07 May Top Cloud Computing Myths for Business Owners
If your IT director or CIO has been pushing to put certain aspects of your business “on the cloud,” you may wonder why you’re not on Cloud 9 about the idea. Perhaps you’ve bought into certain statements about cloud computing or virtual IT that makes you hesitant to place your sensitive information or critical tasks on a virtual network or remote server. Chances are, however, that your fears are unfounded. Let’s take a look at some of the top myths many business owners have bought into regarding cloud computing — and what makes them myths instead of facts.
- “Cloud computing” refers only to one particular type of distributed computing. If someone tells you that cloud computing involves social media applications, or online public transactions, or private intranets, or collaborative online work platforms, or telecommuting through remote network access, or a way to offload your company’s server storage and functionality — that person is correct! Cloud computing includes all of these scenarios and more. Even people who use it every day don’t necessarily understand exactly what the cloud is, according to a recent survey by Citrix. Quite simply, cloud computing refers to Internet-based business processes and functions. PC World cites the main varieties of cloud computing as software-as-a-service, platform-as-a-service, and infrastructure-as-a-service.
- Only the largest enterprises can afford it. You’re probably thinking of cloud computing in the form of dedicated hosting — a situation where your have an entire virtual server completely reserved for your business and only your business. And it’s true that this option usually isn’t an option for smaller companies with correspondingly modest IT budgets. But there is a variety of cloud computing setup options out there for practically any size of business. You could start with a shared hosting option, for instance, in which your business shares storage space and bandwidth with other businesses. As long as you’re not Amazon, shared hosting may be all you need for your cloud-based internal processes and customer interactions.
- Your data is less safe on the cloud. Some business owners are understandably wary to entrust the countless terabytes of sensitive data, from customer credit card numbers to top-secret files, to a server that doesn’t inhabit the company’s own facility. But the truth of the matter is that cloud computing is, if anything, safer than local data storage. In an article for Pando Daily, Rick Spickelmier notes that approximately two-thirds of all the business data security breaches that occurred during 2013 involved not online hacking, but such traditional issues as burglaries, insider fraud and employee mistakes. A reputable cloud computing provider, on the other hand, typically encrypts every bit of data you send to it — often on the client side as well as on the server side.
- Cloud computing makes you vulnerable to outages. If you worry about your employees and/or customers losing access to your online presence, ask yourself if your own hard drives or servers enjoy any special immunity against these catastrophes. Unless you back up every transaction and task that occurs locally, constantly, across multiple devices, you’re actually more likely to lose that data permanently, or at least for a long enough time to damage your business. According to the Washington Post, you’re probably better off keeping that data with a cloud computing provider that distributes it across multiple data centers. This approach ensures redundant backup and storage as well as “always on” access.
Myths often melt away in the face of facts. So don’t fear the cloud — put it to work for you!