If you are considering investing in cloud storage for your business, you are not alone. Cloud storage has recently gone mainstream and businesses of all shapes and sizes are adopting this technology. Experts predict that this trend will continue to grow as adoption to cloud storage allows businesses to respond rapidly to changing needs and foster IT innovation.
With any kind of platform, there are pros and cons that should be considered before determining if cloud storage is the right match for your company’s IT infrastructure. See four advantages and disadvantages of cloud storage below.
- Accessibility: Files in the cloud can be accessed from anywhere with an Internet connection. This allows you to move beyond time zone and geographic location issues.
- Cost savings: Cloud storage for your business will come at little or no cost for a small or medium sized organisation. This will reduce your annual operating costs and even more savings because it does not depend on internal power to store information remotely.
- Disaster recovery: All businesses should invest in an emergency backup plan and cloud storage can be used like this by creating a second copy of important files. You can store these files at a remote location and they can be accessed through an internet connection.
- Scalability: With cloud storage, you only pay for the amount of storage you require. If your business experiences growth, then the cloud operator can help accommodate your corresponding growth in data storage needs. All you will have to do is vary how much you pay to extend the storage you have. This also works in the same way if your business shrinks and you require less storage space at a reduced rate.
- Speed: Tests have shown that when the cloud is supported by the right enterprise technologies, the speeds achieved can rival onsite scores. For example, an enterprise can have multiple servers backing up data simultaneously much quicker than backing up onto disk.
- Storage immortality: The cloud offers the opportunity to bypass the risk of purchasing hardware that will soon be obsolete. Instead, you can pay for the capacity and performance your business requires, and your provider can upgrade the environment to keep pace with the latest technology. This is brought on by competitive pressures from other cloud providers.
- Security and privacy in the cloud: There are concerns with valuable and important data being stored remotely. Before adopting cloud technology, you should be aware that you are giving sensitive business information to a third-party cloud service provider and this could potentially put your company at risk. This is why it is important to choose a reliable service provider that you are confident will keep your information secure.
- Bandwidth limitations: Depending on what service you choose, there may be a bandwidth allowance. If your business surpasses the allowance, then charges could be costly. Some vendors provide unlimited bandwidth and this is something to think about when choosing the right provider.
- Vulnerability to Attacks: With your business information stored in the cloud, there is a vulnerability to external hack attacks. The internet is not completely secure, and for this reason, there is always the possibility of stealth of sensitive data.
- Data Management: Managing data in the cloud can be a hassle because cloud storage systems have their structures. The existing storage management system of your business may not always integrate well with the cloud vendor’s system.
- Lifetime costs: With public cloud storage, the price costs over the years might increase and tend to add up. This is the same as buying a new vehicle with a large upfront cost. The convenience of lease payments might look appealing at the beginning but you will owe for mileage overage and have to pay a lot to keep the car. This is when the lifetime costs will hit you. If your applications are local and your data is in the cloud, then it can add to networking costs.
- Compliance: Depending on the level of regulation within your industry, it may not be possible to work within the public cloud. This is especially the case for healthcare, financial services and publicly traded companies that have to be especially careful when considering this option.
Do the pros outweigh the cons?
Despite concerns about the security of cloud storage, many businesses see that the cost savings, accessibility and disaster recovery are more valuable than the associated risks. Cloud storage is certainly here to stay for some time and worth considering for your company’s infrastructure and budget.