Cloud Computing: The Future is here
Whether your organization uses the new Google Drive (“the new home for Google Docs”) or Microsoft’s OneDrive, cloud computing is being adopted by most cutting-edge organizations. Cloud computing is now widely used because it enhances organizational efficiency by encouraging remote collaboration. Although some concerns still remain regarding information security, this article will discuss several key advantages of cloud computing and why your organization should consider implementing it.
Cloud computing enhances a team’s cohesion and productivity – particularly when team members are working remotely – by enabling employees to easily share files on a company’s team site. Colleagues can then collectively edit documents, presentations, or other uploaded files. This means that the process of managing documents with unnecessarily long email threads is eliminated. Furthermore, an organization’s users can see who made particular edits to a document through versioning and other collaborative tools.
Whether users work from home or travel internationally, they can easily access important documents on the team site and provide feedback. Microsoft’s OneDrive syncs flawlessly with many mobile operating systems, including the Apple’s iOS, Microsoft Windows Phone, and Google’s Android, so that users can edit documents while in transit.
When organizations use cloud computing, they are at least partially reducing their dependence on traditional file hosting services, such as hard drives. Instead of having to email important files to colleagues to share information, users can simply save or create files “in the cloud.” Additionally, the threat of losing important files due to hardware loss or failure is mitigated when an organization uses cloud technology, as saved files can be retrieved from the cloud.
Most prominent cloud computing service providers operate under the relatively new price structure called freemium, where users are allowed a certain amount of free storage space. If the user exceeds the limit (7GB on Google Drive and 5GB on OneDrive, for example), they can then purchase more space.
Although there can be advantages for many organizations, it is important to note that certain concerns do exist surrounding this new technology. First, many critics of cloud computing argue that it is not as secure as other traditional forms of file hosting. By uploading documents to the cloud, organizations are essentially forfeiting their file security management to other organizations. However, the major cloud computing service providers – Google and Microsoft – have no interest in offering an unsecure service. In addition, and are continuously upgrading their technologies to ensure greater security.
The related topic of privacy is also voiced as a concern by critics of cloud computing. When an organization uploads its files to a cloud service, it could be exposing its private intellectual property to security threats. While this concern is not irrelevant, privacy will always be a concern for organizations that use the Internet. Once again, it is in the cloud service provider’s best interest to secure its customers’ confidential information. Overall, the benefits of cloud computing vastly outweigh these few potential (though unlikely) drawbacks.