To Be, or Not to Be in the Cloud…That is the Question: Pros and Cons of Cloud Computing

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The question of whether your company’s solution should be in the cloud or not is an important one to ponder. Maybe not as insightful as Shakespeare’s famous words, but important nonetheless.

Over the years, technology experts have come to the conclusion that it really depends on a handful of key factors, so we here at Sikich find it is best to present pros and cons of cloud computing and let YOU decide.

Cloud Computing Cons:

Security Concerns- The main concern with cloud computing is having your data accessible on the web. Although security is tight and getting even more advanced as technology providers perfect the framework, it is still a concern. If you need to supervise and secure data on premises that is locally owned and/or controlled, then cloud computing may not work out.

Risk of Losing Internet Connection- You should ask yourself whether the risk of losing internet connection and therefore access to your database will greatly affect your workflow. It is a risk some companies are willing to take, but something to consider.

Limited Resources for Customizations- If you require in-depth customizations and integration with your current systems for your daily business functions, cloud computing may not be accommodating to your needs.

Cloud Computing Pros:

Affordable- Possibly the number one reason companies are excited about cloud computing is the affordability. With cloud computing, you can pay for only what you use and ultimately reduce operational costs and capital expenditures on hardware, software licenses, and implementation services.

Scalable and Flexible- With cloud computing; you can maximize resources for better efficiency and reduce unused capacity. You can also scale up or down to meet the changing demands of your business

Efficiency- Cloud computing gives the benefit of shared hardware, automated processes, and familiar technologies. You and your employees can access the database from anywhere by using any PC, mobile device, or browser. It also reduces overall energy use and your physical footprint.

Maybe the pros speak to your company needs more than the cons can affect you. If so, it may be time to evaluate cloud computing solutions. If the cons outweigh the pros than it is clear that you would best benefit from an on-premise solution. Either way, Sikich offers both cloud and on-premise solutions to fit your needs. We are a Chicago IL Microsoft Gold Certified Partner and Microsoft Inner Circle member serving the Midwest specializing in the implementation of Microsoft Dynamics GP, Microsoft Dynamics NAV, Microsoft Dynamics SL and Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

By Sikich, St. Louis Microsoft Dynamics GP partner

3 thoughts on “To Be, or Not to Be in the Cloud…That is the Question: Pros and Cons of Cloud Computing”

  1. Good post and representation of both pros and cons for cloud computing.
    Security is often cited as a concern. However, cloud providers invest heavily ensuring that client data is protected. Additionally, providers normally staff teams of individuals to focus on security at many levels. Combine this with regularly scheduled NIST audits ISO certification and security becomes extremely impressive. Similarly, the physical security of most data centers is immense.
    Customization too is improving with each cloud software release. WYSIWYG forms and workflow modification tools are available from many leading vendors such Aplicor & SalesForce, and powerful API’s sweeten the pot.
    While many companies do and will continue to have requirements for local software, a hybrid strategy of integrated local and cloud applications may be a good choice

  2. The Cloud certainly is the way forward in the world of business applications. We've implemented 300+ Cloud ERP and CRM solutions (mostly NetSuite and Salesforce) and I'd like to offer our experience on this subject.

    1. Security - the security that is provided with all of the top cloud solutions is far more robust then what is available in the average data center. In addition, access to the applications can be limited to specific domains, the data stream is secure via HTTPS and you can enforce frequent password changing. With these capabilities the data is more secure than most company data centers. I would suggest that you can more easily hack into most corporate data centers then you can a cloud data center.

    2. Customization - all of the leading cloud solutions have excellent customization capabilities and because they force the date of upgrade, they all transition seamlessly on upgrade. This is completely unlike most on-premise solutions.

    3. Scalability - the one con that I think is missing and should be looked at is scalability. Larger companies can have some challenges with scaling a cloud application dependent on the nature of their business. That could be volume of transactions, number of skus, number of warehouses, number of customers…

    Lastly, let me throw in a few more Cloud positives that people may not have thought about:

    1. Reduced investment in building and maintaining IT infrastructure and competency

    2. Ease of upgrades

    3. Changed/better aligned vendor relationship since they have to continuously perform to keep your business

    4. True leverage of packaged software. I think the last one is really critical. Everyone buys packaged software to leverage the development organization of the software vendor but how many customers are 1, 2 or even 3 releases behind? With the cloud you are never behind. You always have the latest version of the software to take advantage of and that is huge.

    I hope that's a useful contribution to the discussion. Todd.

  3. Very interesting post. I think cloud computing is a positive as the accessibility is much easier, but I think some issues with data security need to be addressed to ensure data that is being stored in 'the cloud' is completely protected.

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