Is Cloud Computing what your company really needs? This basic question is, perhaps, what most companies fail to ask in the first place. We don’t blame them because the cloud offers a dramatic cost reduction and at the same time enhances performance and thus user experience. But, despite that, the Cloud computing model may not be what your company needs in the long run. Saving up in hardware and human resources for an IT department can definitely boost your company at a certain stage, but the cost-per-user model and depending on a second company for a strategical area of your business may not be the desirable long-term policy. We at ITQlick want to highlight for you the main advantages and disadvantages of this model.
Advantages: Scalability, Mobility and Cost Efficiency.
The main revolution that the Cloud has come up with is the fact that computing is no longer a rigid structure in your company, but right the opposite. This is particularly interesting for early stages of a project during which you need reliability at the lowest cost possible. With Cloud computing every dollar spent is accountable for a certain amount of resources, based on a scalability model that allows you to increase the amount of resources needed without big expenses in hardware, structure or anything else. Cloud software will adapt to your needs, and computing will be accessible anytime and virtually everywhere since it will no longer depend on your local servers and hardware. Mobility is a huge step, but it also implies the fact that your software may be (and actually is) located and replicated on several locations, which enables real-time backups and almost zero downtime.
Disadvantages: Compatibility, Security and Vendor Lock-In.
The main issues with the hundreds of solutions of Cloud software we have analyzed appear when we try to work on a production environment with both traditional and local computer based software. The software available on the Cloud must be totally compatible with local software, and sometimes it requires some costly changes and updates to optimize compatibility. Another big concern is related to security, specially when we take into account that the Cloud implies more than just editing contents. The Cloud means also data storage and particularly trusting in a third party to store and grant the privacy of our information. This can imply big changes (and even conflicts) for a company in terms of compliance, and it is one of the key factors for the upraise of privately owned clouds. Cloud computing is state of the art software, and ironically brings back to life one of the biggest problems of IT services some decades ago: dependence on a single vendor or provider. Most providers of Cloud computing provide their clients with turnkey solutions, ready to use, but since open standards don’t apply it somehow builds a dependency on them.
So is the Cloud going to make your business more independent and scalable or is it going to create new dependency based on almost forgotten vendor lock-ins? You can find a different answer for each particular case, given by a double approach: finance and business model.
Financially you need to bring all the factors to the long-term, and evaluate all costs including intangible ones. Like in most make versus buy decissions, the purchase must give your company advantages other than merely cost effectiveness, because that scenario can change in the long term.
And as for the business model, the main goal to achieve is the reduction of complexity while growing. If the Cloud is not going to help you simplify business processes in the long-term, maybe you should only consider it as a starter advantage and perhaps only for the foreseeable future.