Cloud computing – Is it really the future?
There’s a lot of rumbling if whether cloud computing is really the future? We tackle all the angles below.
Cloud computing is one hot topic that just about every technophile has heard of. In fact, cloud computing has become so popular in the discussion, that even laymen have probably heard of the term at some point.
With notions of cloud computing being a major part of the advancement of computer technology in the future, it would behoove us to understand what cloud computing is.
What is Cloud Computing?
Just about every person that does business online has had some interaction with “the Cloud”. Even though that use the Internet for recreation have encountered it. Social media sites, webmail, and software downloads are all examples of cloud computing in action. That software subscription that your company uses instead of physical disks is an example of cloud computing. Downloading games and movies from services such as Steam is another prime example of cloud computing.
Cloud computing is essentially the usage of networks (including the Internet) to perform computing tasks. Storing files online, using Web-based tools, and using the power of multiple computers in tandem to solve problems are all examples of cloud computing in action.
Advantages of Cloud Computing
There are several advantages to cloud computing over traditional computing methods of decades gone by. The first major advantage is financial. For instance, subscribing to use software as a service is less expensive than buying the latest software suite each year when a new version is released. In terms of web hosting, cloud hosting plans have flexible costs where webmasters only pay for the resources that their sites use.
The next advantage of cloud computing is that it is location-independent. As long as one has an Internet connection, they can access the files that they need. This means that work can get done at any time and place, and emergency issues can be quickly resolved without having to clock in at the office or keeping a physical copy of important files at all times. Entrepreneurs seeking financial freedom and the ability to work as they travel will find a friend in the Cloud.
Location independence also makes It easy to collaborate with coworkers and partners from all over the world. Version control components make it easy for all members of a project to keep their files up to date, with updates instantly applied to files in the Cloud. This is much more efficient than passing storage media around the office, or worse yet, mailing disks to remote locations for collaborators to add their input.
Finally, cloud computing is environmentally friendly. Whatever is used is needed, and resources that are not needed are allocated towards other solutions. This scalable model of resource allocation is good for the environment and the ledger. It is advisable to look into cloud computing plans to make sure that you only pay for what you use, however.
Disadvantages of Cloud Computing
Cloud computing has many advantages, but it is not without its cons. The first disadvantage is downtime. Whether the central server of a cloud computing service is down, or our Internet connection is giving us problems, the inability to access information can lead to unproductivity. For this reason I is still a good idea to have physical backups of important files, even if the Cloud makes things more convenient.
Security is another issue. Although physical storage media can be lost or stolen, information that is stored online is more vulnerable to security leaks. Although security measures are in place, careless employees can open breaches that hackers can exploit. Still, using cloud computing can offer greater security since it is in the hands of big corporations rather than small startups with limited resources.
Subscribing to software can be a great way to save money, but it can also be costly. Businesses that need the latest, greatest software are better off subscribing, but those that do not mind using old or outdated software to accomplish their goals are better off just buying the physical software and keeping it for years.
Not all cloud computing companies are equal. While some companies offer great technical support, flexibility, and security, others are lacking in one or more of these arenas. Business owners would be wise to do their research in order to find a reputable company that suits their needs.
So, now that we know what it is and have gone over the pros and cons, can we expect cloud computing to take over in the future?
With the advent of affordable devices with low storage capacities and their continued applications, the answer is a resounding yes. The “future” is already here in fact. The Cloud has been with us since the beginnings of the Internet and we use it almost every day, whether we know it or not. For this reason alone, cloud computing is going to be with us for a long time.