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The advantages and disadvantages of cloud computing

Global Knowledge
  • Date: 25 February, 2022

An increasing amount of organisations are moving their applications and large parts of their IT infrastructure to the cloud. Since technological advances and ever-shifting market demands and consumer preferences paint the picture of a highly competitive present and future, many companies believe that cloud computing offers the best opportunities to remain highly competitive and become increasingly agile.

On this page we will take a closer look at cloud computing and explore the advantages, disadvantages and benefits of this phenomenon. Read on to find out more.

What is cloud computing?

Cloud computing is the on-demand delivery of IT resources over the internet. Instead of buying, owning and maintaining a set of physical servers or one or more physical data centers, cloud computing allows you to access important IT services, such as storage, computing, networking, security and infrastructural services, from a cloud provider. You can usually do this on an as-needed and pay-as-you-go basis.

Within the cloud computing landscape, we can distinguish different layers.

  • The first layer is Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). This layer delivers the building blocks for your cloud IT landscape such as servers, networks and storage solutions.
  • Platform-as-a Service (PaaS) delivers cloud computing services that allow customers to provision, instantiate, run and manage a computing platform and one or more applications, without the complexity of building and maintaining the infrastructure typically associated with developing and launching the application(s).
  • Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) provides you with a wide range of applications and software solutions via the cloud. 

Present-day cloud computing also incorporates a lot of advanced, state-of-the-art deployment and analytical technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), containers and Kubernetes (an open-source system for automating the deployment, scaling, and management of containerized applications), but also data set consumption to get the right information from big sets of data. On the developmental end, cloud computing has also been a huge catalyst of DevOps, an increasingly popular set of practices that combines software development and IT operations.   

The 5 main advantages of cloud computing

Cloud computing has several advantages that can benefit your business and IT operations on several levels. Let’s take a look at the most important benefits that come with cloud computing.

  • Cost reductions

Cloud computing can help reduce costs since you don’t have to invest in the purchase, maintenance and replacement of physical hardware. You also don’t have to train personnel or hire a third party to maintain and periodically check the hardware. Eliminating physical hardware also saves office space, allowing you to cut rental costs.

  • Ultimate flexibility

Cloud computing offers you more flexibility than an on-premises solution. You can easily and quickly add extra resources and bandwidth without the need to invest in a new IT infrastructure. Since software integration is also something that occurs automatically in a cloud environment, you don’t need to take additional efforts to customize and integrate your applications in accordance with your preferences or changing business needs. The cloud also offers an almost limitless storage capacity. Whenever you want or need to, you can quickly expand your storage capacity with very modest monthly fees.

  • Increased mobility and more collaboration options

Now that hybrid working has become the accepted standard, long-distance collaboration and communication have become necessities instead of luxuries. Cloud computing allows your employees to get access to all the data and applications that they need anytime, anyplace and on every device. Through the cloud, you can offer anyone within the organisation accessible and real-time information when they need it most. This means that employees can be more flexible in their work practices.

  • Speed

Deploying services in a couple of clicks? Getting the resources that your system requires within the shortest possible time frame? High-speed cloud computing makes it possible. The value of getting new applications up and running in 30 hours (instead of months) is obvious, but also don’t forget you can cut down on your administration burden using cloud computing. With capabilities like cloud dashboards, real-time statistics and active analytics you can reduce ‘person hours’ easily.

  • Disaster recovery

Cloud computing offers a lot of opportunities for disaster recovery. Cloud-based services provide quick data recovery for all kinds of emergency scenarios. Having your data stored in the cloud (you can use multiple cloud locations if you use a multi-cloud solution) ensures that all your important information is backed up and protected in a secure and safe location. Being able to access your data again quickly allows you to conduct business as usual, minimising any downtime and loss of productivity.

Three disadvantages of cloud computing

Despite its many benefits, cloud computing can also have disadvantages in some cases. Let’s take a look at the more tricky aspects of (an over-reliance on) cloud computing.

  • Downtime

Since cloud computing services are internet-based, there is always the risk of downtime and service outages. Such interruptions of critical business processes, especially if they occur regularly, can cost you time and customers. Choosing a good cloud provider and hosting partner, along with designing services with high availability and disaster recovery in mind, should mitigate these downtime risks.

  • Security

In cloud computing, every component is online. This also means that every component can be exposed to a wide range of attacks. Cloud computing also means that organisations partially entrust the security and confidentiality of data to the companies that provide their cloud computing servers. So choose wisely when selecting a cloud provider and don’t forget to critically analyse the security checks, measures and tools that the provider has in place.

  • Vendor lock-in

In some cases, migrating cloud services from one vendor to another can be difficult. Differences between vendor platforms can complicate migrating from one cloud platform to another, which often leads to additional costs and configuration complexities. Gaps or compromises made during migration could also expose your data to additional security and privacy vulnerabilities. The solution to this problem? Adopt a multi-cloud strategy.

The future of cloud computing in business is clear

Cloud computing is interesting for a number of reasons. It increases the flexibility of organisations and employees, allows companies to cut hardware costs and offers plenty of opportunities for storage, back-ups and disaster recovery. But be sure to choose a trustworthy cloud provider that allows you to circumvent the possible disadvantages of cloud computing. 

It is also important to arm yourself with knowledge. You can do this by taking one of Global Knowledge’s cloud computing courses. Good examples are ‘Google Cloud Fundamentals: Core Infrastructure’, ‘Secrets to Successful Cloud Transformations’, ‘Cloud Service Manager’ and ‘Cloud Workload Planning’. 

More information on cloud computing

Would you like to get more insight information on cloud computing? And are you interested in one of Global Knowledge’s cloud computing courses? Then don’t hesitate to contact us. We would love to make your acquaintance.

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