Worldwide, the cloud computing market is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 36 percent, encompassing a $19.5 billion market share by 2016. If your business has been on the sidelines of the cloud so far, now is the time to move to the cloud and begin realizing its advantages.

Pros and Cons of using the Cloud for Storage

The cloud offers many tangible benefits for businesses. These include:

— Anywhere, Anytime Access of Data

This directly benefits traveling and telecommuting workers, while allowing all employees greater flexibility.

— Automated Data Backup

When you store data in the cloud, you have an automated secure backup if your computer fails.

— Reduced In-house IT Costs

Outsourcing server maintenance and data management to a cloud cuts in house IT labor costs, often by as much as 50 percent.

— Scalable System

You can easily upgrade your capacity to account for a peak demand or busy season, then decrease capacity when demand ebbs.

— Improved Efficiency

Automated backup, anywhere access and ease of use combine to increase efficiency of employees.

In a public cloud, your business data co-locates with other business data, which can leave you vulnerable to security risks. Part of this vulnerability is the fear of what (or who) you don’t know; ensuring that your cloud vendor encrypts data can mitigate your risks. Some cloud providers experience downtime, which directly cuts your access to data.

Cloud Benefits In Business

How to find the Right Cloud Provider

To determine whether your business is ready for the cloud, ask yourself three questions:

Do I have a Clear Business Case for Migrating to the Cloud?

Taking the pros and cons of using a cloud into account, determine whether you have a business case for using the cloud. List tangible benefits, such as reduced costs or increased capacity.

Will the Cloud make My Workflow more Efficient?

If moving to the cloud will make employee work easier, shifting to the cloud will increase efficiency. If you suspect that employees will need extensive (and expensive) training on how to use the cloud, it may be better to hold off.

Does Cloud Security Meet My Needs?

If you have strict privacy needs for compliance, you may be reluctant to invest in the public cloud for storage. While private clouds offer more granular security control, they are expensive. Still, for many businesses, the public cloud will meet security needs and may even offer better security than existing company protocol.

The right cloud provider can make the difference between a good cloud experience and a great one. Not all cloud packages are the same. While space and cost are obvious differences, you’ll also find that packages differ by system requirements, usability of interface, speed of product and access to customer service. Make a realistic assessment of your cloud computing needs before you commit to a vendor.

While the cloud in its present incantation is not perfect, the benefits of using the cloud far outweigh any downsides. Many cloud providers offer a free trial that allows you to test the service and experience the benefits the cloud offers business.

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