According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, cloud computing is defined as “the practice of storing regularly used computer data on multiple servers that can be accessed through the Internet.” Organizations that are growing and looking for the fastest way to increase information technology capacity are considering the cloud for certain services such as customer relationship management, email, data storage and spam filtering.
Perhaps the biggest advantage of cloud computing is its storage space capabilities. Gone are the days of worrying about a server’s hard drive space limitations and having to spend more money to expand the organization’s information technology infrastructure. Since cloud computing is online, the amount of space available is only limited based on your budget. Because cloud usage is subscription-based, they follow a standard pay-per-use model. Therefore, the organization only pays for what it needs, allowing organizations to effeciently manage its information technology resources and budget. Maintenance and upgrades are performed remotely by the cloud provider, so this could limit the need to hire an information technology specialist for this function.
Cloud computing has its disadvantages, also. Since it is an online service, there is the risk that your Internet service provider or the cloud’s service provider could experience an outage, which in turn would disrupt your operations. In addition, there is the inherent risk that unauthorized individuals could access your information if there are not sufficient security controls in place to properly protect it given that it is being hosted on a third-party’s remote servers and is accessed through the Internet.
The latest technological advance is not always the best fit for an organization. The opportunity for space expansion is practically endless. However, an organization needs to be mindful of what information it is placing in the cloud and how it is secured to ensure that all of its privacy and protection requirements are adhered to by the chosen provider. Careful analysis and due diligence are strongly recommended in order to ascertain the cloud's role in your organization's information technology environment.
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