It is a trend that is gaining more and more followers in both the private and business sectors: outsourcing IT services such as data storage, computing power or application software so that you don’t have to work with your own hardware and software. In this post I would like to bring you closer to the advantages and disadvantages of so-called cloud computing.
Off to the cloud! Everyone is moving, or so it would seem. Private individuals store their data in the cloud instead of relying solely on their physical storage media. For cost reasons, companies are outsourcing more and more IT services, be it hardware or software. But should you follow the trend? What speaks for it and what against it?
What is cloud computing?
Cloud computing is generally understood to mean the provision and use of IT infrastructure such as storage space, computing power or software via the Internet. The idea behind this is to make these IT infrastructures available via a computer network so that they do not have to be installed on local computers. The respective IT services are provided and used exclusively via technical interfaces and protocols as well as client software – often this is simply a web browser. The principle of cloud computing is primarily geared towards achieving significant savings in effort and costs. Cloud computing is available in the three variants Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS). IaaSprimarily comprises the provision of technical infrastructure such as computing power, networks or storage space. The scope of these services can be adjusted at any time, depending on user needs. PaaS offers users a platform for developing and offering their own software applications. For this purpose, programming and development environments are made available flexibly with this type of cloud service. The SaaS variant is also known as software on demand and represents the top level of cloud computing. The SaaS model comprises pure software applications that are made available to users as a cloud service by the respective provider.
Examples of cloud computing
The best-known form of cloud computing are cloud storage services such as Google Drive , Amazon Cloud Drive or Microsoft OneDrive. Private users and companies can rent capacities on storage servers from these providers in order to store data there. Another example, especially for cloud computing in companies, are cloud service providers who run software applications on their servers and make them available to companies worldwide via the Internet. In addition to renting and using software, such a solution can also include the associated computer capacities. Cloud computing can also provide computing power in connection with a development environment, so that a company can develop its own software products decentrally in the cloud.
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Advantages and disadvantages of cloud computing
Advantage for companies: providers of cloud services are often very broad when it comes to the range of different services.
Advantages and disadvantages of the cloud for private users
For private users, the advantages of cloud computing over using their own hardware and software are primarily that they do not need their own hardware resources for storing data or using the application software made available via the cloud service. In other words: data carriers such as external hard drives or USB sticks are becoming obsolete and there is no risk of damaging, misplacing or even losing them – nor can they be stolen. In addition, your own hardware does not have to be adapted or upgraded, as most cloud services can be used via a web browser or a client. Another advantage is the ability to access the respective cloud service at any time and with different devices, whether stationary or mobile. The only requirement, in addition to having a compatible device, is a functioning Internet connection. In addition, data such as pictures, documents, music or videos can be exchanged, shared and edited together with others by setting up appropriate access rights for friends, family or work colleagues. This means that you don’t have to be in the same place for joint projects, nor do you have to exchange data carriers or do a lot of emails. If required and with appropriate authorization, the data can also be downloaded locally. This means that you don’t have to be in the same place for joint projects, nor do you have to exchange data carriers or do a lot of emails. If required and with the appropriate authorization, the data can also be downloaded locally. This means that you don’t have to be in the same place for joint projects, nor do you have to exchange data carriers or do a lot of emails. If required and with appropriate authorization, the data can also be downloaded locally.
Advantages and disadvantages of the cloud for companies
The advantages of using cloud services for companies include the saving of sometimes considerable investments for services that can simply be rented in the cloud from external service providers. This saves costs in terms of personnel as well as the hardware used. This also means that no longer-term capital commitment is required, as the costs for all required services, such as the use of hardware resources or special application software, are usually billed monthly and are therefore easy to calculate. In addition, the costs for renting a cloud solution are generally well below the costs for purchasing your own hardware and software that correspond to the desired performance. Also the fact that hardware in particular needs regular upgrades, Staying up to date with the latest technology is a significant cost factor that does not apply to the use of a cloud service and is transferred to the respective provider. This also applies to cost-intensive preventive measures for failure protection. Another advantage is the cost savings for IT specialists who have to maintain, maintain and repair the infrastructure at all times, since this personnel is provided by the cloud provider. Another advantage for companies is the good adaptability of the respective services. The amount of storage space, computing power and software package can be selected precisely and adapted to actual needs at any time. In addition, several branches or company locations can be linked to the IT infrastructure used very easily and at low cost. Ultimately, the security factor can also be mentioned as an advantage. The access to the resources by the employees of a company is regulated by an administration of the cloud provider. The same applies to access protection to computer systems.
Disadvantages for companies are, for example, the dependency on the provider who may not take sufficient care of customers, may not have sufficient capacities or may be unable to act due to insolvency. Of course, this would have negative effects on all services that a company has booked with the cloud service provider in question and may have already paid for. When a company uses a cloud provider, the question also arises as to what is best done in the long term for handling sensitive, company-related data. If you leave these in the care of the service provider, you inevitably get into a certain dependency. The same applies to your own IT competence: if you have no or only a few specialists in the company, Those who are familiar with the technology, hardware and software, are largely dependent on the performance of the cloud provider. The quality of the internet connection can also be critical. In rural areas in particular, high-speed internet has often not yet arrived. And even with a 400 Mbit line, the high bandwidth does not guarantee that the connection will always work reliably – and an Internet connection is an indispensable prerequisite for cloud computing. There is also a danger in the use of data storage devices in other EU countries. Data storage on a server in the USA, such as Google or Amazon, is not subject to German or European data protection guidelines. Another disadvantage can be
Nowadays it doesn’t really work completely without the cloud. Many private users use cloud services from Google, Amazon or Microsoft, and cloud services for areas such as CRM, CMS, project management, security and data storage are very popular with companies. If you, as a private person or person responsible for a company, can strike an acceptable balance between the advantages and disadvantages mentioned, then I consider cloud computing to be a very recommendable solution. Some disadvantages may be negligible, especially when compared to the weight of some advantages and the benefits that come with them. Ultimately, of course, everyone has to decide for themselves whether and to what extent it makes sense to rely on a cloud solution.
What do you think about cloud computing? Do you already use cloud solutions? Just write your experiences and opinions in the comment.