Almost a decade ago, people started saying goodbye to the use of floppy disks and USB flash drives as file sharing and saving started to undergo substantial evolutions. As time passed on, the devices for file sharing and saving became smaller and smaller while embracing higher capacities. Then the cloud emerged, which made drastic and far-reaching changes in the way of sharing and saving files. Later on due to the increasing demands in the delivery of IT infrastructure, the cloud proved to serve an on-the-go lifestyle.
As an outcome, the need to collaborate or save or share files on one particular device is no longer needed. Thanks to cloud computing which has made it extremely easy to collaborate, executive configurable software, and store files with the possibility of accessing them anywhere as long as there is internet connection. And as the percentage of the total IT infrastructure goes towards cloud computing, there are numerous reported advantages and disadvantages.
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Advantages of Cloud Computing
Table of Contents
More storage capacity
In the traditional computing operations, memory was determined by the particular device used. If one ran out of pre-installed computer hard drive memory, one would need an additional USB drive to backup and expand the existent storage capacity. With cloud computing, storage capacity has been made limitless. Users can store and backup any amount of data without the worry of running out of data storage space.
Cloud computing is in many cases inexpensive. Users don’t need to purchase IT infrastructure or built a central operation data center because the software and other relevant facilities are already installed on the service provider’s server. As opposed to the convectional computing where users have to spend lots of money to acquire hardware, software, utilities and other facilities of operations, cloud computing is completely free of such spending.
There are numerous freemium cloud services for basic computing uses and if there is need for specific or more advanced cloud computing offerings, it is paid on a subscription basis depending on the utilities needed. For instance, majority of cloud computing beneficiaries only pay for the infrastructure and sever capacity as and when it is mandatory. Advanced usage or more capacity can be scaled up for peak times and scaled down when no longer needed. Cloud computing also cuts back on energy spending by about 30%.
Cloud computing enhances mobility because users can access applications and data from any device in any part of the world. For enterprises and corporations, this means employees can collaborate irrespective of where they are in the world. Provided there is internet connection, cloud computing offers timeless accessibility to data and applications and users don’t have to carry documents or storage devices everywhere they go. With this advantage of cloud computing, businesses have improved their productivity and the exchange of data has become faster.
Always available and reliable
The majority of cloud computing service providers are very reliable in their service provision, with a large percentage maintaining 99.99% uptime. The connection is on all the time and provided users have internet availability, they can practically use the services of the cloud from wherever they are at any time. Some cloud applications even work off-line.
The cloud computing vendors cater for all updates and ensure their availability throughout the usage lifetime. The user simply has to download them and once that is done, the latest versions of the application are on and live for improved performance. Besides, users don’t have to be IT experts to install the software or application updates; the cloud service providers frequently notify users of available updates and they equally provide the installation guidelines. The updates are also availed on regular basis to ensure the cloud systems are running as smoothly as expected.
Grants competitive edge for businesses
The ever-increasing computing utilities grant business a competitive edge over their counterparts in the market. Why is this so? One, there is zero spending on acquiring IT infrastructure as well as maintenance. Two, the business can deploy mission critical applications that deliver substantive gains without any direct costs. Three and the most important, there is minimal provisioning time which allows businesses to concentrate on the key business activities and goals.
Easy to set up
Anyone can set up a cloud computing service in minutes. Individual setting aspects such as selecting passwords or devices to be connected to the network is also relatively simple. Afterwards, users can right away begin using the software, resources or data that is needed.
Disadvantages of Cloud Computing
Even though cloud service providers maintain on employing the best security measures and industry certifications, storing vital files and data on the cloud usually gives room to security risks. Using external service providers means that important data or business information is shared out to a third party. The case is even more problematic for public cloud because the services are open to users from all over the world, accessing the same server.
This scenario presents a challenge on a routine basis and can result in a major security issue. The ease of accessing cloud services can give malicious users the opening to identify and figure out vulnerabilities within the cloud system. This can be a possibility for multi-tenant cloud architecture and despite the fact that cloud service providers guarantee high level security; any vulnerability can lead to serious security threats.
Downtime and internet reliance
Since cloud service providers are in charge of numerous clients on a daily basis, chances of them becoming overwhelmed are quite high. When it happens, technical outage is the direct outcome. As a result, business or users operations will stall in the meantime. In situations where internet connection is unavailable or offline, it also means that users will not be able to access any of the resources, data, applications or server from the cloud.
Loss of control
As cloud service providers take charge of the entire cloud infrastructure, it implies the cloud computing vendors control the users. Cloud computing entities exclusively manage, monitor, and even own the users cloud system infrastructure and in most cases it transfers minimal control over to the client. The clients only manage and control the services, applications, and data that they use but not the back end layer infrastructure.
Fundamental administrative and management features such as application updates, server shell access, and microcode management are not granted to the end user. Many other factors such as how much users have to pay for the service, the kind of information that can be stored, where the information is accessible from, and how the applications should be used are equally controlled by the cloud computing entities.
Cloud computing is associated with the risk that unauthorized users can access others private information. This can be as a result of using a shared server, cyber attack or privileged access. Phenomenon such as insider attacks is a cloud computing risks which makes it prevail as a huge disadvantage. When it happens, crucial data or information could be out in the public in a matter of seconds. Hence, it’s essential for users to always keep their password safe.
Cloud service provider Lock-In
As much as cloud service providers commit to assure that the cloud has the standard flexibility and easy to integrate, switching cloud services is a challenge that has not been entirely resolved. Individuals or enterprises already utilizing the cloud services may find it hard to move services from their current provider to another. Hosting and integrating existing cloud applications on another server may disgorge support issues and interoperability.
For instance, applications developed by Microsoft Azure may not work well on non-Microsoft supported servers. In view of that, it may be very difficult switching to a different cloud service provider with the existent applications once a cloud vendor is selected.
If you of some other advantages or disadvantage of cloud computing that we might have missed here, please let us know in the comments below.