Cloud

The sky’s the limit: the 6 advantages (and 3 disadvantages) of cloud computing

You’ve heard cloud computing is the way forward, but you’re still not entirely sure why or whether the much-talked-about benefits of cloud can actually be delivered in practice. Let us explain …

18.06.2021
6 minutes 6 minutes
Table of Contents
Think about the difference cloud computing has made to your everyday life; Gmail, Google Drive, even Facebook and Instagram; all cloud-based applications that hold personal data for sharing across different networks. Now imagine if that freedom, mobility and scale could benefit your work environment too.

Cloud computing, according to the dictionary, means ‘the practice of using a network of remote servers hosted on the internet to store, manage and process data, rather than a local server or a personal computer’.

Beyond the basic definition – and in the real world – this means cloud computing being part of pretty much everything we do in daily life. Banking apps, social media, photo storage, email, online shopping; it’s all possible thanks to the cloud.

Of course, it’s not just our personal lives; businesses and governments are increasingly reliant on cloud computing too. In the EU, cloud computing is yet to be considered mainstream by businesses – but still, nearly half of EU enterprises used cloud computing in 2020.
 

The 6 achievable advantages of cloud computing

If you were to ask these organisations what advantages they have discovered to cloud computing, their answer would be something like this …
 
  1. It’s flexible: Cloud computing offers you and your business a highly flexible way of working. The right cloud computing plan can be altered according to the business needs of a company. Often, you have the choice between different cloud SLAs. Minimise the lead time needed to implement new resources, deploy new applications or add new users anytime, anywhere.
  2.  It’s scalable: Cloud provides elasticity – again, the perfect fit for a fast-changing and increasingly uncertain world. If you have a slower business period, you don’t need to worry about maintaining an oversized computing budget; you can simply scale down. And if you’re (hopefully) having a better business period, you scale up. Instead of purchasing excess capacity that just sits unused during slow business periods, you can boost your network capacity up and down in tune with your business needs.
  3.  It’s cost-effective: Upfront costs are drastically reduced. The capital expenditure required to buy hardware and software and run on-premise data centres and servers is removed. Cloud computing also lets you offload some or most of the costs and effort associated with purchasing, installing, configuring and managing your own on-premises infrastructure, like servers, and frees up investment for elsewhere in your business. Instead, you pay for resources on a subscription basis and pay as you go.
  4.  It optimises productivity: Cloud computing services provide ongoing maintenance for all resources that your company uses. Software updates and security patches are done for you, ensuring your data is safe, secure and free from cyber threats such as ransomware. Since these updates are automatic, cause no service interruption, and regularly bring new optimisations and features, you are suddenly free of a huge IT maintenance burden. And by letting go of that worry, you can simply worry about making your business as good as it can be.
  5.  It’s perfect for the post-Covid-19 home working world: After this year of enforced home working, research shows a large swathe of employees are now usually working from home. And if this drive for flexible working isn’t going away, then neither is cloud computing, as it is the cloud that enables flexible working and is the only suitable solution.Basically, cloud services are available to anyone, anywhere, any time (as long as they have an internet connection), and are the perfect fit for the corona-pandemic-induced world of increased remote working. Employees can have fast, secure and stable access to all applications and data from wherever they happen to be, with equal productivity from home, the road or the office. Printing is the prime example. Thanks to cloud printing, employees can send their documents to the cloud while on the move. Once they arrive in the office, these documents can be printed out with authentication and distributed to meeting participants. The reverse also works: let’s say you’ve just had an important business document sent to your smartphone and want to read it through on paper at home in peace. And because your home office printer is also connected to the cloud, you can do this conveniently when you get home. Yes, it’s true. Mobile printing has been around for a long time. But with ‘classic’ mobile printing, the mobile device and the printing device must be on the same network or accessed by a VPN. This is not necessary with cloud printing.
  6.  It’s safe for any world: Data security is the most-cited concern about moving a business to cloud. And certainly, your data is the most valuable thing you own, and it’s natural to feel wary about sending it to an external provider. From servers stored under people’s desks to limited in-house security experts, there are many reasons why cloud can actually be more secure than on-premise. For peace of mind, simply check your cloud provider guarantees the highest security standards. This includes a Zero Trust Policy, a data centre that is ISO 27001–certified (data centres in the EU particularly have to satisfy an extensive range of high requirements related to GDPR compliance), end-to-end encryption for your data and disaster recovery measures to include failover to an alternative data centre. Also check for 24/7 monitoring, an uninterruptable power supply approach and ongoing automatic security updates. And once everything is secure, the possibilities of cloud computing are endless. Applications for employee collaboration, workflow, CRM, ERP, data analytics – everything is covered. To ensure an entirely holistic (and productive) cloud experience, even your printing can be done through the cloud – imagine having a meeting with a customer in one place, looking through your notes as you wait to fly home, pressing print on your phone, and having it waiting for you when you get home. It’s quicker, easier and infinitely more productive.The sky is literally the limit.
 

The 3 small disadvantages of cloud computing

But, of course, it’s not all so perfect. Like most things in life, switching to cloud computing does come with its downsides. Luckily all easily solvable downsides, but downsides, nevertheless.
 
  1. One size does not fit all: Cloud computing is a general term, not an actual thing. There are in fact different cloud models available, like public (delivered by the internet and shared with other organisations), private (solely used by your business) and hybrid (a mixture of both) – and you need to make sure you use the right approach for your own unique business. Depending on your individual needs, you may even combine all the cloud models with a multi-cloud strategy (different clouds for different tasks).
  2. Change does not fit all: The physical shift from on-premise computing to cloud computing might be seamless and easy, but the emotional side may not be. Even though the switch will mean little disruption and easier working for your employees, it may take a bit of convincing to bring some of them round. It’s only natural that some people are wary of tech change (especially if they fear data privacy breaches), and you will need to implement a suitable change strategy that brings everyone on board.
  3. You will need help: The integration of cloud into an existing infrastructure is not something you can do on your own. It needs to be planned and implemented professionally, and it is always best to use an external partner who can help set up your perfect implementation strategy.

 

More information about cloud printing:

By moving your print infrastructure to the cloud, you will not only improve mobile working, you also relieve IT personnel from the burden of managing various printer servers.

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