5 Disadvantages of Cloud Computing – Common Problems with the Cloud

5 Disadvantages of Cloud Computing – Common Problems with the Cloud

Cloud computing has been around since the early 2000s, and it is here to stay. With the ability to outsource processing power to cloud computing providers, it is now easier than ever for businesses to automate tasks and crunch numbers through the internet. Like it or not, cloud computing is here to stay, and the industry is projected to continuously grow as more technological advancements are made.

The benefits of Cloud Computing are a plenty, but despite all of the amazing feats that modern cloud-based services tend to achieve, there are still many drawbacks that prevent businesses from looking to fully transition to a cloud-based workflow. In this article, we will break down the disadvantages of cloud computing and discuss the caveats that come with outsourced processing power.

Don’t get us wrong: we love cloud computing! It has paved the way for great services such as Netflix, Spotify, and even Healthcare.gov. In fact, Amazon Web Services (AWS) has been regarded as the “most important piece of technology of this generation” by various news sources. Keep in mind when reading this article that we fully support cloud computing. We just want to make known the various problems that can stem from lack of proper execution.

The Disadvantages of Cloud Computing

#1: The Cost

While cloud services are becoming more and more affordable by the day, the cost of a server that is able to meet the demands of the average business adds up fast. Many cloud service providers only charge a few cents per hour of uptime, but the fees don’t stop there. Most companies will charge for bandwidth usage, instance fees (based on how many programs are running on the server), storage space, and processing utilization. This means that more intensive tasks that are performed on the server will drive up the hourly cost, resulting in hefty bills to pay off each month
Additionally, provided servers often come with multiple hardware options that determine the processing power of the server. These upgrades add an additional monthly flat-rate rental fee to the final cost, further driving up the bill. While these high-spec upgrades are completely optional, the cheapest servers usually don’t perform at a fraction of what some of the pricier options perform at.
Bottom Line: Cloud computing isn’t always cost effective. Hidden costs can drive up the hourly price of the rented server. Servers that perform well are expensive.

#2: Technical Issues

On the internet, anything can go wrong. This is also true for cloud computing. Since rented servers are in a remote location and are often locked down to the point where troubleshooting becomes a real chore, dealing with technical issues in the cloud is extremely tough; especially for lower-cost servers.

Let’s say, for instance, that external computers are having a hard time connecting to a cloud-based server because of improper configuration. Sometimes, a problem like this will require support from the service provider themselves, resulting in lost revenue and time wasted in a tech support queue.

Local computing, even if server based, results in much less of a hassle when regarding technical issues. Hardware malfunctions can be fixed on the spot, technicians have full access to every tweak-able parameter in the system, and businesses can choose any route they like to resolve any issues that may arise.

#3: Security Issues

When dealing with sensitive data, it is imperative that encryption and security protocols be closely observed. However, when dealing with the cloud, which is accessible by any computer at any time, security can become an issue.

Suppose a health clinic is using cloud computing to store and access medical records on a remote server. If a hacker were to find a loophole in the system and gain access to these sensitive medical documents, HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) would be deployed in a series of severe lawsuits which could single-handedly shut down an entire company.

Using high-level encryption can certainly thwart most hacking attempts, but as hackers begin to discover and deploy more and more complex methods of data interception, a single mishap can cost a company everything.

#4: Prone to downtime

As is the problem with any internet service, one of the biggest disadvantages of cloud computing is downtime. When running a business that requires crunching large numbers in a timely manner, downtime is unacceptable. For each second a server is down, a business could potentially lose thousands of dollars in potential revenue.

Cloud computing has improved over the years, and many services offer a 99.9% server uptime guarantee. However, in the rare instance of server downtime, productivity can come to a screeching halt, and potential revenue starts to disappear.

#5: Prone to Attack

Out of all of the disadvantages of cloud computing, cyber attacks are the highest threat. If a competitor or hacker decides to attack the data center hosting a company’s cloud server, every server in that data center has a possibility of going offline.
DDoS (Direct Denial of Service) attacks are very easy to launch. Just take a look at the attack that was launched over Christmas against Microsoft’s Xbox Live and Sony’s Playstation Network. For nearly a week straight, hackers were able to keep these two high-profile cloud services offline, resulting in millions of dollars of revenue lost and a public relations nightmare.
If hackers can press a button and minutes later boot prolific cloud computation services offline, what is preventing them from attacking any other service on the web?

Do the Disadvantages of Cloud Computing Outweigh the Benefits?

Absolutely not. No matter what method of service a company wishes to use, there will always be technical problems to worry about; it’s the nature of computing. Cloud computing is becoming safer each day, and this method of service will undoubtedly be used by a majority of companies in the future. What is important is that companies stay safe and follow strict security guidelines when dealing with cloud computing. The world wide web is filled with threats, but as long as security and technological support is in place, cloud computing will serve an imperative role in data processing in the years to come.

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