One of the most important technology developments of the past decade or so is cloud software services.
Here are the basics: When you sign up for a cloud software service, you are essentially leasing computing resources in server farms, off site, that will run the software for you. It allows you to run power-hungry applications on any internet-enabled device, since the heavy computing is outsourced to the aforementioned server farm. It frees up resources you might have otherwise spent on building and maintaining your own IT infrastructure. It makes all your data accessible to every stakeholder, it enables collaboration, and more. It’s a huge deal.
So why isn’t everyone using it?
My father, the cyber-security officer for a large-ish tech company, sent me an article published by the Harvard Business Review back in 2011: “What Every CEO Needs to Know about the Cloud.” After outlining the benefits of the cloud, the article goes into detail about a number of the concerns held by “skeptics” and takes each one of them apart.
Does it cost more? Maybe it looks like it if you’re comparing the cost of a cloud subscription to the cost of a purchasing the software outright. But, as our author explains: “Over time, the economics of building and running a technology infrastructure will favor the cloud — both in overall cost in adoption of ever-improving technologies.”
Amazon Web services, perhaps the largest cloud service of all, had already dropped its price more than dozen times by the time this article was published. Five years ago. And it looks like things will continue getting cheaper.
In an age when we’re all using Gmail every day—with virtually zero downtime—how can you worry about this anymore?
This is the big one. To fully benefit from cloud processing, you’ll have to send your data off to a server farm someplace far away. While it’s traveling through all those internet pipes, it’s open to capture by hackers. Right? Yes, but…
“The only war to have 100% computer security,” the author explains, “is to have zero computers. The next best approach is to constantly monitor the threat landscape; buy or build the best technologies to protect devices, networks, and transmissions; and hire and retain top digital security specialists.”
You know who’s good at all of that? Companies that specialize in cloud-processing solutions. They’re likely dedicating more resources to this security than you would do yourself. You think you’re scared of what would happen if your data got out? Imagine what that would do their business?