A Look at the Performance and Security of the Cloud

Part Two in an ongoing series about Cloud Technologies and their Advantages

As we started discussing in part one of our series, the cloud offers its users a variety of benefits that sometimes go unseen or unrecognized. We’ve already shared thoughts on the costs associated with the Cloud and differences between paid services and “free” services. Today we’re going to talk about how the cloud benefits customers from a performance and security standpoint.

Features, Function, & Performance

Originally, we used Adobe’s Creative Cloud as a prime case study of cloud based offerings, and the comparison will continue here. While every user of Adobe may not have updated their software every year in the past, there were always new features to be had that made it run faster, allowed users to do more than before, or helped them complete work faster.

In traditional software models users had to pay for a new version of the software in order to obtain the benefits of the updated release. In SaaS models, you generally receive the new features automatically as a function of being a paying customer on a month-to-month or year to year basis. This is important because as technology advances, the ability to do more with software and hardware advances as well.

On the software side, you might have something like a new feature in a web browser that enables faster performance or even new capabilities that weren’t available before. On the hardware side, products like the iPad have extended the reach and capabilities of software platforms that would’ve been locked to a single location or machine in the past. Rarely, if ever, do you have to pay for the use of a service’s mobile app on top of their webapp, resulting in added functionality and freedom built right into in the service’s subscription.

Using Adobe again as an example, their Lightroom mobile app is a great example of this. Included with your monthly subscription is a syncing feature that lets you seamlessly transfer images between a desktop and your mobile device. While the apps aren’t as full-featured as the computer version, they offer a surprising amount of functionality considering they work on a computer that fits in your pocket or small bag.

The ability to add features on the fly without needing to upgrade servers, apply patches or updates, or deal with downtime not only saves time and money, but also adds functionality to your existing product. If done correctly, it can also help improve the security of the system as well.

Security and Compliance

If done responsibly and correctly, the ability to release updates to software on the fly is a major advantage for the users of a SaaS. While there is risk of new bugs in any update to software, a company that performs the appropriate testing on their system is likely to minimize those risks.

Controlling a SaaS application’s infrastructure and running a single version of code allows the creators of software to maintain stability for more users much more efficiently. Additionally, they can release a patch for any security vulnerabilities or bug fixes as they happen with tools that are often proactively reporting on these areas of concern. This results in quicker fixes and ultimately a more secure environment.

In the compliance world, releases can often mean more work for those who use equipment or software in validated environments. Admittedly, regulations have not kept up with the changes in how modern software is created and deployed and this only complicates the process. But, I want to make the case that SaaS software is better for two reasons:

  1. As regulations change, your existing system can adapt to your changing needs quickly
  2. If there’s an issue (security or functionality), the developer can get release a remedy very quickly eliminating downtime in critical environments.

While the end user’s work required following an update may be a hinderance, the benefits they offer can often make any setback a worthwhile one. Ultimately, however, whether or not the benefits outweigh the cost is a decision that each customer must decide for themselves.

If you are a customer who is in a compliance heavy environment and have questions regarding the benefits of the cloud in your environment and how our customers handle some of the challenges, we’re here to guide you. Click here to learn more about what the cloud can do for you or call 630-543-3747 to learn more from one of our experts.