Guest author: Mary D. is a Philosophy & Literature graduate currently working as a freelance writer while traveling through Europe. Exceptionally passionate about Technology since an early age (“raised by the Internet”, some would say), today she writes about the important contemporary technological innovations ranging anywhere between Artificial Intelligence and Cloud Computing.
Cloud computing is one of those innovative technological advancements in the IT industry that’s given a great boost to mass-users, while at the same time providing businesses with many new opportunities.
The ease of use and convenience of Cloud storage
We have all used cloud computing technology to upload and store files on online ‘cloud servers’ — whether for sharing large files like music & movies with friends through popular services like Dropbox or Google Drive, or for accessing already shared files through organisations like Soundcloud or YouTube (all of which utilise cloud computing servers to store files). Heck, even your Gmail or Outlook emails are on the cloud.
Thanks to the cloud, all of your information can now be saved on online servers, which means that in case your computer’s hard drive crashes, or an app from one of your devices (like smartphones or tablets) fails, all of your data can be retrieved. WhatsApp, for example, has a failsafe system that automatically stores all your chat groups on the Cloud.
The not-so-pretty side of the Cloud
Some drawbacks, of course, include the danger of cyber hacking and theft of private information, government encroachment and espionage of personal data. This has all been amplified by the current censorship practices that have been employed by Google and Facebook – namely the sharing of users’ private information with U.S. government agencies like the NSA or the FBI.
Higher service fees for extra memory storage, governmental regulations and taxes varying from country to country are also some of the potential issues that might arise. While these setbacks cannot – and should not – be ignored, the advantages for the business world greatly surpass these concerns.
Benefits to the business world
The main benefits involve cost reduction, higher level of organisational efficiency, and improved communication of ideas (and collaboration) between employees. By using the Cloud, all company levels that can access and process information simultaneously and contribute with more innovative ideas.
Then there is the reduction in bureaucracy and the promotion of faster decision-making to achieve scheduled business goals, enhanced market competitiveness, and environmental friendliness and sustainability. The last benefit (especially important with small businesses) is due to the elimination of the need for actual paper, as all the important data gets stored virtually. With regards to small businesses, cloud computing is said to have the potential to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions by as much as 90%!
Certainly, security is the main issue here, and some companies may be unwilling to make full use of the Cloud for fear that the higher degree of visibility and amount of data they store on the cloud may fall in the hands of other companies through industrial espionage. The fact that all your sensitive information is entirely in the hands of a third-party service is enough to make a business shudder, especially a shady one. User dependency on Cloud service vendors could be seen as another drawback, mostly because of their ability to control costs and fees associated with upgrading to higher memory storage.
Overcoming concerns of Cloud Computing
Despite these setbacks, any company can secure itself from these potential dangers by employing the right professionals— and that means experts as well as Cloud tech consultants who have been trained and now posses the necessary cloud computing skills. Considering that it is a rather new skill in our world and that there is a high demand for cloud-skilled workforce, companies (like CloudAcademy for example) are emerging that offer anyone cloud training, education, and skills – as well as an accredited certificate.
Timing also plays a crucial role, and the faster small-to-medium businesses adopt the Cloud, the higher their chances are in gaining a competitive edge in the marketplace. The wide combination of jobs and careers available in the Cloud technology industry also portrays the high demand for trained IT and Cloud experts needed by companies to combine and apply all the necessary security measures to efficiently counter any possible threat, and to implement and control the technology successfully.