The Top Misconceptions (and Truths) About Using the Cloud

Cloud has become a buzzword worldwide, which is both a blessing and a curse. It helped countless end-users appreciate the value of cloud computing in their lives—even if that was as simple as ensuring that your contacts would never be lost again. On the other hand, it simplified what cloud computing is and could be. That oft-oversimplification helped foster many of the prevalent myths presented here.

The Cloud Is Complicated

The cloud doesn’t have to be complicated or seem like magic. It can understandably seem that way because there’s often an abstraction between the end-user and what the processes are doing it. Imagine a contrived business with two locations: one on the East side of town and the other on the West. Each requires access to the same database. We’ll centrally locate that database, but in addition, we’ll centrally located the hard drives, backup mechanisms, processors and so forth. Each office can share these physical resources as well as virtual ones, and that will cut down on our costs considerably.

The Cloud Is More Expensive

Some perceive the cloud as being more expensive simply because it has to be. But it doesn’t. In fact, the return on investment that most businesses experience is a driving force behind the prevalence of cloud computing. A company that outsources its data backup pays a flat and predictable fee and no longer has to worry about investing in hardware or human assets.

The Cloud Is an Either-Or Proposition

There’s a persistent belief—particularly among some in the business world—that the cloud is an either-or proposition. You either embrace the cloud or you do not. However, this isn’t even practical, and all businesses will have both local and cloud-based assets. In fact, it’s even possible that a single process is distributed across multiple local and cloud servers.

The Cloud Is Less Secure

The cloud is no less secure than a local solution, and it can be more secure due to resource pooling. Most service providers adhere to even higher standards than the businesses and people they serve. Even if snooping—however unlikely—is a concern, encryption and other techniques can be used to ensure that the data is no less protected than it would be at a local facility.

The Cloud Is Unreliable

A common fear is that the cloud may be unreliable. Should it go down, what would we do? But “going down” isn’t a significant risk. Most cloud providers have so many redundancies in place that should one aspect fail, another is immediately brought online to fill that role.

The Cloud Is Only for Data Backup

Many people’s introduction to the cloud was through their smartphones. Whether its Apple or Android, phones automatically sync photos, contacts, settings and much more. Many people also use Dropbox or OneDrive, which are backup and sharing services that can be accessed across phones, tablets, PCs and more. It’s understandable why this perception came about, but the cloud is actually about sharing resources and that can even mean having a math problem solved remotely and only the result returned.

The Cloud Guarantees Productivity and Cost Benefits

The cloud is a tool. Simplify shifting all processes to the cloud won’t necessarily cut expenses or make them more productive. It depends. Some processes may always be more feasible when facilitated locally. Each company has to assess its various processes and determine what the advantages and disadvantages of a cloud-based approach will be for it both in the short- and long-term.

The Cloud Can Deliver a Personal Computer Experience

The cloud cannot yet deliver a PC-like experience. It will someday, but we’re not there yet. The cloud is at its best when the user doesn’t notice the additional time an action takes. If you take a set-it-and-forget approach to backing up your photos, it really doesn’t matter that it takes 15 seconds rather than several. On the other hand, if your playing a competitive video game online, then those additional seconds that can lead to frame drops and input lag matter a great deal.

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