For years, companies such as eBay, Amazon and Google have used cloud computing to bring easy-to-use services to consumers by offering a fundamentally faster, less risky, and more cost-effective alternative to on-premises hardware and software. From computing power to computing infrastructure, alongside applications, business processes and personal collaboration — they can all be delivered to you as a service wherever and whenever you need.
The “cloud” in cloud computing can be defined as the set of hardware, networks, storage, services, and interfaces that combine to deliver aspects of computing as a service. Cloud services include the delivery of software, infrastructure, and storage over the Internet (either as separate components or a complete platform) based on user demand.
While cloud computing is undoubtedly beneficial it is not without its cons. I now bring you a list of advantages and disadvantages of cloud computing, with a view to helping hospitality professionals get a simple understanding of the concept of cloud computing.
Let’s acknowledge the benefits of cloud computing first:
- No More old: Say ‘Goodbye’ to costly traditional brick and mortar Point of Sale systems: Cloud computing enables hospitality professionals to enjoy minimal dollar expenditure in the areas of software licenses, professional services, software licenses, and on site hardware support contracts as well as less expensive hardware requirements.
- Cloud computing applications: They offer a lower total cost of ownership. Applications do not need large capital investments for support infrastructure or licenses.
- Quick Deployment: Cloud computing gives you the advantage of quick deployment of new versions of software and or updates and upgrades without the need of on site expensive technical installation and support.
- Access from many options: Another advantage of cloud computing is accessing the Point of Sale back office environment of cloud natively, through other amazing options such as smart phones, tablets, IPad and netbooks any place any where.
- Lowers traditional servers’ cost: Cloud for business removes the huge costs of on site computer costs. No more extra costs associated with upgrading and increasing memory, hard drive space and processing power, operating system upgrades all are all abolished.
- Data Centralization: Another key benefit of cloud services is the centralized data. The information for multiple locations and and different concepts are stored in one location that can be accessed from remote places without the need of any specialized software, simply log into your web browser.
- Data Recovery: Cloud computing providers enables automatic data backup on the cloud system. The recovery of data when a hard drive crash is either not possible or may cost a huge amount of dollars or wastage of valuable time.
- Security: Cloud service vendors chooses only the highest secure data centers for your information. Moreover, for sensitive information in the cloud there are proper auditing, passwords, and encryptions.
- Instantly Test: Various tools employed in cloud computing permits you to test a new product, application, feature, upgrade or load instantly. The infrastructure is quickly available with flexibility and scalability of distributed testing environment.
Now let’s check out the disadvantages of cloud computing as well:
- Network Connection: For cloud computing, a solid and fast internet connection is a must to access your precious data, without an internet connection the connection is severed and most Point of Sale systems will need to run in offline mode and store data locally until such time a connection to the internet can be restored and the data uploaded.
- Internet Connectivity: Running all or some of your business applications in the cloud is great, as long as you can maintain a consistent Internet connection. If any one of your cloud-based service providers loses connectivity, or if your ISP experiences an outage, you’re out of business until that Internet connection returns. Even the best servers go down occasionally, so if you decide to use this method, it’s important to implement a disaster backup plan.
- Network Architecture: You need to purchase commercial grade hardware. Do not implement low-grade hardware. App performance could suffer. Not installing a private wifi cloud network that is not optimized will lead to poor performance and latency issues. Never use a public cloud.
- Data Ownership: You need to ensure you can back up your reports and data locally for historical purposes such as audits. Back ups should be in the form of Excel or PDF and or CSV files keeping things simple.
- Low Bandwidth: With a low bandwidth network, the benefits of Cloud computing cannot be utilized. Sometimes even a high bandwidth connection can lead to poor quality performance due to high latency and limited bandwidth.
- Network Traffic Quality: The internet is used for various reasons such as listening to music, watching videos online, downloading and uploading files, printing from the cloud and the list goes on. The quality of Cloud computing connection can get affected when a lot of people utilize the net at the same time.
- Security Issues: Of course, cloud computing keeps your data secure. But for maintaining complete security, an IT consulting firm’s assistance and advice is important. If you don’t take steps the business can become vulnerable to hackers and threats.
- Non-negotiable agreements: Some cloud computing vendors have non-negotiable contracts for the companies. It can be disadvantageous for a lot of businesses.
To conclude, there are pros and cons of the cloud but cloud computing has become a mandatory part of every business venture. Today, one cannot think without enjoying the benefits of cloud computing. With careful precautions and efforts the disadvantages of cloud computing can be minimized. It’s true that cloud computing has rocked the business world. In my humble opinion the pros outweigh the cons. The minimized costs, easy access, data backup, data centralization, sharing capabilities, security, free storage and quick testing speaks for itself. If you can overcome the list of cons, the rest of the process should go on smoothly, thereby providing immense benefits for your operation.