The cloud is the all-purpose term currently being used to describe the outsourcing of some or all of a company’s functions and storage to an off-site provider, and eliminating its own physical storage units. While its data and applications will still be stored at a physical location, the data will theoretically be accessible from anywhere that an Internet connection is available, and for anyone with the right permissions. Along with PaaS and SaaS options, this can mean that employees can effectively take their work anywhere.
But the cloud is still ill-defined, and many providers do not agree on what should be offered or at what price. Companies must consider a number of questions before they decide if a cloud choice is right for them – either in whole or in part.
First, a company must consider costs. Cloud costs are often advertised as less, but may add up once a customized solution for a business is found. Don’t take costs at face value but, instead, find out about actual numbers before making a switch. Costs can also factor into software licensing issues, especially on multiple servers, and a company may find itself unwittingly violating terms of service and slapped with a fine.
Where data goes and how it is accessed is also an issue companies must consider. It is worthwhile knowing the exact location data is stored, as well as how much access the provider will have to it. Add to this the fact that many cloud systems do not permit easy tweaking and updating of software or apps, and companies may wish to consider holding off before jumping in with both feet. The cloud can be a viable option, but not dropping out the bottom is crucial.