Understanding the Pros and Cons to Using a Cloud Computing System

Whether you're a beading company owner or an entrepreneur in the retail industry, you will have important data that you need to protect. This information ranges from what is provided by your customers to employee information. In the Digital Age, it's becoming easier for hackers to tap into company databases and use this information for their own purposes. However, your business does not have to fall victim to these thieves.

While the occurance of security breaches continues to rise with the arrival of new technology, more systems and tactics are being created to help business owners protect themselves from this problem. One option that has grown in popularity in recent years is cloud computing.

Cloud systems can be defined most simply as a way to store your important data at an offsite location for additional protection. These systems allow individuals to keep their information in a ''cloud,'' which is often secured by firewalls and other precautionary measures.

While a cloud system seems like an absolute necessity in this day and age, there are pros and cons to going with this method to store data. Examining the advantages and disadvantages of cloud systems can help you determine if it's a good fit for your beading company.

SmallBizTechnology.com reports that one of the biggest benefits of using a cloud system is the price, especially for small to medium-sized businesses. It can be expensive for a security system to protect all of your important data, and it may simply be out of your price range if you're a startup company. However, third-party cloud systems can be affordable and provide you with all of the security you need according to the size of your business.

Princeton reports that another benefit to using a cloud system is giving yourself one less thing to worry about when it comes to your beading supply or jewelry-making company. If you are working with a cost-effective, third-party cloud system for all of your data backup, you don't have to concern yourself as much with finding ways to protect your information on a regular basis. This also gives you more opportunities to allocate your resources elsewhere.

Finally, the biggest advantage of using a cloud server is peace of mind. Knowing that all of your data is safe and sound can allow you to shift your focus elsewhere, such as making other improvements to your business.

However, there are many disadvantages that come with using cloud computing software that entrepreneurs need to be aware of before making the decision to use this method of data storage.

SmallBizTechnology.com reports that the security of cloud computing systems has been questioned since its arrival on the technology scene. Although third-party service providers constantly ensure that data is safe while in their hands, many people are wondering if this is true, following a series of recent hacking events.

Another pitfall that industry experts and users alike are recognizing is the fact that technology is simply not always reliable. This means that if a company uses a cloud computing system for all of its data storage purposes and the server happens to go down, this information is inaccessible until the network comes back up.

Those who choose to rely on a cloud system for their information must also realize that it takes a fast, reliable Internet connection in order for it to operate properly on a regular basis. If your company does not have access to a viable Internet service provider, this could pose problems if you're solely interested in using a cloud system for data backup.

In general, many information technology professionals lack trust in cloud computing systems, as seen by a 2010 survey conducted by the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA). The results showed that out of 1,800 IT professionals surveyed in the U.S., approximately 45 percent said that the risks outweighed the benefits when it comes to using a cloud system.

''The cloud represents a major change in how computing resources are utilized, so it's not surprising that IT professionals have concerns about risk vs. reward,'' Robert Stroud, vice president of ISACA said in a statement, according to CNET.com. ''If cloud computing is treated as a major initiative involving many stakeholders, it has the potential to yield benefits that can equal or outweigh the risks.''

That being said, every scenario is different. As an entrepreneur, it's important for you to weigh the pros and cons prior to making a final decision. Cloud computing continues to change, and the risks and benefits will shift as time goes on.