Cloud Computing – The Pros and Cons

Our clients ask us a lot of questions about cloud computing.

They read about how great it is, but are concerned about data safety.

To give you some background, cloud computing is basically the outsourcing of your IT services remotely over the internet. At the most basic level it means you putting your data on a third party server and accessing the software over the internet instead of on your individual computer or private server.

So is it a good idea? Only you can decide that, but here are a few of the pros and cons to help you make up your own mind.

Pros of cloud computing

Let’s start with the pros.

It does mean you can have access to all sorts of facilities that you may not have previously been able to afford because you don’t have to buy or maintain servers or company data storage facilities.

But it isn’t all about cost savings. Because data back-up is automatically stored on the cloud application it can save time too, not to mention the long-term flexibility it gives you in terms of storage and processing power.

Sounds great doesn’t it? Well, there are down sides too.

Cons of cloud computing

The main issues and risk with cloud computing relate to data protection and privacy.

As you already know, when handling personal data, you are subject to the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA). One of the Act’s protocols provides that all data must be kept safe.

The main issue here is that, potentially, when in the cloud your information could be stored overseas (and outside the EU), which triggers another protocol under the DPA, namely that data mustn’t be sent outside the EU unless that country has an adequate level of protection for the rights and freedoms of data subjects.

Basically, you must check to see where your data is stored and if overseas, you must ask for a list of countries where the data will be processed and what safeguards are in place.

Of course, not every cloud backup provider operates overseas. Our own cloud backup service has military encryption when transmitting data and the data is stored in 2 locations across London.

So the best advice we can give is make sure you do some digging to find out exactly how your data will be stored, where and how securely it will be transmitted.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.