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By now, you’ve probably heard “the cloud” crop up in a lot of business journals and blogs, though you may still be unsure as to whether or not it would be a good thing for your business. There are companies out there of all shapes and sizes which depend solely on the cloud for all their data storage, as well as ones that avoid it completely, out of concerns over this technology’s security. While there’s an ongoing debate over whether or not these concerns are reasonable, there are definitely some measurable advantages and drawbacks to including the cloud in a business’s infrastructure. Here are a few.
One of the great things about the cloud is that it has huge potential to reduce the work load on your admin team. The cloud, compared to older forms of databases, has fewer features, which of course makes it less flexible as a program, but also makes it a lot more manageable. A cloud-hosted, self-managed database doesn’t get rid of the need for an administrator altogether, but shaves away a lot of unnecessary features which usually just eat up an admin’s time and effort. Depending on the kind of operation you’re running, this trait of cloud-hosted databases means it could have a big, positive impact on your business’s productivity. By the same token, the cloud offers great recovery in times of a crisis, and once a business implements a cloud-hosted database, they no longer have to expend manpower drafting complex disaster recovery plans. One UK study showed that companies using cloud storage were able to recover from these kinds of issues almost four times faster than those without it.
While there could be better options depending on the nature of your company, in most cases cloud storage means an increased level of security. If your business is using in-house servers for all of its data, there needs to be a pretty big emphasis on security, and a need to keep up with the ever-changing world of digital crime. While this is totally plausible, and a lot of companies do it successfully, the cloud has its own cutting-edge security in place, so you’d be buying yourself some peace of mind.
Now onto the various cons of using the cloud. I touched on this one earlier in this article; the cloud’s often frustrating lack of flexibility. Almost every database runs into a few scalability and general performance issues, which can only be solved by lengthy reconfiguration or a software patch. The cloud database being heavily locked-down, however, means that you’ll be unable to use a lot of these solutions.
Another common complaint from businesses using the cloud is its downtime. This is becoming less and less common with time, but cloud storage used to be characterised by long lasting outages. There’s no telling when these will happen, and when they do they can cause a huge drop in any company’s productivity for obvious reasons. The risk of such a problem can be reduced, however, by building your database across several regions, fibre broadband providers and data centres.