Are you making use of the cloud in your business? With more and more software vendors having this as an option, it’s becoming hard to ignore this as an option for businesses.
If you’re still on the fence, then in this blog we’ll take a look at some of the pros and cons of cloud computing.
What is the Cloud?
Put simply, cloud computing is the provision of IT resources over the internet. Essentially, you’re renting space on a huge server rack to store your data or applications. For most businesses, this can start as simply as something like cloud storage, such as Google Drive, or Microsoft One Drive, or it can go as far as a full ERP system which is hosted in the cloud.
What are the benefits?
There are plenty of benefits to businesses, large and small when it comes to moving business systems to the cloud.
No business wants to be in a situation where they have a disaster. A worst-case scenario for any business nowadays would be that their main servers failed. In some cases, there may be little that can be done to resurrect the server. Unless you are mirroring (copying) data to another server, then you’re likely to have a loss of service which will impact both you and your customers.
With Cloud, whilst there can still be failures, reputable companies will be mirroring your data to another server constantly. This means that should a disk fail, you’re likely to be back up and running really quickly! All without the need to wait for an engineer to turn up on site. As well as this, the downtime for most services is going to be detailed in the service agreement, but most companies will look to minimise this as it’s bad for business!
The other big benefit of the cloud is that you can literally access anything from anywhere. With most software companies simply providing you with a URL to access your software or apps, then as long as you’re online, you’re able to work. This also means that you’re effectively no longer chained to an office. You can literally work from anywhere, though some may see this as a disadvantage too!
One of the barriers to business growth has been how quickly the business systems can scale. With the cloud, this is not an issue. As long as the software can grow with you, then it’s easy to add extra drive space to your service. Of course, your bill will increase in line with this, but it’s usually a lot easier than switching over to a newer, bigger server for example. Conversely, you can also downsize if you need too
The other indirect benefit of this is that you’re always going to be on the latest hardware, as cloud companies are constantly keeping their tech updated.
This flexibility makes it attractive to many companies around the world.
What are the downsides?
As with all things computing there some issues which you may need to consider too.
Reliance on being able to access the internet
Whilst having your business on the web can be a blessing, it can also be an issue if the internet is down for whatever reason. For temporary outages, this may not be an issue as you could tether to your mobile. However, if these outages were more long term, then this can become a big problem pretty quickly.
The other issue can be where either the accessibility of the internet or speed is not great. This is something that we’re all becoming increasingly more aware of since being in lockdown here in the UK!
Security and hacks
There are many people who are concerned about security and the cloud. Things such as security and hack attempts can and do happen, this is not just limited to cloud services.
Large cloud companies such as AWS and Microsoft etc. make sure that their servers are secure. But it is worth remembering that essentially you’re sharing all your sensitive business data with another company. We’d always recommend that you use trusted providers for this very reason.
They will ensure that servers are kept up to date and secure, so this becomes less of a worry.
We’ve added this as a downside because for many businesses this can be an issue.
If you think about on-premise servers, they are a single upfront cost which can often be recouped quickly within the business. However, with cloud, you’re always going to be paying a fee for however long you’re using that service. Whilst the benefits of the cloud may be very attractive, it’s important to consider if this is something that you’re prepared to commit too.
We hope that this blog has helped go through some of the pros and cons of cloud computing.
At Gradient, we accept that every business is different and what’s right for one won’t necessarily be right for another. The methods we use during the specification and selection of an ERP system will ensure your requirements are clearly defined so we can recommend the most appropriate option for your business.
If you’re unsure whether the cloud is the right route for your new ERP system and are looking for someone to guide you through the process, why not get in touch to see how we can help?