You would be hard pressed to find any business that doesn’t use computers, which means you would be hard pressed to find any business that doesn’t have digital storage and processing needs. For the smallest of shops, perhaps a desktop or two will do. But what if your needs require a server or even a bank of servers? Are you better off keeping everything in-house, or should you consider moving everything to the cloud? That’s an information technology question faced by numerous businesses all over the world. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer, but there are pros and cons that you should consider before making your decision.
The Pros of Cloud Computing
Setting up an in-house server infrastructure and hiring IT administrators can be expensive. In addition to the equipment and payroll costs, you also need dedicated space as well as proper cooling systems for that space. And you’ll have to pay out of pocket for repairs and upgrades. Hiring a cloud computing firm eliminates all of those costs and replaces them with a service fee that is, for most businesses, substantially lower than the cost of in-house hosting.
One of the great benefits of cloud computing is its redundant servers and IT resources. If an in-house server goes down, you’re out of luck. But if your cloud computing provider loses a few servers, you won’t even notice since everything will keep running on the provider’s redundant servers. Your cloud computing provider will also have a 24/7 team of IT professionals on hand to keep everything running smoothly, a safeguard you’re unlikely to have for an in-house server system.
If you use a cloud computing provider for your data storage and processing needs, you don’t have to know anything about the hardware or software of servers. Instead, you’ll use a simple Web-based interface and, if anything goes wrong, you’ll have the peace of mind of a service agreement. For most businesses, cloud computing is as convenient as plug-and-play.
The Cons of Cloud Computing
When you move your data and applications to a cloud, that means your data and applications are off-site. If you lose Internet access, you’ll lose access to everything on the cloud. If Internet data speeds suffer a slowdown, your computing will be sluggish. That can be a major problem if your business can’t secure reliable high-speed Internet access. It can also be a problem if any loss of access or a slowdown would dramatically impact your bottom line.
Cloud computing providers typically adhere to the best security standards and work diligently to prevent hackers from gaining access to their servers. That said, storing your data off-site has its risks. Primarily, cloud computing providers are a tempting target because of their numerous clients. Your data may be compromised during a breach targeting another cloud computing client. When your data is stored on-site, you would have to be directly targeted. Although it’s extremely unlikely that you will experience security issues with a cloud computing provider, if your business deals with highly sensitive data that must be kept 100% secure, you might be better off with an in-house server managed by your own IT security experts.
What happens if you want to change cloud computing providers? While it’s possible to migrate data and applications from one provider to another, it’s not yet as easy as you might want. This is primarily due to different providers using a variety of hardware and software systems. For instance, your applications that were created on Microsoft Solutions Framework might not function optimally on a Linux platform (or vice versa). For most businesses, the hassle in changing providers does not outweigh the benefits of cloud computing. But it is something your business should consider before making its decision.
How Can You Learn More About the Cloud and Information Technology?
Information technology changes fast. If you want to understand it better and gain the knowledge you need to stay up with all the innovations, you may want to earn a Doctor of Information Technology (DIT) degree. Through this doctoral degree program, you can acquire the strategic leadership skills needed to guide organizations through critical IT-related challenges.
If you are already working full time in the information technology sector—or in any other career—you don’t have to drop everything to earn your DIT degree. In fact, when you enroll in an online DIT program, you can keep working and continue taking care of your other responsibilities while completing your degree, thanks to the convenience and flexibility of online education. For those looking to better understand cloud computing and become a leader in the information technology field, an online DIT program can be the perfect choice.
Walden University is an accredited institution offering an online Doctor of Information Technology degree program. Expand your career options and earn your degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.
Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.