A recent Forrester Consulting survey found that 81 percent of CIOs plan to develop strategies for cloud transitions within the coming year. Are the risks of cloud computing worth the potential improvements to the bottom line? The answer, overwhelmingly, is “yes.” Let’s take a quick look at both sides of the story.
Behind the Clouds
Cloud computing provides scalability. When you need more data storage capacity or bandwidth, you simply contact your managed services provider. You don’t pay for more equipment or more staff. You pay for your computing expenses just the way you pay for your electricity usage.
Additionally, cloud computing gives you redundancy, which is crucial in terms of customer service. If one server goes down, the MSP simply transitions operations to a backup server. Even if a natural disaster occurs at the data center, your website will still function normally for customers.
Keeping Data In-House
Cloud servers do have plenty of firewall protection for your data, but those fortresses seem wispy and nonexistent when you’re not looking at a piece of equipment. Also, people who are not employed by your company are helping to administer your network. How can you be sure that those people aren’t compromising your proprietary data?
On the other hand, keeping IT in-house means that you have to own and manage equipment. Instead of innovating for you, your IT staff members work to keep your network basically functional. As for compromising your data, you will have to trust a cloud provider just as you trust the company that handles your credit card transactions. Do your research and negotiate a strict service level agreement with your MSP.
When you can outsource many IT functions, you can take care of IT for a much lower cost. Don’t let the nebulous nature of the cloud rob you of a great opportunity to save money and to improve customer service.