Are you thinking about making the switch to cloud computing in your business?
You’re not alone.
The statistics show that the majority of businesses have experimented with at least one piece of cloud technology.
According to research by IDC:
Cloud computing spending is expected to grow at better than 6x the rate of IT spending through 2020.Medium
Still undecided? Here are the pros and cons you need to consider:
The advantages of cloud computing
Cloud computing has many benefits. Here are some of those most reported by small businesses:
When you move your business to the cloud, your cloud services provider (CSP) manages the software for you.
CSPs are held to high standards when it comes to availability. They will proactively monitor your systems for you. This means you’ll likely experience less downtime, resulting in increased productivity.
Better disaster recovery
How would your business survive if your business premises ceased to exist tomorrow?
When you migrate to the crowd, you benefit from the ultimate in disaster recovery. When you store everything remotely, it’s easy to get your business up and running from a new location if the worst were to happen.
Reduce the burden on IT staff
In an ideal world, IT staff would be available to help employees with their problems while also working strategically in the business to help you grow.
In most small businesses, this is not the case.
Many IT teams spend their days’ firefighting issues as they crop up — working overtime just to keep your business running.
This all changes with cloud computing. Because your CSP will ensure your systems are running effectively, IT staff are free to work on other things.
Predictable monthly costs
Maintaining your hardware and software in-house regularly results in large, unexpected costs.
What if something breaks down? Or, urgent updates are required to keep your systems running?
At worst, these unplanned costs can cripple a small business. At the very least, they impact the budget and profits for that financial year.
When you move to the cloud, you’ll pay predictable monthly costs based on your usage. This is scalable — meaning it’s easy for you to upgrade your package as your business grows.
When everything is stored centrally in your business, it makes it easier for your staff to work collaboratively.
According to research by Frost & Sullivan, 85% of businesses who prioritized collaboration increased their productivity. They say modern communication systems:
Innovate faster by supporting high-velocity collaboration across globally distributed teams.
Improve employee productivity and reduce time to market by streamlining communications.
Attract and retain talent through better employee engagement.
Enhance customer service.
Improve profitability by reducing travel time and costs.Frost & Sullivan
The disadvantages of cloud computing
But cloud computing isn’t perfect.
For many businesses, it’s important to consider the downsides too — and think about how they will likely impact your business.
Here are the biggest concerns:
The initial project
Migrating to the cloud isn’t a small project. Some businesses decide to do it bit by bit, whereas others decide to do it all in one go.
Whatever’s right for your business, it’s important to consider how you will manage the initial project to limit the impact it has on your day-to-day operations.
But some impact will be inevitable.
Reliance on your internet connection
The benefit of cloud computing is that your business is accessible anywhere with an internet connection.
The downside is that you’re reliant on your internet connection to get anything done. What if your internet service provider is having issues, or your internet goes down for a day?
Although system downtime is dramatically reduced, there’s always a risk with cloud computing that you won’t be able to access your data when you need it.
And the internet connection is one thing that’s outside your CSP’s control — so they won’t be able to support you with this.
If you want to keep your ongoing costs to a minimum, you will need to think about how you will manage your transition to the cloud.
When you have your own systems in-house, you have a large upfront cost to pay — but ongoing costs are minimal and typically related to upgrades and maintenance.
With cloud computing, you pay an ongoing monthly subscription fee. This increases as your business grow so it’s something to consider before you make the switch.
Putting security in someone else’s hands
Security is one of the biggest concerns businesses have when moving to the cloud — and it’s not hard to understand why.
“66% of IT professionals say security is their greatest concern in adopting a cloud computing strategy.”Louis Columbus
When you run your own systems in-house, the security is under your control. You keep your data safely in your own systems, and your IT team knows how to avoid the biggest security mistakes.
When you move to the cloud, your data is stored online — making it more vulnerable to threats. Thankfully, reputable CSPs have invested heavily in security. But it’s still something you need to think about before you migrate.
Do you like having control over software versions and hardware upgrades? Cloud computing might not be for you.
For many, the fact that hardware and software are maintained by the CSP is an advantage. It means they no longer have to dedicate time and resources to managing these tasks.
But for some business owners, it’s important to have more control over the software they use and its functionality. Think about what you’d like your provider to do for you before you find the right one.
The advantages of cloud computing — for many businesses — outweigh the cons.
Change can be unnerving for any business, especially when it’s so transformative to the way we operate on a daily basis.
But cloud computing is changing the way we do business. More often than not, it’s changing it for the better.
So, while it’s important to be aware of the downsides and to plan for them in your business, it’s hard to dispute the research that suggests cloud computing is our future reality.