The Two Faces of Cloud Computing: Endpoint Security and a Light Load

cloudIn an effort to streamline their operations and reduce costs, many businesses have turned to cloud computing. The term cloud computing refers to the process of using remote servers and data centers to store the hardware and software necessary to run your business. The data stored on these remote systems are then delivered to your users through an online network.

There are three different types of cloud computing services commonly used by businesses today:

Infrastructure as a service – This cloud computing service allows businesses to eliminate infrastructure such as servers, network equipment, and data storage space. Instead, the vendor provides these services in a virtual environment.

Platform as a service – In this category, your vendor provides and manages all services necessary to run your in-house platforms. This may include operating systems, web servers, and databases.

Software as a Service – With this service, your software applications are stored, run, and managed on the cloud. This eliminates the need to install and run these software applications on your users’ computers, and it reduces the expenses associated with purchasing software licenses.

When deciding whether to implement cloud computing with your business, it is important to weigh the pros and cons of keeping your hardware and software on site vs. storing it on the cloud.

Advantages: A Lighter Load

The primary advantage of cloud computing is that your business literally becomes lighter. You no longer have to store and maintain cumbersome infrastructure such as servers and hard drives on site. Instead, the vendor providing you with cloud computing services handles this task.

There are several benefits associated with this lighter load, including:

Cost efficiency –  By using cloud-computing services, you can eliminate the expenses associated with purchasing and storing servers. You will save a significant amount of money on power costs, especially those associated with keeping your servers cool. You can also save money on licensing fees and reduce overhead associated with data storage costs and software updates. This will result in tremendous savings to your overall IT expenses.

Reliable storage –  The process of backing up and recovering data is much simpler on the cloud compared to when this data is stored on a physical device. Most cloud providers offer very reliable backup and recovery solutions in the event that your data gets wiped out, increasing the likelihood that it will be restored quickly and with minimal hassle.

Scalability – Cloud computing services are set up in a manner that allows you to only pay for the applications and data storage that you need. Since your services are scaled to meet the changing demands of your company, you can always add extra server space as your business grows over time.

Increased storage capacity – The cloud can store much more data than your in-house physical servers. This eliminates concerns over storage issues and the need to continually upgrade computer hardware.

Accessibility – Cloud computing services can be accessed by just about any device that can connect to the Internet. This allows your users to access data and applications on smaller devices such as tablets, smartphones, and laptops as well as with traditional desktop PCs. As a result, you can allow your employees to use their own mobile devices at the workplace, reducing your overhead. In addition, cloud computing makes telecommuting easier since this data can be accessed from anywhere.

Drawbacks: Endpoint Security Issues

The biggest downside to cloud computing is that you increase the number of endpoints, or vulnerabilities, when you migrate all of your data to an Internet habitat. There are several ways in which security might be an issue with cloud computing:

  • You must trust your vendor with information that is often sensitive or confidential. Violation of this trust can place your business in jeopardy. Therefore, it is important to      carefully research all potential vendors to ensure you choose your cloud computing service wisely.
  • When storing data on the cloud, you must be able to trust that your vendor will prevent unauthorized users from accessing your data. Again, do your research.
  • When you store your data on the cloud, this information is much more vulnerable to access by hackers. Regardless of how reputable your vendor is, this vulnerability to hackers will always remain a concern.

Due to these security risks, it is crucial that you protect your business’ cloud data. There are several cloud-based security protection services available that will help you mitigate these vulnerabilities. These services can give you peace of mind when shifting to a cloud computing system.

Do the Benefits Outweigh the Risks?

Ultimately, you must decide whether these benefits outweigh the security risks before moving your business to the cloud. In most cases the advantages associated with a lighter load are significant enough to warrant the inherent risks. When successful, transitioning to a cloud computing system offers you an improved IT capacity that allows your in-house IT team to focus on more strategic initiatives.

As the use of cloud computing grows over the next few years, the services offered should become more fine-tuned and efficient, providing additional benefits beyond what can be experienced today.

Andrew Martin works with Webroot and is a professional writer with over five years of experience writing copy for an inbound marketing firm in Golden, Colorado. You can learn more about his services by contacting

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