A few years ago, a new term hit the tech world—“the cloud.” Since then, it has become one of the biggest technology game-changers, while at the same time also being one that many people don’t completely understand. But one thing that your business needs to do is address whether you will embrace this advancement or wait it out for a while.  Should you move your business to the cloud? Here are things to think about.

What is cloud computing?

In a nutshell, cloud computing is a service offered to a client (either for free or at a paid rate) over the Internet. It allows the user to have access to data anywhere they might have an Internet connection. You no longer have to be tied to one specific computer that houses your data or feel that you need to back up everything to USB thumb drives that can be easily lost.

What options are available with cloud computing? There are ultimately four uses for cloud services in a business setting. These include:

Cloud Storage

Through cloud storage, you can store your files on the cloud so that multiple users can access them from any computer. It also allows for users to sync the files across multiple devices. This particular option is especially helpful for companies that have a large number of users who need access to shared files. It also lets these employees collaborate on work, even if they are not in the same physical location.

Cloud Backup

This option is a lot like cloud storage, but on a much larger scale. It allows you to regularly schedule backups and save them to the cloud so that you can have it remotely in case of a catastrophic event such as a server crash or hack. This option is a good choice for those who want an extra level of security. For instance, the recent rise of ransomware can allow hackers to cut you off from your data unless you pay the hackers to decrypt the information. With a cloud-based backup, you can access your data and restore it easier.

Cloud-based Software

This is also referred to as either “platform as a service” (PaaS) or “software as a service” (SaaS). Instead of installing software on every single computer in a building, the employees can access the platform from the cloud server.  It also helps if your employees are going to use computers remotely and may not have access to the software on those outside computers. Office 365 and Google Apps are probably the most popular programs for this option.

Cloud Hosting

The biggest option of the four is cloud hosting, which includes a mixture of all the other options under one big umbrella.  This means everything from data storage and sharing to software hosting. But it also includes communications such as email and web-based phones. This option is good for trying to consolidate everything under one platform.

What are the downsides to cloud computing?

Many people may be worried about the security of cloud computing. For instance, one high-profile security breach was when several actresses had private photographs hacked from a cloud server and spread online. These infamous cases, however, don’t acknowledge the fact that for every security breach, there are trillions of daily transactions that are perfectly secured. This also goes hand-in-hand with the issue of corporate privacy and if the big cloud companies (such as Apple and Google) are compiling your data and possibly sharing it with outside entities, such as the government.

The final main issue is that of availability. Although cloud companies tout the fact that you have access to your data 24/7, what happens when the cloud goes down?  Outages have happened and this can have a negative impact on your business.

For help with setting up or managing cloud services, contact New Edge Technology Solutions. Our team has decades of experience in the IT industry and are certified in leading cloud technologies. Managed cloud is not just our specialty – it’s our passion.