This post has been updated on 26 Feb, 2024
Today, cloud computing has taken the IT world by storm. Organizations, irrespective of their size, are moving their current IT infrastructure to the public cloud, their own private cloud, or the hybrid cloud—with the best features of both public and private clouds.
But still, there’s a small section of naysayers who are still thinking—what are the pros and cons of cloud computing? How will cloud benefit my business? Should I migrate to the cloud just because others are doing it?
Well, they should certainly analyze their current IT infrastructure, weigh their limitations and workload or application restrictions, if any, and then evaluate whether the cloud will solve or remove their present issues and limitations.
What are the advantages of cloud computing?
#1. No cost on infrastructure: Cloud computing is divided into three major categories as per the services: Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS).
In all these categories, one thing is common that you don’t need to invest in hardware or any infrastructure. In general, every organization has to spend a lot on their IT infrastructure to set up and hire a specialized team.
Servers, network devices, ISP connections, storage, and software – these are the major things in which you need to invest if we talk about general IT infrastructure.
But if you move to cloud computing services, then you don’t need to invest in these. You simply go to a cloud services provider and buy a cloud service.
#2. Optimized Investments in Hardware and Software:
With most organizations now using a SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) model, it is easy to save money on project expenses. This model provides Enterprise plans for group usage, so you won’t have to pay individually per person for your team or company’s staff members.
By selecting the cloud, you save cost in many ways:
- Zero investment in infrastructure.
- No local server purchase requirement.
- Since you don’t own the infrastructure, you spend nothing on its management or staff to manage it.
- Cloud works on a pay as you go model, so you spend only on resources that you need. Nothing more!
When you opt for the cloud, the management of its infrastructure is the sole responsibility of the cloud provider and not of the user.
#3. No administrative or management stress: Whenever there is a purchase or up-gradation of hardware, a lot of time is wasted looking for the best vendors, inviting quotations, negotiating rates, taking approvals, generating POs and waiting for delivery and then setting up the infrastructure.
This whole process includes lots of administrative/managerial tasks that waste a lot of time.
With cloud services, you just need to compare the best cloud service providers and their plans and buy from the one that matches your requirements. And this whole process doesn’t take much time and saves you a lot of effort. Your system maintenance tasks are also eliminated in the cloud.
#4. Accessibility and pay-per-use: Cloud resources are easily accessible from around the globe – anytime, anywhere and from any device and you have complete access to your resources.
This decides your billing also -you only pay for what you use and how much you use. It’s like your phone or electricity bill. But with other IT infrastructure, one spends the complete amount in one go and it is very rare that those resources are used optimally, and this often leads to wasted investments.
#5. Reliability: Your infrastructure in the cloud increases the reliability and availability of applications and services. Cloud services run on pooled and redundant infrastructure which provides you with higher availability of IT services.
#6. Data control: Another primary advantage of the cloud is that it centralizes all the data from multiple projects and branch offices to a single location. You gain complete control over the data without visiting individual places for checking the information.
#7. Data backup & recovery: Loss of data can significantly impact your business. You might lose critical information which can cost you a huge sum of money, waste your valuable time and adversely impact your brand image.
To prevent it, you can automatically backup all the data to the cloud on a regular basis. This helps you to recover any data in case of accidental deletion, loss because of natural calamity or if the hard drive crashes.
#8. Huge cloud storage: Most cloud services provide you with a free, secure, and huge storage space to store all your valuable information.
Although most cloud storage services like OneDrive offer you a good amount of free storage, if you use it all, you can always go for buying more secure storage in the cloud.
#9. Automatic software updates: Updating a system every now and then can be a frustrating task for enterprises. The IT department needs to update the system for every individual which not only wastes time but affects productivity.
But if you are using cloud-based applications, they will get automatically updated, without any involvement from the users.
#10. More eco-friendly: The cloud computing system can be environmentally friendly because most cloud service providers follow best practices to be sustainable. It also saves money on energy and reduces carbon footprint.
In Q4 2023, global cloud infrastructure service spending grew by $12 billion compared to Q4 2022, bringing total spending to $73.7 billion for the three months ended December 31. This indicates a robust and growing global market for cloud services, reflecting increased adoption and investment in cloud infrastructure across the world. (Source)
Understanding cloud computing benefits can help businesses make better decisions about migrating to the cloud. Now, let’s discuss about some cloud computing challenges.
What are the disadvantages of cloud computing?
#1. Requires good speed internet with good bandwidth: To access your cloud computing services, you need to have a good internet connection always with good bandwidth to upload or download files to/from the cloud.
#2. Downtime: Since the cloud requires high internet speed and good bandwidth, there is always a possibility of service outage, which can result in business downtime. Today, no business can afford revenue or business loss due to downtime or slow down from an interruption in critical business processes.
#3. Limited control of infrastructure: Since you are not the owner of the infrastructure of the cloud, hence, you don’t have any control or have limited access to the cloud infra.
#4. Restricted or limited flexibility: The cloud computing provides a huge list of services, but consuming them comes with a lot of restrictions and limited flexibility for your applications or developments. Also, platform dependency or ‘vendor lock-in’ can sometimes make it difficult for you to migrate from one provider to another.
#5. Ongoing costs: Although you save your cost of spending on the whole infrastructure and its management, on the cloud, you need to keep paying for services as long as you use them. But in traditional methods, you only need to invest once.
#6. Security: Security of data is a big concern for everyone. Since the public cloud utilizes the internet, your data may become vulnerable.
In the case of a public cloud, it depends on the cloud provider to take care of your data. So, before opting for cloud services, it is required that you find a provider who follows maximum compliance policies for data security.
For complete security of data on the cloud, one needs to consider a somewhat costlier private cloud option or the hybrid cloud option, where generic data can be on the public cloud and business-critical data is kept on the private cloud.
#7. Vendor lock-in: Although the cloud service providers assure you that they will allow you to switch or migrate to any other service provider whenever you want, it is a very difficult process.
You will find it complex to migrate all the cloud computing services from one service provider to another. During migration, you might end up facing compatibility, interoperability and support issues. To avoid these issues, many customers choose not to change the vendor.
#8. Technical issues: Even if you are a tech whiz, technical issues can occur, and everything can’t be resolved in-house. To avoid interruptions, you will need to contact your cloud service provider for support. However, not every vendor provides 24/7 support to their clients.
Here are the advantages and disadvantages of cloud computing in points for easy reference:
A list of advantages and disadvantages of cloud computing:
|Advantages of Cloud
|Disadvantages of Cloud
|No cost on infrastructure
|Good internet connection & bandwidth required
|Optimized investments in hardware and software
|No administrative or management stress
|Limited control of infrastructure
|Restricted or limited flexibility
|Data backup and recovery
|Huge cloud storage
|Automatic software updates
|System compatibility issues
Read details in a report by IDC.
It is easy to see how the advantages of cloud computing simply outweigh the drawbacks. Decreased costs, reduced downtime, and less management effort are benefits that speak for themselves.
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