The cloud – or “cloud computing” – continues to be a one of the most popular terms in the ICT industry. It was first coined in 1996, but only began gaining popularity 10 years later when companies such as Google and Amazon started using it to describe a wave of new services provided from their datacentres; today, the cloud cannot be ignored.
That’s because all kinds of services can be deployed from the cloud, including platforms, infrastructure, app support, and more. As such, modern businesses can run their operations with little more than a handful of cloud service subscriptions, mid-range PCs, and their internet connections, paying only for what they use yet enjoying the performance benefits and results of far larger expenditure. Why would we not love it?
While the cloud has proven incredibly useful, it still isn’t the silver bullet solution for every organisation’s challenges. In this, the first part of our five-part blog series, we’re going to explore this idea, covering some of the major reasons why businesses are loving – and hating – the cloud.
Let’s start with two reasons why we, as a business, love cloud.
It’s actually affordable
The most popular reason for the adopting of cloud services is undoubtedly cost. Cloud eliminates the need for businesses to own, operate, or maintain their own servers or datacentres, or to buy expensive software licenses.
That means they don’t have to buy hardware, pay technicians to plan, configure, and install it, and neither do they have to worry about keeping a large IT staff on board to look after it.
Take for example our Server on Demand service that uses the VMWare product stack to deliver software-defined datacentres to our customers. Or, the Microsoft Office 365 offer that allows us to charge customers a modest monthly fee per user instead of a full-fat once-off price for the entire Office suite of applications.
Who wouldn’t want to offer their customers an affordable yet effective solution?
It’s really at the click of a button
Cloud allows customers to simply choose what it is they want from a handy central console, click the Provision button, and seconds later, their VMs/servers/software/subscriptions are ready to go.
These can be provisioned at any time of the day or night, because cloud services are available 24/7, and service selections can be modified at any time.
Those services are supported by the companies providing them, and troubleshooting/getting help is a matter of making a phone call or making use of online support like live one-on-one chats with support personnel.
- Backing up to the cloud via a service like TOD’s ArcServe Unified Data Protection can be done with the click of a few buttons at any time of the day or night. Need more storage space for your files? Choose the amount whenever it suits you, and the cloud system provisions it automatically within minutes.
Things they don’t like
As for some of the challenges around cloud that discourages some businesses from diving in, we’ll start with issues like concerns over security, and legal and regulatory compliance.
Back in 2013, 65% of the companies surveyed by PCConnection.com cited security concerns as their biggest issue with cloud. Back then, they simply didn’t trust cloud providers with their data, because cloud providers hadn’t yet earned it.
Today, through efforts from Microsoft, Amazon, and Google to secure their cloud offerings as far as they possibly can, those services adhere to the highest security standards and are far more trustworthy than they were back in ’13.
- Microsoft’s Azure platform – and thus all cloud services that are based on it – are secured by Azure Trust Center, a function of Azure that rolls decades of Microsoft’s experience running and securing enterprise environments into a single control panel that constantly monitors Azure against malware, breaches, and hacks.
Legal and regulatory compliance
Complying with laws that govern data is a royal pain, and frankly, businesses are struggling with it on their own and think hosting their data in the cloud only complicates the matter further. This contributes towards some businesses’ reluctance to adopt the cloud in meaningful ways.
That perception, however, couldn’t be further from the truth. Microsoft, in particular, works hard to ensure its services are compliant with the relevant laws of every region where the company offers its cloud services.
They even haven’t forgotten about us here on the southern tip of Africa: Azure is already compliant with POPIA, the Protection of Personal Information Act that’s about to come into effect in South Africa, and it will continue to be so even if POPIA’s regulations change.
Wrapping up (for now)
As you can see, while there are indeed reasons for business not to love cloud, they’re not quite as serious as you might have thought. We’ll explore more of these love/hate ideas in the 2nd part of our post, coming soon.