you’ll probably need a more comprehensive service. A post on Network World reviews 10 of the top cloud storage providers and can point you in the right direction if this is the avenue you need to take.
Some things to consider when looking at vendors include:
- Security measures
- Disaster recovery policies
- Customer support
Because there’s often a lot of data migration involved with moving to cloud technology, it’s recommended that you take a phased approach. For example, you might want to start with educating your employees on how to use it, and then iron out connectivity issues and adjust your workload until everything is at 100 percent functionality.
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. A post found on Rackspace offers a step-by-step guide to cloud implementation.
While cloud technology is perfect for some companies, it’s definitely not for everyone. By looking at the big picture and weighing the pros and cons, you can decide if it makes sense for your business and if it’s something worth implementing.