More and more businesses are making the move to the cloud for their storage and application needs. The cloud services industry grew to $45 billion worldwide in 2012 and is projected to hit $95 billion by 2015.
When asked, many business owners cite the flexibility and accessibility that the cloud offers as primary reasons for their adoption. Small business owners, in particular, are turning to cloud computing in record numbers, thanks to the competitive advantages they gain with this technology.
So, is the cloud right for your growing business?
Benefits of the Cloud
- Affordable – Software that was once out-of-reach price-wise for smaller firms can now be accessed on an as-needed basis.
- Flexible – Depending on your needs, you can implement a public, private, or hybrid cloud solution. You can also make changes and updates on the fly and roll them out to all your machines at once.
- Eco-friendly – Larger data centers are able to take advantage of energy-saving technologies and strategies that are simply not feasible for in-house operations.
- Simplified backup recovery and more data resiliency – You can get back up and running fast, thanks to data and applications stored across multiple servers and in multiple locations.
- Increased storage capabilities – The cloud offers nearly unlimited storage. You don’t have to worry about adding additional machines.
- Easily scalable – Get as much capacity as you need. Upgrade and downgrade as needed. This makes planning for and managing peak loads easier.
- Fewer hardware and maintenance costs – You don’t have to purchase, maintain, cool, and upgrade as many servers and other equipment.
- Can be accessed from anywhere – Your employees can work from home or on the go much easier than with a traditional storage or application server. Changes and updates to information are made in real-time.
- Simple to set up and maintain – Most cloud storage and applications are easy to get started and easy to keep running.
Cloud Computing Problems—What to Watch Out For
- Security and privacy in the cloud isn't as easy for your business to control. By using a cloud service provider, you are handing over your secure data, and hoping they can keep it safe. To combat this, make sure your data is encrypted at every step, and make sure that you have control of the decryption keys.
- You may experience cloud downtime, which can end up costing you money. Find out what their downtime history is like and where your data backups are stored.
- You have limited control of hardware and software.
- It can be difficult to migrate to another provider should you decide you want to switch.
Doing your due diligence before picking a provider is crucial. Make sure to ask potential cloud service providers about what security measures they have in place and about their downtime statistics. It’s also a good idea to keep critical and sensitive data backed-up in an on-site datacenter, even if you decide to store it in the cloud, too.
Are you using the cloud in your business? Why or why not?
Matt Smith works for Dell and has a passion for learning and writing about technology. Outside of work he enjoys entrepreneurship, being with his family, and the outdoors.