Have We Got Our Head in the Clouds?

We’ve all heard of it, but how many of us understand the fine print behind cloud computing? Sure, there are many skeptics hesitant to feel amenable towards any bleeding edge technology before it’s been given a good once or twice over. Cloud computing is described as a liberating new platform, allowing us to unbind the chains of our offices and lift the heavy burden of so many annals of RAM. So why are there naysayers still dragging their feet on the ground? And do consumers truly understand the facts about how their data is handled?

Let’s start with a definition of cloud computing:

Cloud computing is the practice of using a network of remote servers hosted on the Internet to store, manage, and process data, rather than a local server. Much like high availability services, the cloud ensures that the data you or your customers need is available immediately, anywhere.

Well that should clear up those cloudy skies and allow us all to settle down, right? Well, unfortunately this tends to generate more questions and concerns than it does confidence. Many claim that this service model introduces security risks, connection problems, and pricier structures for business owners. Let’s amble through these three claims to try and understand why, upon scrutiny, they may not actually be able to hold water.

Myth #1: Cloud Computing is Not Secure

Security is often the primary reason that business owners and clients alike shy away from donning their technological wings and exploring the vast freedoms of cloud computing. Even as online banking and patient health portals become modern standards, many are fearful of tossing their data up into the unknown, afraid it might be snatched away before they can get it back down.

Although it’s true that the cloud presents a different angle at which hackers and attackers can assail, the security risks are the same ones that traditional infrastructures face. Respectable cloud vendors go out of their way to instill industry-leading security and routine risk analyses to keep their data centers safe from harm. Oftentimes the cloud can be more secure than your own IT infrastructure, hosted by vendors who specialize in network security and invest far more in security measures for their clients than their non cloud-computing counterparts invest in their own.

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Myth #2: Mission Critical Applications Should Stay Grounded

There is a valid and respectable fear that comes along with moving mission-critical applications outside of workspace walls. Reliability is a large concern as we all know, considering that outages and service disruptions can bring down a business in a matter of days. And today’s consumers are wary of such outages after seeing large websites and data centers experience disruptions that affect them personally. But much of this disquiet is due to the high visibility of these incidences. Enterprises managing their own infrastructure experience outages much more frequently, but the number of users affected is lower as well. Their data centers aren’t hosting Facebook or Pinterest, and therefore word simply doesn’t spread as widely. In truth, reliability can actually be much better in the cloud, as most data centers are hosted in areas that don’t experience natural disasters, and have back-up generators on site and ready. In this way, cloud computing can be considered a disaster recovery precaution.

Myth #3: The Cloud Is Cost-Prohibitive for Small Businesses

Many believe that cloud services like VMware cloud solutions are strictly a big-business solution, with no place in smaller productions. Fortunately, the truth for small businesses is that fewer IT personnel on staff and less time spent handling infrastructure means more time to focus on building their business. Less time managing and paying these staff members in-house allows small business owners to reinvest the money they make into marketing and other areas much needed for growth. Cloud hosting is also not a one-size-fits-all solution. Cloud hosting is highly scalable, allowing businesses to only purchase the space they require today, and quickly expand for the space they need tomorrow.

Cloud hosting is not just the latest fad in the industry trying to smoke-screen business owners and consumers alike. With less downtime, more redundancy, and better security, cloud computing is the inevitable face of the future. We see evidence every day in the way we store our data, the way we shop, and the way we manage our money and our health care. With a focus on flexibility, disaster recovery, and security, the only thing to lose is the ability to reach new heights.

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