As e-commerce businesses have increased over the last several years, so has the demand they have to store data. Initially, the only option available to them was to store it in-house on the company’s own server. In recent years, another option, called cloud hosting, has become very popular. There are several advantages to using this type of system, though there are also some issues associated with it.
Advantages of Cloud Hosting
- Scalability – One of the most difficult aspects for a business owner to plan for is growth in the long term. Cloud hosting can make this simple and inexpensive. It can be done on demand without requiring the company to buy any new equipment. A business can buy into a basic package and then request more space as needed. Should something happen and less space is needed, that can also be arranged.
- Efficiency – Employees won’t have to waste time checking for software upgrades because these are handled automatically by the cloud host. In addition, the system can be accessed from anywhere as long as there is an Internet connection, enabling workers to travel if necessary without losing the ability to access the information. Cloud systems work between devices, so employees can use tablets or smart phones as well as computers.
- Reliability – Disaster cannot be avoided, but with cloud hosting the damage can be greatly minimized because the data is stored in protected servers in another location. If something happens to the equipment in the office, the business can be up and running again in very little time.
- Security – A company’s data is kept secure before, during and after transmission through encryption methods employed by the host provider. This can also be reassuring to customers of the e-business who may be reluctant to share their own personal information with the company.
Disavantages of Cloud Hosting
- Expense – While cloud hosting can allow business owners to better plan for future growth and may save money on equipment purchases, it leaves the company at the mercy of the host provider. Since cloud hosting can be profitable for them, it leaves clients at the mercy of the service provider. Upper levels of service can be quite expensive.
- Loss of control – Some cloud hosts claim at least some right to the data they store. While encryption can keep the information safe from others, the cloud provider may find a use for it that might be detrimental to the business. It is essential for business owners to carefully read the terms and conditions before signing up to a service.
- Internet dependent – Because accessing a cloud host requires an Internet connection, if that connection is lost, even temporarily, it can have a huge negative impact on the business.
Cloud hosting can be a big advantage for an e-commerce business by providing an easy, reliable and secure way to store data. Before deciding on a cloud host, an owner should weigh the potential consequences associated with the system and research the services offered by different providers.
Written by Lucy Matthews on behalf of OnlineStorage.net, a site that provides online backup reviews and tips on choosing a cloud storage provider.