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Pros and Cons of Cloud Computing

What is Cloud Computing?

There are many interpretations of 'cloud computing' including 'hosted services', 'web access' and 'outsourced managed solutions'. A popular 'cloud' system is an email program such as Hotmail or Gmail. Such systems have been available for many years, allowing us to login to our account and check our emails from any computer, anywhere in the world.

The internet is full of 'Cloud' solutions and special offers, and like with most trends everyone seems to be placing the word 'cloud' within their service offering nowadays and there are new and varied systems being added on a daily basis. New solutions may allow you to operate your database online, share information amongst peers and nowadays you can access, share and view your information across multiple platforms and devices.

So from both a user and marketing perspective, cloud solutions would appear to be very useful, satisfying our needs for instant gratification and making things available 24/7.

With upsides, of course there has to be an equal amount of downsides and generally these will not be spoken about or highlighted as much (if at all).

Who wants to hear about the hosted server going down, thus preventing access to your information or systems being hacked into or lacking in encryption so your data becomes vulnerable to prying eyes! Who wants to consider the implications of the hosted company going bust or if it decides to pull the plug on the services offered.

The phrase, 'all eggs in one basket' springs to mind.

With Cloud solutions there is most definitely a balance and sometimes a compromise to be made between convenience and security.

When researching a provider of Cloud services, bear in mind what it is exactly that you require and beyond asking the questions to see if what you need can be addressed it is critical to ask security questions such as who is the company providing you the service? How long have they been trading? Where do they store the data you are generating on their system? How will you gain access to your data if they cease trading? Is the data encrypted on their servers for total privacy? Do they have a backup system in place that keeps a copy of your data in a separate remote location?

In summary, cloud solutions are convenient.

Pros:

However, bear in mind the flipside and ask questions about the security of YOUR data!

Cons:
1. 'Accessibility' is only as stable as yours or their internet connection - if it goes down either side, there is no access!
2. Being able to work from any location can jeopardise your compliance regulations as it can potentially open up your files to prying eyes and also conflict with the data protection act!

As with all products and services, do your research, ask many questions and remember that you wouldn't hand your house keys over to a stranger and nor should you hand over your business without first doing some checks.

This article is provided courtesy of Depositit Providers of Compliant Business Continuity and Data Protection Systems since 1999.

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