The cloud computing technology model has taken the business world by storm. It offers numerous advantages to both small businesses and large enterprises. In fact, today it is possible to migrate your small business operations to the cloud. However, cloud computing does have a few downsides too. In this article, we closely analyze the pros and cons of cloud computing to help you understand what the fuss is all about.
Pros of Cloud Computing
Working smartly with cloud-based applications and data can provide the following benefits:
Traditional on-premise software systems involve huge upfront costs and you may need to shell out licensing fees for all the users in your company. On the other hand, cloud vendors offer convenient, flexible, and scalable pay-as-you-go options which means you need to pay only for the features you use. Plus, there are no maintenance and upgrade expenses involved as the provider takes care of these aspects for free.
Cloud solutions offer almost unlimited data storage capacity. This element is scalable so you need not worry about finding adequate storage space for your ever-increasing volumes of business data. For instance, you may be wondering–what is CRM software and where can store your loads of customer data? The answer lies in investing in a top cloud system such as Salesforce CRM. To make things better, there are other equally good cloud CRM applications available in the market, so you can also look around for a Salesforce CRM alternative that fits your business needs.
Backup and Data Recovery
It is safer to store data in the cloud as you can count on the vendor to back it up regularly and restore it when required. Therefore, cloud storage is preferable to storing data on physical devices which may get damaged in case of emergencies like earthquakes, floods, etc. The cloud provider uses state-of-the-art data centers to store and back up your data, so you can count on its security even if your office premise infrastructure goes down during an emergency.
Automatic System Integrations
Cloud computing offers automatic software integrations and you need not make special efforts to integrate your cloud applications with your existing software ecosystem. Plus, cloud systems offer easy customization options. You can extend the efficiency and usefulness of your cloud apps by integrating them with your other software solutions to make data flow smooth and seamless between the different products.
Anytime, Anywhere Access
All you need is a reliable internet connection to access your cloud apps and centralized data from anywhere, anytime. This helps businesses to transcend geographic boundaries and time zones as they can employ staff in diverse locations around the world and enable them to collaborate seamlessly for enhanced productivity. These employees can simultaneously work on shared apps and documents, and receive real-time updates. Plus, you can provide access to your clients too for closer collaboration with them.
Another big advantage is fast deployment. Simply visit the website of the software vendor and register your details to get started. Top vendors offer a handy free trial to let you try out the software’s features before you decide to invest your money. So, you can get to use the cloud system in just a few minutes.
Cloud computing can reduce your company’s carbon footprint as you can save on energy consumption and minimize carbon emissions. Small businesses especially can decrease energy usage by as much as 90%. Plus, your enterprise can project a green-friendly image to appeal to eco-conscious consumers.
Pros of Cloud Computing
Now, let’s take a look at the flipside of cloud computing:
As mentioned earlier, you don’t need to shell out a large upfront sum to subscribe to a cloud application. However, costs can total up over the long term and you may end up paying more compared to an on-premise solution. So, calculate and compare the long-term costs of on-premise and cloud systems and decide which is more affordable for your company.
The cloud system may be go down if there is an outage or any other technical problem. Even top cloud providers face this issue despite their high maintenance standards. Plus, you need reliable internet connectivity in your office to use the cloud apps at all times. Therefore, select an internet service as well as cloud service provider that has a proven track record of guaranteeing excellent uptime.
You are trusting a third party with your sensitive business data. Therefore, cloud may not be a good option for enterprises that have highly confidential business data or need to meet strict compliance regulations. Do your homework thoroughly and check out the provider’s track record when it comes to data security before you decide to invest in their service.
Vulnerable to Hackers
Cloud data can be targeted by hackers who may try to steal your sensitive business data to extort money from you. Nothing is totally secure on the web and cloud apps and storage services are no exception. There have been numerous instances of hackers gaining access to the confidential data of even blue chip large enterprises and leaking this information to the public. So, you need to take this factor into careful consideration before plunking down your money on a cloud service.
Now that you are aware of the advantages and downsides of cloud computing, you need to decide how this technology model can benefit your business. A good way to find out is to subscribe to a no-risk cloud application such as free CRM software to check if it is useful for your needs. If the experiment proves successful, you can scale to a paid package to utilize its advanced features. Balance the pros and cons of cloud computing and use cloud-based solutions intelligently to grow your business.
Erica Silva is a blogger by choice. She loves to discover the world around her. She likes to share her discoveries, experiences and express herself through her blogs. Currently, she is associated with Airg Team for development work. Check out her firm’s performance reviews. Find her on Twitter:@ericadsilva1