The rise of super fast internet in the last few years has made the idea of online storage a reality with even the largest files being able to be shared and stored on a series of servers across the world. However, there are still enough people who are hesitant about cloud computing to make it a conscious decision for any user or business to invest in it fully. Let’s look at the good, the bad and the ugly to help you make your mind up.
There are plenty of positives about cloud computing, with these three running towards the top of most people’s lists:
- Automatically backed up – unlike desktop working where you have to worry about where and how you’ve saved each piece of work, cloud computing allows you to automatically save all your work in one central place that you can access from anywhere in the world.
- Communal editing – whilst it’s possible to have multiple people working on the same document through track changes or highlighted updates, cloud computing allows simultaneous access to the same document, meaning you can work together in real time.
- Reduced processing power – the last big pro is that all of the computer processing power is done by the servers that someone else is looking after. This means you can man a fleet of low power computers and tablets which will save you money in the long run.
For all the positives, cloud computing has it’s drawbacks:
- Not secure – with the advent of super fast fibre optic broadband, there has been a sharp rise in the number of online fraud and hacks, with cloud computing being at the centre. Having all your data stored in one electronic place puts you at risk as if someone gets into the server, they have access to all your data.
- Limited free storage – unless you’re willing to pay a hefty yearly sum, you can only get a few gigabytes free from most companies. Google have the best reputation and you’ll get up to 100 gb free when you buy one of their computer products, but this will still only be for a couple of years before you have to start paying again.
- Only certain file types supported – finally, as an online storage facility, users of cloud computing have become increasingly frustrated that there is little consistency as to which file types are supported. In particular, each cloud computing service will offer its own version of desktop publishing products and translating between the different interfaces can be confusing.
Finally for the ugly part of cloud computing. It’s still a niche market, which means that only certain companies offer it. In general, it tends to be the larger technology firms, and whilst this means that you’ll get better tech support, you’ll also be supporting major corporations, leaving the small independent companies to struggle.
At the end of the day, the best way to find out if cloud computing can be a solution for you is to try it out. You’ll quickly get an idea as to whether and how it can meet your needs.