Introduction

The fast-paced growth of businesses has been fuelled by the rampant changes in the technology landscape. Cloud Computing is a disruptive technology that burst on the technical frontline a few years ago and changed the way businesses run today within a short period. Cloud has been dominating the business scenario for quite some time now and is only set to grow from here.

Due to its multilateral utility, Cloud Computing is very much in demand. Professionals from various domains like Data Science, Cyber Security, etc. are learning Cloud Computing to upgrade their skill set and become more industry-ready. But it is imperative to know the basics, starting from the advantages and disadvantages of cloud computing before diving deeper into advanced concepts.

  1. What is Cloud Computing?
  2. How does Cloud Computing Impact Businesses?
  3. What are the Pros of Cloud Computing?
  4. What are the Cons of Cloud Computing?
  5. What type of Cloud is suitable for Businesses?

1. What is Cloud Computing?

Quoting Amazon Web Services, “Cloud Computing is the on-demand delivery of IT resources such as computers, databases, and storage over the Internet with pay-as-you-go pricing.” Cloud Computing constitutes a tech model wherein a hosted service is provided online, i.e., via the internet. This service can include hosting networks, databases, analytics and remote working software, servers, file sharing, etc. Cloud Computing offers us access to the functions which can be worked on and implemented through a cloud system.

2. How does Cloud Computing Impact Businesses?

While there are many advantages and disadvantages of using Cloud Computing, its most significant achievement is eliminating physical setup. The hardware equipment is no longer required to be deployed because program files and databases, once uploaded on the cloud server, can be accessed by users of the cloud service anywhere from a remote location. This means that if a company has multiple offices in various parts of the globe, its employees residing in different countries can still access all the data simultaneously and in real-time, as long as they have access to it, regardless of the geographic location.  

Similarly, all workings, edits, and changes to a dataset made by one user are updated in real-time on the Cloud and are visible to the other users simultaneously. This helps achieve data consistency and reduces data duplication and redundancy. Based on their utility function in a role, Cloud Computing services are classified into three categories:

  • Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)
  • Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS)
  • Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS)

But as every coin has two sides, there are both advantages and disadvantages of Cloud Computing. The following are the advantages and disadvantages of Cloud Computing in points:

3. What are the Pros of Cloud Computing?

A. Decreased Operating Costs

Since the companies do not have to invest in physical servers and other computer hardware, Cloud Computing is an effective and widely popular cost-saving solution. This is advantageous, especially for small and medium-sized companies that cannot afford expensive machinery for their day-to-day activities.

B. Eliminated Storage Concerns

Physical infrastructure also has a demerit of limited storage capacity. File storage in a company involves large volumes of data to be processed, transferred, and stored. The physical servers run out of space after a specific limit, and it is not feasible to purchase new servers and devices to continue data storage. This is where Cloud finds its most significant utility, as it offers unlimited storage space for data.

C. Enhanced Accessibility and Reliability

As mentioned earlier, Cloud Computing overcomes the constraint of access to data across offices separated by geographies. A query raised in the USA can be processed by personnel in India simultaneously. This is the premise on which most multinational companies run today. Similarly, all divisions in an organization can access data related to a given project, eliminating the need to send emails back and forth requesting data access, thereby saving time and upkeeping consistency.

Cloud Computing is also more reliable than the traditional work system because a dedicated team of specialists is provided by the cloud companies for handling and upkeeping the data at all times. Keeping their own IT specialists for monitoring the data 24×7 is not an economical option for small companies. Whereas, Cloud Computing service providers have the assets and faculty expected to guarantee that the system is being monitored all the time, and problems/queries are being executed as and when they arrive.

D. The Commercial value of Cloud

For choosing a cloud service, you need to scout for the best Cloud Computing plan that fits your business requirements. Cloud services are very economical because it observes the ‘pay-per-use’ system of billing. This means that the company using the Cloud will be billed for only the services they use – what they use and how much quantity they use.

This is very commercial against deploying your own IT infrastructure, which may be required to be sent for regular servicing, check-ups, and still not be utilized optimally. Similarly, if a company uses cloud services, the costs associated with software up-gradation are shared amongst all the users.

E. Minimised Data losses

Cloud Computing constitutes storage of data in a central server, which can be accessed anytime, anywhere. This means that when some copies of data are lost at site A due to local system failure, the data is still safe and intact at the central location. For this, companies must keep updating their data to the Cloud at frequent intervals to avoid any losses in between.

4. What are the Cons of Cloud Computing?

A. Dependency on the Internet

A major de-merit of Cloud Computing is its dependence on the internet. If the internet services are of lower quality or face issues on either end, then the company operations on a given day may come to a complete halt due to a lack of access to its data.

B. Control Issues

Storing data over Cloud means giving up majority control over it. The service provider manages all backend activities on your data like shell access, while the client company controls only the front-end applications. This also deprives the client of knowing the risks their data is running since the backend operations are not visible.

C. Security Concerns

With Cloud, your confidential company and client data are in the hands of a third party. If the cloud service does not have a robust security system in place or comes under attack from hackers, your data may be under threat. The possibility of a cyber attack cannot be completely ruled out.

D. Tedious Switching Process

In case you are not satisfied with your current cloud provider or have found a better deal with another vendor, it is never an easy task to switch from one provider to another. This may be due to the contract lock-in period, compatibility, and support issues with one vendor, terms of service, and interoperability issues. Therefore, usually, companies refrain from changing their service providers too frequently.

E. Data Backup

If a cloud service provider terminates its services, a big concern is how the data will be shared with the client company. The client may not have enough physical infrastructure to store its data, and the transfer of data from the current cloud vendor to another will also be tedious, expensive, and risky for the client.

5. What type of Cloud is Suitable for Businesses?

One size does not fit all. Similarly, what works wonders for one company may turn out to be disastrous for another. Therefore, it is essential to analyze at large the pros and cons of Cloud Computing and decide when and how to deploy the same at your firm.

Companies must weigh in the benefits and limitations of Cloud Computing to decide whether it fits their business model. For example, moving entirely to Cloud-based services and modes of operations will benefit an IT company or a stockbroking firm. But the same cannot be predicted for a manufacturing or production company. It is essential for businesses to align their business model and goals with the Cloud Computing model, and then decide to take the plunge.

Conclusion

With the onset of the current pandemic, it has only been re-established how important Cloud Computing is due to its remote access role. That is why, despite witnessing both pros and cons in Cloud Computing, firms across all industries are migrating to Cloud. Therefore, it is safe to assume that Cloud Computing is here to stay for a long time. It is a good bet for professionals to upgrade themselves on Cloud Computing and cloud management skills. The future of data and businesses is in the clouds! 

If you are interested in learning more about cloud computing and want to build a successful career in this domain, our 5.5-month Postgraduate Certificate Program in Cloud Computing, offered through online instructor-led sessions, can help you become a complete Cloud Professional!

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