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 to the hybrid cloud – with the best features of both public and private cloud.

But still, there’s a little 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 moving to 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?

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 on 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.

Minimum management and cost: By selecting the cloud, you save cost in many ways:

  • Zero investment in infrastructure.
  • Since you don’t own the infrastructure, you spend nothing on its management or staff to manage it.
  • Cloud works on 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.

Forget about administrative or management hassles: Whenever there is a purchase or up-gradation of hardware, a lot of time is wasted looking for best vendors, inviting quotations, negotiating rates, taking approvals, generating POs and waiting for delivery and then in 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 efforts. Your system maintenance tasks are also eliminated in the cloud.

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 very rare that those resources are used optimally and thus, the investment goes waste.

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 a higher availability of IT services.

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.

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.

Huge cloud storage: Most cloud services provide you 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.

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.

After discussing the benefits of cloud computing, let’s now discuss some disadvantages of cloud computing.

What are the disadvantages of cloud computing?

#1 Requires good speed internet with good bandwidth: To access your cloud 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 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 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 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, the technical issues can occur, and everything can’t be resolved in-house. To avoid interruptions, you will need to contact your service provider for support. However, not every vendor provides 24/7 support to their clients.

Here are advantages and disadvantages of cloud computing in points for easy reference:

A list of advantages and disadvantages of cloud computing:

Advantages of CloudDisadvantages of Cloud
No cost of infrastructureGood internet connection & bandwidth required
Minimum management and costDowntime
No administrative or management hasslesLimited control of infrastructure
Easy accessibilityRestricted or limited flexibility
Pay per useOngoing costs
ReliabilitySecurity
Data controlVendor lock-in
Data backup and recoveryTechnical Issues
Huge cloud storageNA
“Before the Acronis implementation, there was a huge risk that malware could take down our company. Now, with Acronis, I can say that we’ve done everything possible to protect our data from an attack.” CIO, high performance manufacturing company.
Read details in a report by Forrester.

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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