The definition of cloud computing is the delivery of computing as a service rather than a product. It is where shared resources, software, and information are provided to computers and other devices as a utility over a network, like the internet. In the past, cloud computing has been viewed as a cost-effective, flexible option for small or mid-sized companies. Larger companies have believed that their information was too vast, too complicated, or too critical to share through a large network of shared management services models.
However, larger companies are now seeing that there are some benefits to cloud computing for them as well. Application hosting, hardware hosting, and data management offer “clear cost and efficiency advantages” and “allow the organization to focus on key strategic challenges instead of administrative tasks.
One clear advantage to a large company would be the peace of mind and “reliable business continuity” cloud computing offers in the face of natural disaster or other major disruption in business. According to an article on the Supply Chain Brain website, “cloud computing also delivers extremely rapid time-to-value, with full software and data hosting occurring in as little as 15 days. Your business can immediately start realizing a return on its technology investments, instead of waiting for an internal IT infrastructure to be provisioned and configured.”
Larger businesses considering the benefits of cloud computing are also probably concerned with trusting other companies with their delicate or sensitive information that is the “lifeblood” of their business. “Maintaining your hardware, software and precious information at an off-site facility certainly makes good business sense – but it requires real trust, based on sound operating practices. High-profile data security breaches at credit card companies, health care providers, universities and government agencies have dominated the headlines recently, reminding us of the dangers of doing business in today’s real-time, technology-connected world.”
There are also differences in public and private clouds that you should understand before deciding to move in this direction with your business. “Today’s online world is filled with public clouds, which enable customers to subscribe to and buy data storage space. While public clouds may be cost-effective, businesses should be aware that public storage providers are likely not employing the same systematic approach to firewalls, data encryption and other security protocols that exist within their own organizations. And, because public clouds are not designed to store mission-critical data, 24/7 access might be a problem. Outages are common, whether due to site maintenance, upgrades or other issues. While public clouds are perfect for the needs of consumers, they lack most of the serious performance features and security protocols needed to run your business with a high degree of confidence.”
Before moving into the world of cloud computing with your big business, make sure that you have addressed the topic of data security with your providers. Keeping your company safe means that you need to make sure that your data is safely protected with a high degree of security and trust that “meets or exceeds” your company’s needs. “Your data should be safe, secure, and ready to apply to your most urgent competitive challenges anytime, anywhere.”