Although it is only in the last few years that technology users have cashed in on cloud computing, its inception happened many decades back. The surge in its popularity, its relevance, and hyper-scale have witnessed an upswing owing to the steady shift that has been underway from traditional computing models to the internet-driven ones. The ever-increasing cost of having in-house software systems in place that needed continual updating, the hardware infrastructure needed to support it, and the exponential increase in the amount of data that is getting generated, collectively acted as the inflection point. Besides, the need to be able to access data, or large sizes and in a secured manner, anywhere and anytime becoming more of a necessity than a perk, tilted the balance in its favor. With SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS , there is an on-demand availability of computing services in the form of applications, storage, and processing power. The small and mid-sized companies, earlier handicapped with financial bottlenecks, have been the biggest benefactors of this revolution. The pay-as-per-use model completely eliminated the need for high and mandatory capital expenses, otherwise intrinsic to traditional models. Thus a level playing field has been created to bolster technological innovations, annihilating specificity of a size of companies, and thus financial might, as the most vital prerequisite.
Like all innovations, there are pros and cons to the adoption of this model. The most critical ones are mentioned below:
Barring the initial cost of transition, the model offers tremendous benefits from an ROI perspective. Besides, with most of the services available on a pay-as-you-use basis, there is never a concern of capacity building expenses going unutilized. Companies have complete freedom to provision capacities that can be mapped exactly onto their business cycles. Also, all types of updates and upgrades are looked after by the service provider; which other than the costing part is also a source of constant concern if schedules are not adhered to.
Businesses in the cloud have more time than the ones which are traditional to focus more on their core activities concerning top and bottom line. No more do they have to dedicate part of their resources towards matters related to IT Infrastructure and it's upkeep. This has a tremendous impact on the efficiency of an organization. Also, the ability to scale up and down with ease allows companies to stand up to the business and market demands in quick time and without any hassles.
Reliability is one of the important benchmarks used to judge the quality of services offered by cloud service providers. It is thus no wonder that boundaries have been constantly getting pushed for offering service uptimes; with some established ones maintaining it at over 99%.
Employees, whether they are on the premises of their organizations or at remote locations, can access all the cloud services the moment they have internet connectivity. The ones with busy schedules or with field jobs can utilize this feature to their advantage. It also allows people to have a good work-life balance.
The platform makes it possible for employees, who can be widely dispersed, to meet virtually and exchange information in a very convenient and secure manner... The process gets simplified using this platform.
So does that mean that all organizations, especially the small and medium-sized ones, should do away with all their on-premise software and migrate completely to the cloud? Well, designating cloud computing as some sort of a silver bullet would not be ideal. One must also keep in mind the factors that might prove disadvantageous if one were to completely rely on cloud platforms.
Irrespective of the claims made by the best of service providers, server downtimes are a reality, even though their aim would be to reduce such instances to a minimum. Besides, one needs a high-speed and reliable internet connection to avail the cloud services. Slackness on the part of the internet service provider would lead to outages. The question that arises then is whether or not your business can function with comparable efficiency during such times.
Since your data can be accessed from anywhere, a breach would mean that your sensitive business data would get compromised. Of course, the service provider is expected to provide the required layers of security, but then, at the end of the day, everything connected to the internet is vulnerable to attacks.
Given a choice, the vendors would do whatever it took to lock in their customers. They do so using different means, for e.g., using proprietary software and hardware, thus making it very difficult or expensive to change over to another vendor. One needs to understand these intricacies before hiring the services of a vendor.