For the past five years cloud computing has seen substantial growth. One study has the total cloud computing market set to surpass $200 billion by the third quarter of 2016. Many of the industry’s giants have developed and made available cloud systems that provide office suites, enterprise resource planning, customer relationship management, and other core platforms that work to support a business by adding efficiency. One question many business owners and executives are seeking answers to is: “Can I leverage cloud computing to help my business?”
The industry has really taken off largely due to the availability of products that seemingly provide value. After all, cloud software like Microsoft Office 365 offers organizations substantial benefits; as does SAP’s Business ByDesign ERP, or ConnectWise’s PSA. All of these pieces of software are available as cloud offerings. For companies that need a platform that incorporates the convenience and flexibility that only the cloud can provide, knowing if it’s prudent to jump in with both feet is a top priority for decision makers.
Drawbacks to Software as a Service
It’s not an overstatement to suggest that today’s most important software delivery methods are revolutionizing the way people look at business computing. Software as a service, or SaaS, produces some of the most attractive results for the modern business, but often present issues. In fact, there are some things that every business owner or executive that is charged with implementing new technology should know about Software as a Service.
- Importance – For some businesses it may be a good enough option to have a computing infrastructure that is built with public cloud applications, but for most businesses, separating the mission critical applications from the rest can go a long way towards keeping often overwhelming operational headaches to a minimum. The more control you have over applications that are essential to the operational sustainability of your company, the better.
- Quality – Some administrators have had some trouble with the quality of their solutions. This often has network administrators looking for ways to improve the delivery of these applications. Today’s workers require ubiquitous access to the applications they depend on to do their jobs, and there are times, when depending on cloud applications, that they run into poor performance. This hinders productivity and ultimately wastes company resources.
- Pricing – For most organizations SaaS is looked on as a way to cut the expenses for their computing, or at the very least, limit their capital responsibility for their organization’s computing infrastructure. One shift that some application vendors are making turns this strategy on its head by reverting to the traditional strategy of charging upfront licensing fees for their cloud-based applications. To make sure that your cloud vendor adheres to the “pay as you go” method that most cloud solutions are sold as, some due diligence is now necessary.
- Security – Many of the most prominent vendors will guarantee a certain amount of security, but if you pay someone else to host your company’s data for you in the cloud, you have to understand that while largely secure, there have been instances that have resulted in data leaks or even significant data loss from applications and other hosted solutions. If, like many small businesses, your organization’s health depends largely on keeping data secure, finding the cheapest solution is not a route you should take.
- In-House Support – Using cloud solutions is, by in large, an accepted method to reduce support costs. In fact, some platforms reduce application support costs to virtually zero. In stark contrast, however, the IT support costs that are necessary on the technologies your employees use to deliver these solutions, aren’t reduced at all.
While the cloud can go a long way toward removing large capital expenditures from your business’ technology budget, the expectation that it reduces costs exponentially is in question. After taking into account the costs associated with hosting your own IT on premise, it still may make for a prudent strategy to take.