It may seem as though everywhere you turn, someone’s talking about the cloud. It shouldn’t come as a surprise, then, that by 2022, 90% of organisations around the world will be using cloud services. In this blog post, we’ll be discussing the top benefits and risks of cloud computing.
Benefits of cloud computing
1. Major cost savings
The potential for major cost savings is arguably one of the top benefits of cloud computing. With the cloud, the vendor will handle all the costs associated with setting up your system. You don’t need to make any hardware or software investments. Nor will you need to assign the task of maintaining the system to someone in your team or hire staff if you don’t have the resources in-house.
2. Always be on the latest software versions
As well as setting up your system, your cloud vendor can often handle all the costs and effort associated with maintenance too. That includes functional and technical updates - these can be automated by the vendor. They will monitor your system, keep track of updates and automatically release patches when necessary.
That means your business will always be on the latest system version, giving you a competitive edge.
3. Potentially faster service deployment
Whether your business is deploying a new cloud system or you already have one in place and are looking to scale up or down, it’s easy to do all that in the cloud. Let’s say you’re deploying a new cloud system. In theory, the system can be fully functional in minutes (though it can depend on the type of technology/systems you already have deployed within your business and the level of modifications).
The same concept goes for scaling up and down. Whether you need to increase your storage space or reduce the number of users, you only need to upgrade or downgrade your account with the vendor and/or add more modular features where required. And within minutes, the changes will be live.
Bonus benefit: The cloud offers you potentially unlimited storage capacity.
4. Easy to access data even when on-the-go
As your data is stored in the cloud, you can access it wherever you are. All you need is an internet connection. This is obviously a huge benefit when your office needs to close temporarily and your staff have to work from home.
The less you can rely on on-premise systems, the easier it can be to maintain business continuity.
5. Data is backed up into a secure system
Once your data is stored in the cloud, it can be automatically backed up. This makes data recovery in the event of data loss a less time-consuming task (as opposed to data recovery for an on-premise system). That means you can minimise downtime.
6. Fosters cross-team collaboration regardless of location
Not only can you access your data while on-the-go, the cloud also makes cross-team collaboration possible. Location/geography doesn’t have to hold you back anymore.
Risks of cloud computing
7. Data will be hosted by a third party
One of the biggest concerns about cloud computing is your data being hosted by a third party. For example, if you use Microsoft Azure as your cloud system, your data will be hosted by Microsoft. Considering the sensitive data your business may need to store, it’s understandable why data governance and security may be a concern.
However, reputable vendors employ top security experts to monitor and protect your data round-the-clock.
Take Microsoft, for example. Do you think Azure would have ranked as the second most popular public cloud provider if data security incidents were a regular occurrence?
Additionally, the automatic functional and technical updates mean your data is even more safeguarded from unwelcome eyes.
You may also be reliant on a service level agreement for data access. However, you can access your data whenever you need to and strong measures are in place to shield your data from unauthorised access. So, in reality, cloud systems can often be even more secure than their on-premise alternatives.
8. It may not always be the most cost-effective option
A 2020 study found that on average, organisations’ public cloud spends went over budget by 23%. This suggests that despite the cloud saving you resources in the long run (mentioned earlier in this blog post), this may not be the case for all businesses.
The same study also found the following to be challenges associated with managing software costs in the cloud:
- 56% of businesses struggle to understand the cost implications of software licenses
- 45% find managing licenses a challenge (e.g. ensuring they don’t have too many)
Working with a cloud migration partner or consultancy can often be a great helping hand for businesses in this position. These companies are typically made up of people who specialise in cloud migration projects. Their expertise and practical knowhow could be just what you need to avoid unseen costs associated with the cloud.
9. Not all businesses have access to the right expertise and resources
Whether it’s a migration project or you’ve already completed a rollout and you want to maximise the ROI of your investment, you should be following best practices when it comes to usage.
But not all businesses have the right or enough expertise/resources. In fact, 77% of businesses state lack of resources/expertise when it comes to the cloud as a top challenge.
Recruiting for in-house experts can be tricky, time-consuming and expensive. In most cases, it can be better to work with a consultancy who can take over this responsibility for you. From maintenance and updates to advice, they can handle this so you can focus on other critical tasks.
10. Cloud migration isn’t easy
66% of businesses find cloud migration projects challenging and considering the number of things you need to consider before such a project, this isn’t surprising. A single mistake can be costly so unless you’re absolutely certain in your business’ cloud migration expertise, it’s a good idea to outsource the project and work with a consultancy.
Cloud migration consultancies will have been managing projects of a similar scale to yours for years. They know the appropriate methodology to follow and pitfalls to avoid. The best consultancies will not only have the experience under their belt, but they will also work with your business rather than only for you. For instance:
- You’ll be involved in all the strategy meetings
- You’ll have the final say - nothing will happen without your approval
- You’ll receive regular updates on progress
- The partner will share their knowledge with your teams - it’s a partnership, after all
Mitigate the risks of cloud computing with our guide to cloud migration
Cloud migrations are no walk in the park. To prevent you from making common mistakes, we’ve created a guide to cloud migrations. You’ll learn all the preparation that should happen before a migration, what needs to be done during a migration and everything to conduct post-migration.
Ready to set your cloud migration project off to a good start? Download the guide via the button below.