More and more businesses are moving to cloud-based servers.
Despite this, offering a precise definition of what ‘the cloud’ is can be difficult and the thought of implementing it can arouse concern for some people.
Above all else, there are three issues that most business owners wish to consider before taking the plunge.
These issues are: privacy, interoptability, and of course, cost.
Below, we take you through some of the reasons why cloud is the best solution for your business.
What is the cloud?
To keep things as simple as possible, the cloud can be thought of as a delivery method for your software.
In essence, it provides a network of servers that are combined together and work as one system.
There are multiple things that the cloud can do. This includes (but is not exclusive to) holding important data, executing applications within your software and pushing content.
Another big plus is that you can get access to it online.
One of the trickier elements of understanding is that there are private and public options when it comes to ‘the cloud’.
Perhaps the key differentiating factors when it comes to the cloud when compared to on-premises are the things it doesn’t need.
For example, you won’t need hardware or networking devices on your premises. Instead, you can control your operations from your phone or tablet.
A key explanation for the rise in cloud adoption by businesses across the country is the far greater levels of flexibility and resiliency it offers, as well as scope for extra productivity.
During times of crisis, including the current pandemic, international trade wars and uncertain economic realities, businesses are looking for and more towards software that secures their future and can withstand major upheaval.
In these difficult times, many business owners are scouring the market for a stable solution to unpredictable challenges.
In 2020, a review by Goldman Sachs showed that 23% of IT tasks are now carried out via public clouds.
With this in mind, what are the key concerns that might need to be addressed?
Privacy and the cloud
It would be foolish to dismiss concerns about privacy when it comes to data.
However, is it fair to say that the cloud is more vulnerable to privacy breaches than an on-site server? Possibly not.
In a cyber readiness report published in 2019, a large proportion of US businesses were deemed ‘unprepared’ for a range of cyberthreats.
Among the businesses analysed, 73% were considered ‘novices’ when it came to cyber readiness.
Since cyberattacks are increasing fairly rapidly, it is fair to say that businesses and IT departments have some significant challenges on their hands.
Despite this, cloud options have proven to be just as, if not more, safe than on-site options.
A report by Gartner has suggested that cloud environments are expected to experience 60% fewer incidents than traditional data centres.
This is not to say that the cloud is invulnerable to risk, and you should still be mindful of dangers just as you should be with any setup.
It may be more helpful to entertain the thought that data security is as much about the processes you put in place as it is about the fundamental server options you choose.
With this in mind, you’ll need to carefully consider the sensitive information you put out on the cloud and make sure you have a firm grip on how your provider plans to protect that data.
It is true that the timeframe needed t get all of this data across during a successful migration is onerous to some.
Therefore, you should choose a provider who has a quality reputation for planning and executing these projects along with the people skills to get everyone on board.
Whatever choice you make, privacy will always be of paramount importance. Having a crisis management process in place can help mitigate some of these problems if they occur.
Overall privacy does not seem to be a factor that will determine why cloud is the best solution for your business
The cloud and interoptability challenges
You’ll be pleased to know that progress has been made regarding some of the interoptability issues early adopters faced.
Now, numerous systems can work in tandem in a way that they could not just a few short years ago.
APIs continue to improve and overall standards seem to be getting better all the time.
The tech monsters (Facebook, Google, Amazon, Microsoft) are all producing new applications with cloud capability that fuel the fire.
Now there is greater choice than ever when it comes to linking your major systems together.
Although more progress needs to be made, things are heading in the right direction.
How much does cloud cost?
Many people are put off by the cost of cloud but before dismissing it completely, it might be worth considering the cost of your current setup.
Is the difference really that great and does it affect why cloud is the best solution for your business?
On the other hand, if you already have all of the IT staff you need to run your servers effectively on-site, it might not be good value to change things up entirely. If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.
That said, so many businesses are surprised to hear of the cost of their IT operations when compared to a cloud-based approach.
Choosing the cloud could result in saving money through automatic updates, labour costs and maintenance, as well as other avenues.
When thinking about cost, you could also consider how scalable you need your solution to be.
How comfortable is your current IT department with staying abreast of the latest technological advancements and are they able to meet the challenges time and again?
You’ll also need to consider the need for additional data storage. Do you have the on-site space to accommodate additional data or is cloud a better option?
If you’re on the fence with these things, make sure you keep reassessing your options regularly. It’s a fast-changing world that we live in and unexpected challenges may tip you in one direction or another.
Ultimately, we hope this soothes some of your concerns around cloud-based approaches while also keeping in mind the risks that are common across systems and platforms. What do you think? Have we shown you why cloud is the best solution for your business?