In the last five years, cloud computing has grown from a relatively unknown force to the backbone of a huge deal of personal and business data, although this has lead to security concerns for some. For businesses, this becomes extra tricky, as the risks of loss of theft of clients’ personal data can break an organisation. With new protocols soon to be introduced by the European Commission, it’s important for EU businesses to think carefully about how to back up and who to trust with sensitive data.
While a concrete server is on the whole, a bigger initial investment, it’s easy to buy one and be prepared for the next few years. Conversely, cloud storage means paying extra fees as your storage needs increase, as well as the cost of a reliable, high-speed internet provider, without which your data becomes inaccessible.
LinkedIn advise that there may also be hidden costs when it comes to installing programmes on a cloud server, such as taking out additional licensing costs. While in-house programme licenses have a price tag attached, it is upfront and allows you to customise your server as necessary, with all the numbers known upfront.
Scale and Accessibility
Accessibility is a hugely important consideration for businesses today, with an increasingly mobile workforce relying on cloud servers to access documents and even use email and IM to get work done from home or remotely. This pro for cloud computing is a con for in-house data servers, which relies on a connection to that specific network to access anything. That said, at least documents are still accessible if there are any problems with an internet provider, allowing for increased accessibility for employees in this sense.
Latency problems are also reduced with in-house servers, so in this respect the data storage needs really depend on the mobility of your workforce.
Obviously the biggest and most contested point of cloud storage is that of accessibility – trusting a third party to store data for you is a big risk, especially when dealing with particularly sensitive information. Implementing multiple authentication methods across a whole cloud network, to cover all devices, can be costly and difficult.
Many companies, in dealing with sensitive financial or personal information, use multiple servers: a cloud server for some scales of information; and an in-house server to store particularly vulnerable details. The benefit of this is that this restricts access to a small number of people in the IT department, for utmost security.
While standardized security practices aren’t yet in use in the EU, it’s worth considering this multi-faceted approach.