By now, you have more than likely come across the term cloud computing. Saving stuff ‘to the cloud’ has become part of the way people speak. But with this, comes certain misconceptions that need to be addressed. After all, there is so much contradictory information out there who can make sense of it all?
One of the biggest concerns for business users is the perceived lack of control that happens when moving data to the cloud. Sceptics have always argued that having files (of the electronic variety) stored on their server in a back room somewhere at the office is a much more convenient way of accessing it. Yet, by moving those files to the cloud, the business can invest the time and money spent on maintaining hardware and software to other pursuits. Thanks to how user-friendly technology has become, it really makes no difference to the experience whether you are opening a document from your server or from one in the cloud.
But it’s not safe is another popular myth when it comes to cloud computing. Reading news reports, it becomes apparent that on-site servers are not more secure than the cloud. Many companies are hacked and don’t even know it. So the logical thing would be to contract cyber security experts. Well, consider what those specialists charge per hour and you might hope that perhaps your organisation is not a target. Fortunately, with the cloud, those providers invest significantly in ensuring they have the best possible security in place using a budget most of us can only dream of.
Another misconception is that the cloud is an ‘all or nothing’ approach. This could not be further from the truth. Most cloud migrations start with something relatively small, like email for example. This is followed by productivity data such as your standard work documents and spreadsheets. The truth is that going the cloud route is something that can be done bit by bit (or should that be process by process?) in a way that makes budget sense for the business.
Cloud computing, like some of the IT buzz phrases of yesteryear (think ERP, CRM, and many other TLAs you can think of) is also something that should best be left to larger companies.
Companies of any size, industry, focus, irrespective of their location can make the shift to the cloud. The only thing really required is a reliable internet connection. Yes, making the move is not the easiest thing in the world but neither is being competitive in a cutthroat economy. The nice thing is that there are plenty of good companies able to help you with the transition (nudge, nudge, wink, wink) and it is quick to get started.
They’re out to get me
Underpinning all these myths around cloud is this – government, spies, and other bad men will have access to my data if it leaves my server room. Again, the reality is quite different. Your IT team is still able to manage, access and set permissions for who can access the data you store in the cloud.
And best of all is that you will always remain the owner of that data. This means that should you want to move to a different cloud provider, your existing one is legally obliged to scrub all traces of your files from their servers. It is a case of taking your data with you wherever you decide on going.
Privacy and security are the two most important things for cloud providers to get right. The last thing they would want is for your data to get compromised. Just think about the negative business impact it will have on their reputation.
So take a step back, put on a strong pot of coffee, and breathe deeply. The cloud might sound like it requires a huge leap of faith to embrace. But the truth is that one day, all businesses and consumers will be doing it. It just makes sense.