At this point, the cloud is a household name. Whenever we scroll through Facebook or use apps on our phone, we are accessing data stored on the cloud.
The general public has been quicker to use cloud services. But now, small businesses are catching on to the trend at an increasing rate.
But switching from in-house systems to the cloud is a daunting task. With many options out there, it can be mind-boggling.
But fear not. If you’re a small business owner thinking about cloud computing, you are in good company.
Below is a list of the pros and cons of the cloud for small business. This list will help you narrow down whether this technology is right for your business. Enjoy!
The Pros of Cloud Computing for Business
No Maintenance Cost
There is no maintenance cost associated with the cloud solution. You are not responsible for maintaining or repairing any server or equipment.
Also, you no longer have to buy software. On top of that, cloud applications tend to be cheaper.
With cloud storage, you only pay for the amount of storage you need. If your business grows, then the cloud grows with you. And if you need to downgrade that shouldn’t be a problem.
Cloud-based data infrastructure is efficient and responsive to demand. By paying only for the server space you need, your costs for data management can scale with it. Cloud technology eliminates the need to pay for massive local server space.
With the cloud, if you’ve got an internet connection you can be at work. This feature is beneficial to employees with small children or disabilities. Also, it makes snow days a thing of the past.
Likewise, remote access helps businesses cut down costs associated with brick-and-mortar office spaces.
Better Collaboration, More Productivity
Because everything is online, a dispersed workforce can effectively share documents.
For example, when you save a document to the cloud, every person with access to it can see it as it is in real time.
In other words, the cloud eliminates the need to go back and forth. And everyone has the same version of a document, so no more duplicates running amuck.
Built for Disaster
Businesses of all sizes should be investing in a disaster recovery plan. But for smaller businesses crisis plans can be a challenge due to cash and expertise. The cloud is helping small businesses bridge that gap.
For example, if a hurricane destroys your office building, all your Cloud data will be safe. And you’ll be able to access those files as long as you have an internet connection.
The Cons of Cloud Computing for Business
No Internet, No Cloud
When it’s offline, you’re offline. If your cloud provider loses internet, your business can come to a standstill.
Likewise, if your office loses internet, you won’t be able to access the Cloud from your office.
So, the cloud is not suitable for your business if you suffer from frequent internet outages.
Cloud data is accessible from anywhere on the internet. That makes it a double-edged sword. If a data breach occurs on the cloud, your entire business data can be compromised.
I know cloud computing vendors trump that they have sophisticated data security systems. But that might not be the case. When you place your company’s data on a cloud, you trust a third party to keep it safe.
Such a third party may not provide you with the robust data security that you need for your business. When you use the cloud, you are subject to their standard data protection measures.
As a small business owner, you have to decide what level of risk you’re willing to take with your data.
At first glance, cloud computing may appear to be a lot cheaper than in-house solutions. However, if you rely on custom software, that may not be the case.
Customize within the cloud can be very expensive. For example, it may not be possible to move custom software to the cloud without an expensive re-write.
Also, with public cloud storage, the price costs over the years might increase. Like paying rent on office space, providers can increase the price upon renewals.
It’s true that the cloud provides a huge list of services, but there are also sizable restrictions and limits. Cloud users may find they have less control over applications within a cloud-hosted environment. For example, have you ever tried to insert a Microsoft Excel file into a Google Doc spreadsheet? Disastrous.
Also, it’s easy to become provider dependent. This dependence makes it difficult to leave one cloud provider for another. If you do manage to leave a provider, the migration to another platform could also expose your data to security vulnerabilities.
Cloud computing can be a great opportunity for small businesses – as long as they can live with the disadvantages.
There are many cloud solutions out that. In fact, I could write another blog post about the pros and cons of each type of cloud service.
My point is – don’t enter the cloud computing space blindly. Instead, sit down with your IT guys and figure out what solution makes sense for your business. If you are still uncertain, please don’t hesitate to contact the MRW Systems team. We understand the complexities of integrating cloud technology–it’s one of the things we do best.