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Cloud computing

Many believe that Cloud computing is revolutionising the business IT landscape. But what are the pros and cons of getting on board?

Many believe that Cloud computing is revolutionising the business IT landscape. But what are the pros and cons of getting on board?

Cloud computing is IT provided as a third party service, like a utility, rather than as a product.

‘Cloud’ is actually a metaphor for the Internet and your company’s information is held on an external server, accessible remotely, via the Internet.  Software packages can be accessed online rather than licensed for each user and a company’s IT infrastructure can be entirely virtual, and based on the cloud. 

There are a number of clouds companies can choose from i.e. Microsoft, Amazon, IBM, and Google. Clouds can be public, community, hybrid or private.

A concern using cloud computing is how secure you need the system to be. Integrating with existing IT systems and infrastructure can be complex and there can be privacy issues.
 
Clear skies
 
It’s cheap: you pay only for what you actually use
 
It’s fast: you can skip hardware procurement and capital expenditure – particularly ideal for start-ups
   
It’s current: software is consistently updated 
 
It’s flexible: the cloud can cope with sharp increases in workload 
 
It’s mobile: you can access your systems wherever you are
 
It’s green: less IT means less electricity
 
Gloomier forecast
 
Hard to customise: cloud-computing tasks are standardised. If you require a different approach, it will cost you more
 
Needs a fresh approach: some people are reluctant to make the switch 
 
Security worries: you can’t be 100% certain your data will be safe unless you move to a private cloud
 
Poor application performance: network latency is an issue when using a ‘public’ cloud

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John Carroll - Helping businesses achieve International success. Head of Product Management & International Business, Santander UK

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