Traditionally, a company’s computing infrastructure was located on an in-house server that IT administrators could monitor and maintain company information systems. Data was fully under the company’s control and on their hardware. This is great as far as privacy and security is concerned. However it is often a substantial investment initially and puts the responsibility of maintance fully on the IT staff.
Recently, more and more companies have been turning to cloud services where the infrastructure is hosted by another company in the cloud. Many have migrated mail from hosted mail servers to Gmail and other webmail solutions where the infrastructure is all located in massive remote data centers. This is advantageous to small and start-up businesses who may not have the resources nor the workforce to build and maintain their data center in-house. Instead of buying servers and putting a data center and spending large sums initially, they can pay monthly or annually for the service. This is often more expensive when compared to buying the hardware and hosting it in-house, however when factoring not having to manually administer, host and upgrade one’s system it is often less expensive and much less fuss for the IT administrators. This does not mean that companies can do away with IT professionals nor should they since someone needs to still configure and maintain the services and troubleshoot issues employees are bound to have. However, if there are major issues, which are still common on cloud hosted services, it’s often much faster for the service to get back online than it would be for a smaller business because they are much larger companies and have large staffs of technicians who get thing back up and running.
Using cloud solutions are convent for the company and can make it more affordable to have the tools the company needs at a more reasonable cost. However, there is a cost, most importantly is the issue of trusting one’s information to a third-party company. This is especially important for private company data that could impact the business negatively if it is leaked out. Many of the more popular services have increased security options such as encryption, two-factor authentication and so on. It is also important to consider that there may be times where the service will not be available, although rare, and could leave users without access for some time.
With all these privacy and reliability issues consider why consider using a cloud infrastructure? Well, it provides users with many more options to access their data and services remotely and on mobile devices which is essential in this increasingly mobile world. It also allows more collaboration and sharing no matter where one is and can be very powerful for large or multi-located organizations. The other important benefit to cloud services is backup, data hosted in the cloud is backed-up many times and in multiple places in the large data centers they are housed. This does;t guarantee data can’t be lost, but it takes the concern of backing up away from administrators and the need of a secondary backup system. The cloud is a huge benefit to companies and have become essential to business. Despite some concerns of privacy, it is still a great way to cut costs while keeping or creating a full IT infrastructure.
About the Author
Mike Gdovin has been blogging about technology since 2006 on his blog, Gdovin.net. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Electronic Media from Kutztown University with a minor in Journalism, Public Relations and Business. In addition to blogging about technology, Mike is a video producer, technology consultant and social media expert.