Can You Afford the Cloud?

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What could be bad about having all of my information online, all the time?

If you’re struggling to make ends meet with your small business, you may have heard of a little something called “the cloud”. Proponents of cloud computing claim that organizations using the cloud report nearly double the revenue growth and about 2.5 times higher gross profits than their competitors, and the cloud certainly has played its part in reducing IT costs in today’s technologically connected world. But the cost of cloud computing are definitely something that needs to be considered before you make a decision. Can your business afford cloud computing? Is it really as cheap as people say? This article hopes to answer that question, examining the cost of cloud computing to help you decide whether or not it’s right for you.

Before choosing to switch your business over to the cloud, ask yourself the following questions.

Can you pay the rent?

If you’re dealing with older servers and having trouble paying the salaries of your tech guys, moving all of your files to a cloud infrastructure firm sounds like a great idea. You won’t have to worry about security, and you’ll be able to access everything you need, remotely, all the time. Depending on the service you pay for, you won’t even have to worry about keeping up with the latest and greatest operating systems or technological platforms. So why not go for it?

Turns out it might be more complicated than that.

A setup like the one described above can cost about $100 per user per month. So depending on your company’s network, you might be looking at something like $12,000 a year. That’s a lot of money for a small business. Sure, there are cheaper options and even cloud-based software instead, but at best, you’re still looking at about $25 per user per month. A quarter of the cost of the options described above, but not insignificant.

Do you need it?

This seems like a stupid question. Of course you need it, right? This is the 21st century we’re talking about, the age of the internet. Why would you not want to be connected to everyone and everything?

Well, ask yourself. Considering the cost of cloud computing, what do you actually stand to gain? And what do you stand to lose?

On paper, cloud computing has a lot of advantages. It allows you to focus on your business instead of managing data, lets you develop new applications and lets you automate a lot of basic organizational tasks. All this sounds fantastic, but remember that not every good thing is good for you. Cloud computing still has a lot of security issues, and depending on your own security requirements, you might find that the cost of cloud computing outweighs the benefits here. And outsourcing your data to the cloud means that you give up some personal control of your own company’s data, which, depending on your own tech know-how, might be something you prefer to retain.

Have you considered all the options?

Cloud computing is not a one-size fits all sort of deal. There are at least three separate types of cloud computing, Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS). You can’t just walk up to a computing company and ask for “the cloud”, unless you want to get saddled with the most expensive option they have available. Have you compared the costs of each of these three types of cloud computing to their benefits? Have you decided which type of cloud computing option works best for your business? Looked at different companies and compared prices between them? If you haven’t, you need to do your homework before deciding to make a move like this.

Conclusion

Cloud computing has a lot of benefits and brings a lot of new and exciting things to the table. In today’s world, it’s definitely something that should be considered. But everything that has to be considered should be looked at from both sides. The cloud can be made to work for you, but you need to make sure it fits your needs first. Everything has a cost, and if you aren’t careful, the cost of cloud computing may turn out to be too high for you.

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