The pros and cons to using cloud technology

A recent study found that most company’s workloads (83%) will be in the cloud by next year (2020). It effectively means that it will become the norm for businesses to store their data and other vital, important information up in the cloud, which is often defined as computing based on the internet.

In the past, employees would have had to run applications or download software on a laptop or computer from a server in their building. But using cloud technology makes the use of massive servers, and providing space for them, a completely outdated concept. It’s one of the many reasons why businesses are saving money.

If you think you’re not using cloud computing now – then think again. When you share stuff on your Facebook status or if you’re checking your bank balance on your phone, you’re making use of cloud technology.

Besides the cost benefits, there are many reasons why companies big and small are turning to cloud technology for all their important data storage needs.

That’s not to say that using cloud technology is fool-proof. In our opinion, it’s important not to ignore the downsides of using cloud services because protecting your company information and data is vital to the business existing, being compliant with regulation, keeping profitability and maintaining client trust.

But it’s something that business owners are increasingly considering so we thought it was only sensible to muse about and run through some of the pros and cons to using this technology.

It’s cheaper and reduces the need for vast office space

Ever wanted to have a leaner and more slick operation? Well, storing data on the cloud reduces the need for expensive hardware. There are many cloud platforms and pricing structures on offer and you, as the business owner, can simply choose the package that suits you whether it be pay as you go or the subscription models. There are also free versions available offered by the likes of Dropbox and Google Drive.

Cloud technology is also easy to use and very accessible, so you don’t need to employ or ask a highly qualified IT expert for advice on how to use it – you just register, subscribe and go!

It can adapt as your business grows and offer you more flexibility

If your business expands or reduces in size so too can your need for cloud capacity. It’s generally very easy to up or reduce the amount of cloud space. Most providers allow you to buy more storage or change your storage plan to suit your needs.

There’s a lot of choice

When it comes to choosing your cloud service provider you are definitely spoilt for choice. Some of the more well-known providers include Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive, Google Drive and Amazon Web Services.

It’s helping the environment

Using cloud-based technology means you use fewer computers and less hardware. Computers and laptops outdate rapidly, and they take up a lot of space on landfill. Using the cloud also means you use less energy, particularly as there’s no need for energy sapping in-house servers. By eliminating servers and the heat they generate, you will help in the reduction of your carbon footprint.To make doubly sure that you’re helping the environment as much as you can, select a cloud service provider that embraces green principles too.

Team accessibility

Do you often need your employees to collaborate on a project and share information? Then cloud services could be the answer. In an age of the gig economy and where companies are increasingly hiring more remote staff, access to company records, data and information is paramount. Using cloud technology enables companies to store information up in the cloud and provide access to employees who need it.

It enables you to work from anywhere

It means that staff can access the information they need wherever they are in the world and don’t need to rush into the office to gain access and security clearance. Business travel and conferences are no longer a bugbear where access to work files is an impossibility. Using the cloud will undoubtedly make your company more slick, efficient and modern – something that’s an attractive proposition for prospective employees, especially the millennials who prefer remote working so that they can juggle multiple jobs or working moms who may need the flexibility to fetch their kids while working part or full time. Who says your company can’t offer your employees a proper work life balance? Cloud technology can help you to do just that.

Standing apart from the crowd

While more companies are using cloud-based technology if your competitors don’t make use of it at all it will put you at a serious advantage and set you apart from them as you’ll be able to save on cost, time as well as space.

It’s more secure

It’s not unheard of for laptops and other tech to get stolen or lost, so storing important hardware, documents and sensitive data up on the cloud can come in handy when you don’t have access to your computer.

As your data is stored up in the cloud it can be accessible from anywhere and from any piece of equipment provided you know your passwords. The good news is that if you have had your laptops stolen you can remotely erase the hardware so that the crooks don’t have access to your information. Meanwhile, this will have no effect on the data that you store in the cloud.

What’s more, you don’t have to worry about security and any associated updates as your cloud technology provider will do that all for you.

We refer to cloud technology as being ‘more secure’ (not entirely secure) because security can still be an issue. According to the Logic Monitor survey, 66% of IT professionals say security is their biggest concern in adopting cloud technology.

Some of the more infamous cloud security breaches include the Dropbox hack back in 2012, Apple iCloud in 2014 where almost 500 private pictures of celebrities were posted online after a data breach, and Yahoo, which saw was the victim of an attack back in 2013 where more than one billion user accounts were compromised.

Companies that offer cloud-based services to consumers and businesses are aware that some are reluctant to make use of it, especially in light of some of the more recent infamous attacks outlined above. To mitigate this problem, they are starting to invest in other businesses with expertise to tackle this kind of onslaught.

Verizon for example recently bought Niddel – a startup that specializes in providing an autonomous threat detection service. It essentially uses machine learning to locate infected or compromised machines within companies. With such types of investment, cloud providers will increasingly narrow the chances of data breaches in the future.

 Disaster recovery

It’s so important to have a disaster recovery plan in place as you never know when something terrible may happen. There’s always a threat and it’s important to deal with it as one wrong move and you could be down and out and lose your reputation among your clients, suppliers and others within your industry.

It can all happen so quickly and having the mentality of ‘it won’t happen to me or my business’ can quickly lead to ruin.

It’s not unheard of for company servers to get hacked or for employees to lose vital documentation. There’s also natural disasters and power failures that could be the cause of you being unable to access information from your servers.

Experts say that using cloud-based backup and recovery solutions save time (according to some reports getting access to all your data can be done just a matter of hours), money and can even offer third party experts at your disposal.

Cloud technology enables you to make more space on your own devices

You know that annoying message you get to say that you’re running out of space? Well, using the cloud can mean an end to those incessant messages as you can back up photos, files and other vital pieces of information on the cloud. It will then free up memory on your phones, laptops and other devices, giving you the ability to use your own hardware to store things you want more instantly available.

The verdict on cloud technology:

Should you trust putting all your vital business or personal data on the cloud? There are certainly plenty of advantages to using cloud technology. More so, we think, than disadvantages.

What’s important though is to consider your options. There is a plethora of providers out there with different services and pricing packages. Yes, there have been some reports of reputable cloud providers being hacked in the past but the challenges that come with cloud-based technology are actually decreasing, according to reports.

If you manage a business that needs to cut on costs, make more space, enable its workforce to be more collaborative and mobile then most cloud services will be a solution to all, if not most, of these challenges.