The Advantages and Disadvantages of Cloud Computing
By CTI | Mar 12, 2019 | Insights
So you’re thinking about moving to the cloud? There’s a lot of hype around switching from on-premises infrastructure to cloud computing, but is this really the best choice for you?
At CTI, we’re experts in on-premises, cloud, and hybrid infrastructures, and we know that businesses need to consider a variety of options before making important decisions about migrating their infrastructure.
Let’s review the pros and cons of cloud computing to help you decide if migrating to the cloud is the right choice for you.
The Advantages of Cloud Computing
When switching to the cloud, you give up a lot of control over the minutiae of your infrastructure in exchange for decreased capital costs, greater reliability, easier management, and a competitive edge.
With nothing to house or manage on site, you save money on the upfront setup and the ongoing costs that come with managing on-premises infrastructures—A/C, power, and general maintenance. And with a pay-per-user model for your cloud infrastructure, you typically only pay per user, nothing more. The movement of capital cost allocation to operating cost allocation allows for increased flexibility.
On-premises infrastructure is risky, too. If something goes wrong, the whole system may need to be replaced, forcing you to sink even more money into infrastructure. By moving to the cloud, you can avoid the risks that come with the failure of on-premises technology. You may still experience some brief downtime, but it will no longer be your responsibility to fix the error.
Updates and management are handled by the cloud service provider in some cases, reducing the stress and costs previously shouldered by your teams. With this type of setup, your technicians can spend more time on revenue-producing activities rather than on mundane tasks like scheduling and implementing updates. By handing over management to the service provider, you’ll free up your resources while allowing their expert teams to focus on managing your infrastructure. The result? Better reliability and consistency.
Plus, you won’t be constricted by on-premises technology—cloud infrastructures can be accessed from anywhere, anytime. And with that competitive edge, you can be sure to outpace your competition.
The Disadvantages of Cloud Computing
Despite all of its benefits, the cloud isn’t a cure-all for your infrastructure problems. Cloud resources can leave you wracked with unscheduled downtime, security issues, and a general lack of control over your resources.
Possible technical outages from cloud computing service providers leave your business in a state of flux. If you do experience downtime as a result of technical outages, you have limited knowledge about the extent of the outage and how long the downtime may last. In the meantime, your employees are unable to complete simple tasks, and your business is put on hold while they try to fix the issues. Unfortunately, businesses have little to no control over the technical aspects of their cloud resources.
This limited control over cloud infrastructure can be particularly frustrating for a new user, as cloud computing resources are owned, managed, and monitored by the service provider. So if you need to manage administrative tasks such as server shell access or firmware management, you may want to explore some other options.
A major complaint of cloud computing is vendor lock-in. Once a business chooses a cloud computing vendor, it’s often difficult for them to switch to another. Integrating current cloud applications on a new platform is also extremely difficult, and competing vendors do not have strong support channels to help customers migrate to other service providers. So once you choose a vendor, it can be hard to shake them.
Security is also a rising concern with cloud computing. Storing data or important files on external servers can open up a business to many risks. Nefarious users may be able to exploit loopholes and vulnerabilities in the system to gain access to sensitive data. For example, in a multi-tenant cloud architecture (where multiple users are hosted on the same server), a hacker can try to break into the data of other users that are currently stored on the same server. Shared cloud storage can potentially open up your business to unforeseen security issues.
With security issues, vendor lock-in, limited control, and technical outages, cloud computing is a lot to handle—not to mention that you’ll be entirely dependent on internet connectivity to use it. Naturally, cloud resources are not a perfect fit for everyone.
Staying Secure with Cloud Computing
If you’ve weighed your options and decided that cloud infrastructure will provide the most benefit to your organization, there are a few security protocols you should consider:
- Create a secure, unique password; never reuse or share a password.
- Back up your data often, and use a different storage service than the one you use to compute.
- Be security savvy. Stay away from untrustworthy websites. Never enter your passwords or other information on sites that lack HTTPS connections.
- Invest in security awareness training for your employees. All users need to understand what they’re doing and what security risks to look out for.
- Always have an exit strategy. Know how to leave your chosen cloud computing option. Read the service-level agreement fine print, and make sure it matches up with what you need, prior to signing.
Cloud computing is extremely powerful, but it’s not going to be revolutionary for everyone. Make sure you’re educated on its advantages before migrating to the cloud.
And if you decide that cloud infrastructure is not the best choice for you, know that there are still plenty of other options out there. For example, you can stick with traditional on-premises resources or opt for a hybrid approach: a mix of on-premises and cloud infrastructure.
Not sure where to start with your migration? Our staff are experts in on-premises, cloud, and hybrid infrastructure. Contact us today for help with finding the best infrastructure solution for you—no matter your resources.