There is so much information on the internet about Cloud Computing and as the concept trends more and more with businesses, so do the myths and misconceptions. In this blog I am going to work to debunk some of those myths so that you can be more confident in the benefits of putting your business in the Cloud.
1) It's on the Internet - so it must be Cloud!
Not everything on the internet is necessarily on the cloud. In most cases when we refer to the cloud we are talking about Software as a Service (SaaS). This is where software applications such as Microsoft Office or Intacct are stored and run from a centralized remote server. Clients use the internet to connect to a Cloud Service Providers (CSP’s). Programs and Files are accessible from any computer with an internet connection and data is automatically backed up by the CSP.
2) Other people can access my data
While your data is stored on a huge server rack along side other companies data, the strict access controls applied by the CSP’s can make their systems less risky that in-house systems. Cloud Service providers are made or broken by their reputation and because many corporate decision makers are very risk adverse, the consequences of a breach of a cloud server would be disastrous to the future of the CSP. Most companies need to use computers and access their data but have other core business interests, for CSP’s storing your data is their business.
3) The Cloud isn't secure
While it is important to do your due diligence when it comes to choosing your cloud service provider, most reputable cloud service providers have state of the art facilities on the cutting edge of security and technology. It is very hard for most SME’s to keep up with the latest hardware and afford expensive data migrations when the time comes to upgrade older servers. In many cases your data is more secure when in the cloud compared to being stored in-house. While many companies have a back-up plan and execute their daily back-ups, very few ever try to restore their backed up data until a failure occurs only to find their data is either not actually backed up or it is corrupt.
Even individual users can benefit from the cloud. Everyone knows what happens when your PC crashes. Everything can be lost, we scramble to find a backup that we may or may not have made and in most cases can only recover a small portion of our data and we either have to recreate or live without files created more recent than our latest backup. Having your work and material backed up remotely to the cloud can be much more reliable. If you have a hardware crash, you lose or just forgot your PC, all you need is an internet connection to keep on working.
4) The Cloud is a passing fad
The cloud is not new at all. The concept of cloud has been around since the Timeshare model of the 1960’s and even modern versions of the cloud such as Google Docs and Hotmail have been around for years. With the ever increasing cost of maintaining in-house networks and the speed of light changes in hardware and software, it is making more and more sense for companies to take advantage of the benefits of cloud computing.
Cloud service providers are making vast investments in their server clusters and infrastructure and are making plans to expand the services they provide to include: Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) computers and networks are offered as a physical or virtual environment and Platform as a service (PaaS) this usually includes the operating system, programming language execution environment, database, and web server.
5) Clouds will kill off System Administrators and IT professionals
Companies will always need System Administrators and IT support staff. The roles may change and additional or different training and skills required but the integration to the cloud, desktop support of cloud-based software and infrastructure and smartphone/tablets hardware will need to be serviced. The other thing to keep in mind is the CSP’s will need to employ a large number of network and IT professionals to maintain their networks. As access to cloud services grows so will the demand for skilled IT professionals.
Many companies will take the “dip the toe in” approach and slowly transition services to the cloud. With the increasing usage of flexible work locations and telecommuting, it is inevitable that at least some common services will need to be relocated to the cloud. The first step is to adopt a web-based email service (Google Docs), an internet desktop application package (Office 365) or a cloud based accounting system such as Intacct.