7 questions when considering cloud computing
The business IT world is abuzz with “cloud computing”, a term that can be used to describe many things, from emails to anti-virus, accounting software packages to storage and everything in between. Whilst the allure of low monthly payments as opposed to having to purchase a local server outright can seem like a tempting offer, here are 7 myths that seem to (if you’ll excuse the pun), Cloud the matter:
1. Will a standard DSL internet connection be all you need to get on the cloud?
If you are a small business owner with more than 5-10 members of staff, your basic DSL internet connection will normally suffice, however, the speed by which you get to your data can be slower than needed. While strides forward have been made by the big players (Google and Microsoft), better internet connection is still needed, especially in city-centres with no fibre broadband connections.
2. Is Cloud computing suitable for all business types?
This is one of the biggest myths out there. If you work in media and have to work with large presentations, pictures, audio and/or video, then your business might struggle to get work done in a hurry. A good example would be YouTube: at home it probably takes a few seconds to buffer and then your video starts playing. When working with video files, you can’t just download the first bit and then start working on it while the rest downloads; you have to wait for the whole thing to finish downloading before you could do anything with it. Now imagine all your employees doing this through the day…
3. Will all your applications will work perfectly in the cloud?
Unfortunately, not all cloud environments are created equal. Businesses that rely on large, customised databases, such as those in recruitment, may struggle to migrate some of their business tools to the cloud.
4. By moving to the cloud, can you save a lot of money?
As with all IT strategy and planning, careful budgeting is a must. Some of the hidden costs of cloud computing include software licensing fees and the cost of a quality internet connection. This all being said, cloud computing will typically work out more cost effective than purchasing the same service in onsite equipment.
5. Is it easy to administer a cloud environment?
While the marketing departments of various cloud providers would lead you to believe it is all very easy, the setup and administration of cloud environments is on the whole very similar to administering your own server. If you are happy to spend the time learning and understanding the solution in full, it becomes easier, otherwise it is best left to your IT department, or significant problems can be created, for example: if Sharepoint is set up incorrectly, any user could inadvertently delete all the company data.
6. Will my mobile devices work the same in the Cloud?
Many companies have invested a substantial amount in mobile solutions and are rightly concerned about how much this will cost when moving to a Cloud. Thankfully, all the big players have good mobile solutions and these are often more robust and secure than a local solution would be.
7. Should I be concerned about security?
Yes, Yes, Yes! Moving to a Cloud solution does not automatically mean that their systems will be secure. Microsoft and Google both have excellent security options that can be configured and used. The important issue here is that they need to be configured – if you use only the default options, you are likely to be less secure than recommended.
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