Should Your Business Documents Be Operating in the Cloud?

Steve Breault, President & Founder, Vircosoft

In traditional model of an office structure, organizations generally allocate material, human and technology for taking care of the documents of the organization or the office. Most of these resources are tied down on tasks to deploy, configure, maintain and upgrade the documents of the organization, which usually does not provide much added value in the output. The idea of a paperless office has always been an attractive one and has drawn many business owners towards implementing it in their businesses. In the recent times, Cloud Computing has made many businessmen realize the idea of a paperless office. Cloud computing is a paradigm that provides computing services via the Internet.

Here are a few advantages and disadvantages of letting your business documents operate on the Cloud:
Advantages:

1. Little or no provisioning costs.
It is the most attractive advantage presented by cloud computing, and if not the most attractive at least the most obvious advantage of this technology. By leaving the responsibility of document viewing on the document viewing platform provided by the infrastructure provider, the client does not have to worry about buying computer equipment, training personnel for the setup and maintenance of the server.

2. Availability.
With the business documents being on the cloud, the supplier is obliged to ensure that the service is always available to the client. Hence this translates into the documents being always accessible to the client.

3. Access from any location.
Applications designed on the paradigm of cloud computing can be accessed from any computer equipment in the world that is connected to the Internet. Access is usually done through a web browser, which enables the application to be used not only from a desktop computer or a laptop but goes even beyond, allowing the user to use the application even from mobile devices such as smartphones.

As a result of the aforementioned advantages, the business owner can focus more on other aspects of business requirements that have a direct impact on the business processes rather than managing piles of files and cupboards full of old records.

Disadvantages:
1. Privacy.
One major drawback generated by this technology is of data insecurity. With your business documents being on the cloud, small loophole or a technical glitch can result in big disasters like the confidential information and trade secrets being revealed to competitors.
2. Availability.
While it is true that the availability is an advantage, it remains solely so till the time the service provider maintains the system properly. In the event of a system failure, all your documents go unavailable till the time system is restored.
3. Lack of control over resources.
By having all the infrastructure and even the documents on the servers located in the cloud, the client completely lacks control over resources and even on his own information once it is uploaded to the cloud.
4. Dependency.
In a solution based on cloud computing, the client becomes dependent not only on the service provider, but also on the internet connection because the user must be permanently connected to the internet to access that is in the cloud.
5. Integration.
It might not always be easy to upload and access all your documents on the cloud. One must do a thorough study of the feasibility of such a venture being undertaken before going for it.
It is anybody’s guess that if used with caution and care, business documents of cloud can actually make a paperless office an appealing business prospect. However, these pros and cons of doing so need to be kept in mind in order to be able to best utilize the service.

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