Companies using cloud-based technology have seen many benefits, allowing them to enhance their capabilities, build resilience, strengthen security, and boost cost-efficiency. In fact, 88% of respondents to one survey use cloud technology, and the public cloud computing market is estimated to be worth $800 billion by 2025, representing 14% of all IT revenue.
Cloud computing is highly advantageous compared to on-site computing as you do not need to install programs on every single system and share files constantly. Other documents stored on a central server can be accessed remotely. However, despite network administrators having granular control over their operations when setting up servers, one misconfigured component or a missed update could damage a network or even expose security vulnerabilities.
Cloudification is here to stay but it should not be approached as the perfect fix-all solution when running an effective enterprise network.
We must examine the benefits and here I’ll outline the paired pros and cons.
Pro: Cloud Computing Comes With Assistance
Cloud computing is often misunderstood by many who do not realize services also come with the technology itself. These services provide expertise that assists you with getting the most out of their product. That way, you are helped by experts along the way, rather than having to figure it out by yourself.
Con: Issues When Transferring Services
Cloud services may have drawbacks for companies trying to transfer between providers.
Although providers are eager to support you when using their technology, your systems would be fully enmeshed with the previous one. Thus, moving to another would require transferring large amounts of data. Integrating APIs is also a long-winded and costly process.
Pro: Cloud Services Strengthen Security
Most cloud infrastructure is only built upon by major corporations including Microsoft and Amazon. They have the capital and expertise to build in professional-grade security. However, regulations aside, there is no other choice when hundreds or thousands of companies are relying on their services and they need to be able to provide a sense of security alongside other services.
Con: A Target for Hackers
A consideration when moving from on-site hosting to the cloud is that the large-scale servers that host cloud services have a higher capacity for traffic compared to what a smaller company could build in their own data center. These are more able to withstand Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks. Such attacks consist of when attackers send a large amount of fake requests to a site. Put simply, having thousands of virtual machines refresh the same page over and over again until the site’s server is overloaded.
While a cloud server could withstand a small DDoS attacks, sufficiently large attack or one that takes advantage of vulnerabilities is more challenging. It could damage every company with services on that platform offline. So far this is only a hypothetical scenario on large-scale cloud services like Amazon Web Services, but smaller services, like shared hosting for a corporate website, could feasibly see this happen.
Pro: Cloudification Offers a Wide Range of Services
Since cloud computing was first created (cloud computing is arguably one of the first kinds of commercial computing), it has grown exponentially with regards to both its size (as mentioned above) and the range of products offered. Despite it being considered unusual nearly a decade ago (if not impossible), having accounting or word-processing software on the cloud as opposed to individual machines has become the new norm. There is no longer any need for companies to store information on individual hard drives when virtually everything can be cloud-ified.
Con: Lack of Customization for Cloud-Based Services
Unfortunately, there is a lack of customization for cloud services even though a wider range of cloud-based solutions are out there. Ready-made solutions are only available at present, and companies aren’t usually able build their own software. While many companies may not find this an issue, other companies with specific requirements (medical technology or R&D for example) may require bespoke cloud applications that allow them to customize their solutions.
There are companies who can build and deploy cloud-based solutions, but creating a software upon a pre-cloud paradigm or creating a cloud-based solution in-house which is deployed on their own servers would be more efficient for most companies.
Is Handling Security In-House Really the Best Way Forward?
I believe security at the Enterprise level is more than just installing antivirus software and making sure that it’s set to auto-update. It’s a vocation that touches on everything from cryptography to psychology.
Although there are many cloud services that can be part of a security professional’s tool-belt, we must acknowledge that the core of a large organization’s security is based in-house, in a central server with heavy-duty, enterprise-grade hardware modules.