Nowadays, the cloud is an everyday part of our lives. We all use it daily, whether it’s in the form of an email client or personal storage for photos. However, not only multinational corporations but also small and medium-sized companies are turning to cloud solutions more often. What are the main advantages, where are the pitfalls and is it worth it at all?
One of the biggest advantages of cloud solutions. Unlike in-house infrastructure, the initial cost of the cloud is minimal, or in some specific cases completely zero. This virtually eliminates the need for CAPEX costs. Learn more about the pricing of some solutions in our articles on Google Workspace and its alternatives. The money saved on purchasing your own servers can instead be invested more effectively in further business development. Additional funds can be saved on the purchase of common hardware. In fact, your equipment does not need to be extra powerful as cloud computing is based on the assumption that the main calculations take place on another remote device. The data collected during this process is stored and processed by remote servers. This means that the device accessing the cloud does not need to operate at such a high performance.
Another indisputable advantage is that you don’t need to worry about infrastructure maintenance. This saves additional expenses on employee salaries, operating system upgrades, new software versions, security updates, etc. This is because the cloud solution provider will take care of all these issues.
Automatic updates and integration of new software
The fact that developers can easily test and deploy new software releases in a cloud environment enables a higher rate of product innovation and brings more and more features to end users on a monthly, weekly and in some cases even daily basis.
Accessibility and cooperation
Employees can access company documentation from anywhere and at any time. Let’s face it. For two years now, the pandemic has been changing our working environment and the way we work. Many companies have switched to home offices at least in part, which only feeds into the idea of accessing company documentation via the cloud. Cloud environments allow for better collaboration between teams: developers, operations, security, finance, HR, sales and product architects all work within the same infrastructure yet can function simultaneously without stepping on each other’s toes. Access permissions and history help with better visibility and monitoring of who did what and when to avoid confusion. Different cloud environments can be created for specific purposes such as preparation, quality control, and automating the flow of company documentation, demos or pre-production. Since different people can work on the same version of a document and there is no need to have copies of the same document in circulation, teamwork efficiency is increased.
Different companies have different IT needs – a large enterprise with over 1,000 employees will not have the same IT requirements as a small start-up. However, both can benefit from the cloud, as it is cloud solutions that allow businesses to scale their IT capabilities efficiently and quickly to meet their current requirements. Whenever your demands increase, you can easily increase your cloud capacity without having to invest in physical infrastructure. This level of agility can give businesses using cloud solutions a real advantage over competitors.
Scalability also minimises the risks associated with in-house operational and maintenance issues. You have high-performance resources at your disposal with professional solutions and (almost) zero upfront investment. Scalability is arguably the biggest advantage of the cloud.
Control and Security
One of the main concerns of any business, regardless of size or industry, is data security. Data loss or misuse can have a negative impact on company revenue, customer loyalty and brand position.
The cloud offers many advanced security features to ensure that data is stored securely. Cloud storage providers provide protection for their platforms and the data they process, such as authentication, access control and encryption, at a higher level than you could provide at a reasonable cost on your own infrastructure. Plus, once again, the need to employ in-house specialists is eliminated. Of course, most enterprises then supplement these protections with additional custom security measures to strengthen data protection in the cloud and tighten access to sensitive information. For example, the cloud allows you to adjust visibility and control over your data. You can easily decide which users should have what level of access and to what data. This not only gives you more control over your company documentation, but it also makes your work more efficient because your employees can easily distinguish what documents are assigned to them.
Size of storage
In the context of the above scalability advantage, the cloud has essentially unlimited capacity. It’s up to you which plan you choose. If even the highest edition offered is not enough for you, providers will be happy to tailor their services for you. Of course, here we are already talking about the requirements of large companies and multinational corporations. As a rule of thumb, storage costs rise depending on the level of data availability, performance and frequency of access. Creating and optimizing a cloud cost structure can significantly reduce costs while maintaining a company’s business objectives related to cloud storage.
Backup, data recovery and disaster recovery
The fact that data can be stored in the cloud without capacity constraints also helps when backing it up. As end-user data changes over time and needs to be tracked for security or compliance with internal regulations, older versions of documents or entire software can be saved for later when they might be needed for a restore or rollback. For example, rollback of new software to an older version to maintain business continuity and to correct bugs in the new version of the software used. In the case of mission-critical applications, these can be stored in multiple locations remote from each other, ensuring continuity even in the event of a data centre shutdown due to a natural disaster, for example.
However, to be objective, cloud solutions also have some disadvantages.
The need for a stable and fast internet connection is an easy requirement to meet today, but you have to take into account, for example, that your data is stored on someone else’s infrastructure. Although we have described above that in several aspects this is also rather an advantage in terms of security, not everyone can accept that the security of their data is not completely under their control. Moreover, they are still travelling around the Internet where, despite encryption, they can be the victim of a sophisticated attack. For this reason, some companies are turning to hybrid solutions, a combination of cloud computing and on-premise infrastructure.
The price for premium services and superior storage for a large number of users, especially in the case of large companies, can climb quite high and thus be comparable to the cost of their own infrastructure. Here you need to properly weigh the pros and cons.
If you have additional questions, you can contact us in the comments and we will be happy to advise you on the most suitable solution for you.