Is the Cloud Really as Great as it Seems?
by Bridget.Giacinto, on Feb 25, 2014 9:01:25 AM
The cloud has revolutionized the way we store and access data, offering numerous advantages for both personal and business use. However, many individuals and organizations jump into cloud storage without fully understanding its concept and functionality.
Essentially, a cloud solution refers to any hardware, application, or software that is hosted externally. This means that servers are set up in remote data centers, and users can access their information through the convenience of an Internet connection. A prime example of cloud storage is Google Documents, where all applications and documents are stored on Google's servers rather than on individual computers. As long as you have an Internet connection, you can easily access your files and applications.
Understanding the workings of the cloud opens up a multitude of possibilities for both home and business use. Any servers or software that are stored off-site from the original files and folders can be considered "in the cloud." This means that you can store and access your data from anywhere, without being limited to a specific device or location.
Explore the pros and cons of moving to the cloud.
The implications of cloud storage are vast, with numerous advantages that far outweigh any disadvantages. Firstly, cost is a significant benefit, particularly for small businesses and personal use. For instance, setting up an in-house email system with all the necessary software, licensing, and servers can cost around $10,000. In contrast, opting for a cloud service may only set you back around $1,000 a year, depending on your specific needs.
Scalability is another advantage of cloud solutions. With the cloud, you have the flexibility to purchase protection and capacity levels that align with your business requirements, instead of being limited to pre-packaged solutions.
Security is a crucial aspect of cloud storage. Unlike in-house storage methods that can be vulnerable to environmental factors like fire, floods, weather, and theft, the cloud offers enhanced protection. Your data is securely stored in data centers that have multiple layers of security measures in place, along with regular server backups.
Accessibility is yet another significant benefit of cloud storage. With your data stored in the cloud, you can access it from anywhere as long as you have an Internet connection. This convenience allows for increased productivity and the ability to work remotely without any hindrances.
However, it's important to acknowledge the potential downside of using the cloud for small business data storage. Any outages experienced by the cloud service provider can impact your ability to access your data. While such outages are usually minimal and providers strive to restore service quickly, it's a factor to consider. To mitigate this risk, many businesses opt for a hybrid approach to backup, combining both local and cloud backup solutions.
As cloud-based technology continues to evolve, it's essential to approach its adoption strategically. We recommend starting slowly and scaling up as needed to take full advantage of all that the cloud has to offer. Most experts believe that cloud-based storage is here to stay, and adapting to it will be necessary for most business owners in the future. Consider a hybrid solution that allows you to transition your systems gradually, with email being a straightforward starting point that provides immediate benefits without disrupting your business operations.