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What is cloud computing?
Cloud computing includes software as a service, platform as a service and infrastructure as a service. It is typically executed over the Internet. Third party providers license their products and services to businesses on demand. These providers develop and host the software, platforms or infrastructures instead of installing it on-site. Companies can subscribe to those services and access it online granting permission to one or many different users. Software as a service is most well known for its role in customer service management. Salesforce.com is one of the most popular CRM tools. However, cloud computing is becoming increasingly popular. Google now runs a large number of free services that are available by cloud. Gmail, Google docs and Google Analytics are just a few.
I’m conflicted when it comes to cloud computing. I’m very cautious about privacy, security and control. I embrace innovation but never blindly because I want to achieve the most efficient and secure processes for my clients. Cloud computing and software as a service is the next big thing and I’ve compiled my usual list of pros and cons.
PROS • Reduction of operational costs • Increased productivity • Decreased initial investment • Consolidated management • More efficient collaboration • Increased access to support and information • Easier to implement new systems and business processes
CONS • Heavy reliance on Internet service • Chosen browser must meet all security requirements • No guarantee that data is completely safe on an outside system • Difficult to make certain who has access to your data • What happens if the software provider folds?
At first glance, there seem to be more pros than cons but every company must weigh the importance of those pros and cons. When dealing with extremely sensitive data like health records of financial information, the cons may far outweigh the pros. However, I do not want to downplay the benefits of cloud computing because these services can do wonders for an organization by streamlining efforts, reducing costs and increasing the flow of ideas and information. I’m sure cloud computing will continue to grow, causing security features to improve over time. So when choosing to implement cloud services, be sure to conduct extensive research and choose the provider that meets all your needs.