Cloud computing applications certainly provide businesses across sizes and industries with many benefits.
Cloud computing applications certainly provide businesses across sizes and industries with many benefits. Businesses can often save significant sums when they no longer need to manage their own on-prem data center. Third-party cloud computing vendors work tirelessly to keep their infrastructure secure, so their clients don’t have to. Businesses can scale up or down as their operations merit, giving them the flexibility they need to grow and help them preserve capital during lean times. And cloud computing applications can also help your employees collaborate more efficiently than they would if working from various separate and siloed systems.
However, despite these benefits and continued adoption by firms worldwide, cloud computing is not always the best solution for a business’ IT storage, management, and collaboration problems. When evaluating a business IT problem in which on-prem or cloud-based solutions might be the answer, it’s important to understand the trade-offs each provides.
When a cyber incident occurs, businesses reliant on cloud computing also become reliant on the cyber incident protocols that vendor enacts. While they have compelling reasons to respond aggressively, their response may prove inadequate, with you powerless to influence it in real-time. By contrast, your business has complete control in the event of an attack, data breach, or another incident, which may prove critical in mitigating the financial, legal, and reputational risks you face.
Further, if a third-party cloud provider suffers a data breach, their response will be aligned with their best interests which may not overlap entirely with the best interests of its clients on your business. When you cede response control to a cloud provider, their response protocol and actual response may unintentionally expose you to greater potential revenue losses and litigation risk.
Ceding response control to a cloud provider also means that your ability to assess the incident is limited. Many cloud computing vendors prohibit clients from performing forensic audits of their facilities, in part because the vendor may have multiple clients requesting simultaneous audits. Vendors may release some technical details about an incident in its wake to clients. However, these details are at the discretion of the cloud provider and may not provide you with the depth you need.
You’re also unable to fully gauge whether the vendor followed their own response protocols to the letter. If human error helped contribute to the breach, the vendor might not readily share that information for fear of legal or regulatory action. And while it is in the vendor’s best interest not only to conduct a thorough assessment of their response effectiveness, you ultimately don’t have any control over whether the vendor identifies the right vulnerabilities and takes the appropriate steps to remediate them.
And while post-incident information may be difficult for clients to obtain, it’s often downright impossible when a client is dealing with an IT vendor subcontracted to a cloud provider. In these cases, the client may have few, if any, rights in the wake of an incident as they have no direct legal relationship with the subcontractor.
Your business or organization may be subject to regulations that hold your data must reside in a particular geographic region. While cloud computing is widespread, its reach is not yet everywhere. You may not be able to find a cloud computing provider that can provide the computing environment you require in the region you need. In this case, it’s best to build your own network.
If you’re a technology company whose product or services and operation stem from proprietary technology, then cloud computing may not be for you. Cloud computing vendors cater to the mass business market and help companies manage common business needs and requirements. While many vendors offer customized and custom-built solutions, the novelty of your idea may make it more cost-effective for you to build your own computing environment rather than rely on a third party.
Moving data takes time. For many small businesses, this time is negligible, but some small businesses need to be able to move, access, and retrieve data in a fraction of a section. Some businesses can minimize latency by hosting data with providers located near their business, but that is not always possible, nor does it necessarily cut down enough on the lag. When businesses depend on extremely low latency for their competitive edge, on-prem data centers may be a better solution.
Growing businesses can indeed save a lot of money using cloud services. When scaling their operation to meet demand, businesses can simply log into their cloud services account and pay for more applications, storage space, user licenses, and whatever other resources they need. By contrast, upgrading a data center requires time, labor, and upfront expenses. When upgrading an on-site data center, businesses also risk the possibility of significant errors occurring that lead to excessive downtime, data loss, and increased cybersecurity vulnerabilities.
However, businesses that do not need to scale can sometimes save a lot of money by building their own data center. If a business’ work involves a relatively narrow set of needs with limited variation, then an on-prem data center may be the cheaper option. In this case, once deployed, an on-prem data center’s operating expenses are likely far less than those of a subscription-based cloud services package.
While cloud services can indeed be an excellent solution for growing businesses without the capacity or desire to manage their own data centers, this is not always the best solution. Deciding which solution is best can be complex and challenging for IT departments, given their proximity to the business and other priorities they may have. In these cases, it’s advisable to work with an experienced IT support provider.
If you need objective, strategic advice on how to approach your data management needs, Centerpoint IT is here. We provide strategic IT planning services to a range of businesses throughout Georgia, providing them with the benefit of more than 15 years of experience and expertise. We also provide managed IT services and can help you establish and optimize your IT resources. Contact us today, and let’s help you figure out the best solution for your business.