If you know anything about the internet at all, you’ve surely heard of the cloud. Gone are the days of storing data and software on your private device or local network — now, everything seems to exist in this nebulous cloud. But what exactly do we refer to when we talk about cloud computing? And how come so many of the biggest companies in the world are using it?
To put it simply, cloud computing allows you to store and access data, software, and other resources using the internet. You no longer have to use your own hard drives and other computing infrastructure — all you need is to buy a service you want from a cloud provider, and you’re set.
Even though cloud computing services always come with a fee, they are far cheaper than having to constantly upgrade your equipment for more storage. And that’s precisely why they became so popular — many companies find this a good way to cut the costs and invest their funds elsewhere. What’s more, cloud computing allows for smoother cooperation between employees and easier access to your data.
So, clearly, cloud computing is the future. After all, its benefits are numerous and difficult to ignore. But that doesn’t mean there are no challenges to consider as well. In fact, here are some of the most common ones.
As we’ve already mentioned, cloud computing operates over the internet. In other words, there is a network of remote servers provided by a third party that stores and processes your data. That in itself doesn’t sound too comforting, but when you consider the frequent reports of data breaches, hacking attacks, and broken authentications, it only gets worse. How could you put your sensitive information on the cloud and expose it to such risk?
Of course, such concerns are entirely valid. Keeping large amounts of data secure is one of the biggest challenges cloud computing providers face. And it’s no secret that they sometimes fail, but most of the best ones constantly improve their security systems with advanced firewalls, leaving nothing to chance. On top of that, many providers have strict data recovery policies which should help you in case of a breach.
2. Lack of Expertise
Businesses across the world are more than willing to use the cloud for their storage and processing needs, but they’re not necessarily ready. Cloud technologies rapidly change and develop, often leaving companies unable to keep up. This lack of IT expertise doesn’t allow them to use the cloud to its full potential.
Luckily, there are ways to deal with this issue. For instance, you could hire an expert with the relevant cloud computing certifications. They should have no problem keeping up with the constantly evolving technology. Or, if a cloud expert is too pricey for you, you could train a member of your own IT staff. No matter what you choose, though, you should have someone with excellent cloud computing skills on your team.
3. Cost Management
Since you don’t have to buy hardware and upgrade your IT infrastructure, cloud computing is actually likely to save you money. Unfortunately, though, cost management can still prove a challenge, especially when you’re still new to the cloud.
For instance, you might not be able to accurately assess your company’s needs, thus buying too little or too much storage space. A similar thing could happen when purchasing a software subscription — you might have to buy additional features that you need separately. All that may lead to some unpredictable fees and costs.
Though cost management can be a serious issue, you should be able to handle it with a bit of planning. And even if you do struggle with it, buying brand new hardware for your company’s needs is still more expensive, so you’ll be saving regardless.
4. Internet Connectivity
By now, it should be quite obvious that you can’t use the cloud if you don’t have a good internet connection. Or rather, you can still use it, but frequent downtime could incur serious losses for your business.
So, before you opt for cloud computing, make sure to invest in your internet connection. The faster it is, the better, and look for a reliable provider with as few connectivity issues as possible.
5. Password Security
To access your data on the cloud, you’ll be using an account protected with your own password. This password is of vital importance — after all, anyone who has it can see your confidential information. Thus, you need to make sure the password is strong and avoid sharing it with those who don’t need to know it.
Also, take additional steps to make sure your account is protected. For instance, you should change your password regularly, especially when you believe it’s been compromised. On top of that, use multi-factor authentication. The more levels of security you add, the better.
Despite its few challenges and issues, cloud computing is undoubtedly the future of data processing, management, and storage. All the biggest companies in the world are already using it. In fact, even the smaller ones are starting to move their information to the cloud.
And that’s not surprising at all. After all, this technology allows for far easier, smoother business operation, and it’s affordable too. There’s certainly still room for improvement, but so far, no other type of data storage comes even close to cloud computing.