Clouding the Issue? Facts and Myths About Cloud Computing
Everyone’s talking about it, and some have even started using it — cloud computing is the current “big thing” in the technology world. But guess what? Cloud computing isn’t new, and it’s not particularly clever either. In fact, it’s really just the joining up and packaging of existing technologies and deploying them in a way that might actually help you save time and money and improve efficiency.
Most cloud providers are in it to make some money, of course, and therein lies the difficulty. How do you separate the sales rhetoric from the truth? Many things are said and done in the name of cloud computing, and while some of them are true, that also means many are potentially misleading at best.
So here’s a simple guide to help you see through the myths and make up your own mind.
Cloud applications are better
Well, it depends on what you mean by better. If it means easier to use and share, fewer configuration options, and fewer opportunities for things to go wrong, then yes, by and large cloud applications (think Google Docs versus the traditional Microsoft Office package) can be considered “better.” This is largely because of the software limitations that run in your browser, although that’s now changing with the latest HTML5-capable browsers.
If you like the advanced features that Windows/Mac screens can give you, then you may have to sacrifice a drop in functionality in return for ease of access if you move to the cloud. And, since the cloud is the Internet, it makes it far easier to integrate online with what traditionally has been seen as offline (e.g., your website and your database).
Data’s not secure in the cloud, is it?
Not 100 percent. Nothing is, but it’s probably much more secure than anything on your own PC or server. The physical security of your office, unless you work in a high-security facility, is not as secure as a data center. Additionally, the firewalls and other security measures employed by data centers are beyond the financial means of even the largest charities. And you can always go for a private or community cloud.