The Risks And Benefits Of Cloud Computing

Abby Shagin

Life is easier with your head in the clouds, right?  Perhaps.

But does the same hold true for your company’s data? Are there risks to implementing this progressive solution into your business?  The answer is yes.

Like most things in life, the benefits come with risks—it’s just a matter of knowing if the benefits outweigh the risks and vice versa.

Let’s take a look at some grounded facts about cloud computing to help you decide if you are ready to go up, up, and away.

Risk 1: Network Dependency

Cloud computing is dependent on the internet. The most basic drawback of cloud computing is that you need internet connection to access the cloud and this direct tie to the internet means that this system is prone to outages and service interruptions at any time. This could occur in the middle of a task or transaction, meaning the action could be delayed or lost entirely if time sensitive.

Benefit 1: Flexibility

Network Dependency may mean dependency to the internet, but it means independence from the office. Employees are now more able to access data from servers outside the office and not hard-wired in-house servers—creating a more flexible and mobile work lifestyle for organizations.

Not only does cloud computing provide flexibility for workers, it provides flexibility in implementing   changes and new technologies without high risk and cost. Because organizations aren’t bound to a hard-wired IT infrastructure that cost billions to create in the first place, the have room to experiment and change things with the ability to just as easily revert back to their original system if things do not work out.

Risk 2: Difficulty in creating hybrid systems

This pertains especially to those organizations that hold sensitive information. Organizations like government offices and financial institutions usually have their own IT services and will not take their data offsite despite the benefits of efficiency and performance. There really are no current industry standardized forms that come apply to all systems when it comes to connecting to new cloud systems. With legacy systems, compatibility with a public cloud structure would need some IT magic and some hardware tweaks. And with a legacy system run organization it’s likely they will not part with these tried and systems.

Benefit 2: Cost Reduction and Increased Efficiency

The low barrier of entry and the pay-per-use model offered by cloud computing makes it very versatile. It is scalable for large corporations and affordable for small ones. Since a massive amount of resources is not needed for everyone, they can be leased to other clients, and the cost can be divided among those clients. A cloud provider can offer an infinite amount of resources to many users. Because of reduced cost and time, organizations can focus efforts elsewhere and be more efficient.

Risk 3: Centralization

Organizations usually outsource data and application services to a centralized provider. In cloud computing, we know that network dependency is a drawback due to outages. Centralized data can certainly add another risk to cloud computing: If the provider’s service goes down, all clients are affected.

Benefit 3: Reliability

While internet connectivity and the provider itself being subject to outages is a scary fact of the nature of cloud computing, there is still more reliability in comparison to in-house systems because of the economies of scale. The vendor is more able to give 24/7 technical support and highly trained experienced staff to support the infrastructure at its best condition, and the benefits will reach all their clients. Compare this to each organization having a team of on-site IT people with varied skill set.

Risk 4: Data Integrity/Security

There is already a huge risk with data hosted in-house, so it’s no secret that data offsite sits at even higher risk. With Data offsite, more avenues for attack and the fact that it will be traveling more makes it easier to be intercepted. With technology always improving, there are ways to make sure of better encryption. However with technology always improving, there are always people out there improving their hacking skills.

Benefit  4: Security Gains

Yes, there are security risks with cloud computing. But as mentioned above, the traditional, in-house data storage system comes with risks as well. The gain here lies within smaller, newer companies with low-budget for implementing security systems and less know-how about security technology. The cloud provider already provides the hardware and knowledge for the most current security measures.

It is evident that implementing a new data system comes with serious risks to consider, but it is also clear that the benefits of cloud computing can be factors that help business grow—especially smaller ones.

Like anything it is important to plan implementation properly and consider all areas that will be affected. Vendors can certainly aid in doing this.

For more information, see the full Cloud Tweaks article.


About Abby Shagin

Hi, I'm Abby. I graduated in 2011 from Drexel University with a B.S. in Film Production and a minor in Fine Arts. I work at SAP on the Value University team. My main responsibilities include the production of training and e-learning content through graphics, photography, and video mediums. My passion here at SAP is bringing story to the way we educate. I believe that there is great impact in sharing stories--whether that be here at SAP or throughout the whole world.

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13 Scary Statistics On Employee Engagement [INFOGRAPHIC]

Jacob Shriar

There is a serious problem with the way we work.

Most employees are disengaged and not passionate about the work they do. This is costing companies a ton of money in lost productivity, absenteeism, and turnover. It’s also harmful to employees, because they’re more stressed out than ever.

The thing that bothers me the most about it, is that it’s all so easy to fix. I can’t figure out why managers aren’t more proactive about this. Besides the human element of caring for our employees, it’s costing them money, so they should care more about fixing it. Something as simple as saying thank you to your employees can have a huge effect on their engagement, not to mention it’s good for your level of happiness.

The infographic that we put together has some pretty shocking statistics in it, but there are a few common themes. Employees feel overworked, overwhelmed, and they don’t like what they do. Companies are noticing it, with 75% of them saying they can’t attract the right talent, and 83% of them feeling that their employer brand isn’t compelling. Companies that want to fix this need to be smart, and patient. This doesn’t happen overnight, but like I mentioned, it’s easy to do. Being patient might be the hardest thing for companies, and I understand how frustrating it can be not to see results right away, but it’s important that you invest in this, because the ROI of employee engagement is huge.

Here are 4 simple (and free) things you can do to get that passion back into employees. These are all based on research from Deloitte.

1.  Encourage side projects

Employees feel overworked and underappreciated, so as leaders, we need to stop overloading them to the point where they can’t handle the workload. Let them explore their own passions and interests, and work on side projects. Ideally, they wouldn’t have to be related to the company, but if you’re worried about them wasting time, you can set that boundary that it has to be related to the company. What this does, is give them autonomy, and let them improve on their skills (mastery), two of the biggest motivators for work.

Employees feel overworked and underappreciated, so as leaders, we need to stop overloading them to the point where they can’t handle the workload.

2.  Encourage workers to engage with customers

At Wistia, a video hosting company, they make everyone in the company do customer support during their onboarding, and they often rotate people into customer support. When I asked Chris, their CEO, why they do this, he mentioned to me that it’s so every single person in the company understands how their customers are using their product. What pains they’re having, what they like about it, it gets everyone on the same page. It keeps all employees in the loop, and can really motivate you to work when you’re talking directly with customers.

3.  Encourage workers to work cross-functionally

Both Apple and Google have created common areas in their offices, specifically and strategically located, so that different workers that don’t normally interact with each other can have a chance to chat.

This isn’t a coincidence. It’s meant for that collaborative learning, and building those relationships with your colleagues.

4.  Encourage networking in their industry

This is similar to number 2 on the list, but it’s important for employees to grow and learn more about what they do. It helps them build that passion for their industry. It’s important to go to networking events, and encourage your employees to participate in these things. Websites like Eventbrite or Meetup have lots of great resources, and most of the events on there are free.

13 Disturbing Facts About Employee Engagement [Infographic]

What do you do to increase employee engagement? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Did you like today’s post? If so you’ll love our frequent newsletter! Sign up here and receive The Switch and Shift Change Playbook, by Shawn Murphy, as our thanks to you!

This infographic was crafted with love by Officevibe, the employee survey tool that helps companies improve their corporate wellness, and have a better organizational culture.


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Supply Chain Fraud: The Threat from Within

Lindsey LaManna

Supply chain fraud – whether perpetrated by suppliers, subcontractors, employees, or some combination of those – can take many forms. Among the most common are:

  • Falsified labor
  • Inflated bills or expense accounts
  • Bribery and corruption
  • Phantom vendor accounts or invoices
  • Bid rigging
  • Grey markets (counterfeit or knockoff products)
  • Failure to meet specifications (resulting in substandard or dangerous goods)
  • Unauthorized disbursements

LSAP_Smart Supply Chains_graphics_briefook inside

Perhaps the most damaging sources of supply chain fraud are internal, especially collusion between an employee and a supplier. Such partnerships help fraudsters evade independent checks and other controls, enabling them to steal larger amounts. The median loss from fraud committed
by a single thief was US$80,000, according to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE).

Costs increase along with the number of perpetrators involved. Fraud involving two thieves had a median loss of US$200,000; fraud involving three people had a median loss of US$355,000; and fraud with four or more had a median loss of more than US$500,000, according to ACFE.

Build a culture to fight fraud

The most effective method to fight internal supply chain theft is to create a culture dedicated to fighting it. Here are a few ways to do it:

  • Make sure the board and C-level executives understand the critical nature of the supply chain and the risk of fraud throughout the procurement lifecycle.
  • Market the organization’s supply chain policies internally and among contractors.
  • Institute policies that prohibit conflicts of interest, and cross-check employee and supplier data to uncover potential conflicts.
  • Define the rules for accepting gifts from suppliers and insist that all gifts be documented.
  • Require two employees to sign off on any proposed changes to suppliers.
  • Watch for staff defections to suppliers, and pay close attention to any supplier that has recently poached an employee.

About Lindsey LaManna

Lindsey LaManna is Social and Reporting Manager for the Digitalist Magazine by SAP Global Marketing. Follow @LindseyLaManna on Twitter, on LinkedIn or Google+.


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Innovation Without Boundaries: Why The Cloud Matters

Michael Haws

Is it possible to innovate without boundaries?

Of course – if you are using the cloud. An actual cloud doesn’t have any boundaries. It’s fluid. But more important, it can provide the much-needed precipitation that brings nature to life. So it is with cloud technology – but it’s your ideas that can grow and transform your business.USA --- Clouds, Heaven --- Image by © Ocean/Corbis

Running your business in the cloud is no longer just a consideration during a typical use-case exercise. Business executives are now faced with making decisions on solutions that go beyond previous limitations with cloud computing. Selecting the latest tools to address a business process gap is now less about features and more about functionality.

It doesn’t matter whether your organization is experienced with cloud solutions or new to the concept. Cloud technology is quickly becoming a core part of addressing the needs of a growing business.

5 considerations when planning your journey to the cloud

How can your organization define its successful path to the cloud? Here are five things you should consider when investigating whether a move to the cloud is right for you.

1. Understanding the cloud is great, but putting it into action is another thing.

For most CIOs, putting a cloud strategy on paper is new territory. Cloud computing is taking on new realms: Pure managed services to software-as-a-service (SaaS). Just as legacy computing had different flavors, so does cloud technology.

2. There is more than one way to innovate in the cloud.

Alignment with an open cloud reference architecture can help your CIO deliver on the promises of the cloud while using a stair-step approach to cloud adoption – from on-premise to hybrid to full cloud computing. Some companies find their own path by constantly reevaluating their needs and shifting their focus when necessary – making the move from running a data center to delivering real value to stakeholders, for example.

3. The cloud can help accelerate processes and lower cost.

By recognizing unprecedented growth, your organization can embark on a path to significant transformation that powers greater agility and competitiveness. Choose a solution set that best meets your needs, and implement and support it moving forward. By leveraging the cloud to support the chosen solution, ongoing maintenance, training, and system issues becomes the cloud provider’s responsibility. And for you, this offers the freedom to focus on the core business.

4. You can lock down your infrastructure and ensure more efficient processes.

Do you use a traditional reporting engine against a large relational database to generate a sequential batched report to close your books at quarter’s end? If so, you’re not alone. Sure, a new solution with new technology may be an obvious improvement. But how valuable to your board will you become when you reduce the financial closing process by 1–3 days? That’s the beauty of the cloud: You can accelerate the deployment of your chosen solution and realize ROI quickly – even before the next full reporting period.

5. The cloud opens the door to new opportunity in a secure environment.

For many companies, moving to the cloud may seem impossible due to the time and effort needed to train workers and hire resources with the right skill sets. Plus, if you are a startup in a rural location, it may not be as easy to attract the right talent as it is for your Silicon Valley counterparts. The cloud allows your business to secure your infrastructure as well as recruit and onboard those hard-to-find resources by applying a managed services contract to run your cloud model

The cloud means many things to different people. What’s your path?

With SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud service, you can navigate the best path to building, running, and operating your own cloud when running critical business processes. Find out how SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud can deliver the speed and resources necessary to quickly validate and realize solid ROI.

Check out the video below or visit us at

Connect with us on Twitter: @SAPServices



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The Importance Of Leadership On Employee Engagement [INFOGRAPHIC]

Charmian Solter

Here at Switch & Shift we strive to illuminate effective leadership practices. We pride ourselves on creating cutting-edge solutions for employee engagement, communication, and creating company culture, to name a few.

Why are these topics so important? Well, according to The Importance of Employee Engagement infographic by NBRI, courtesy of Brandon Gaille, if leadership doesn’t step up and affect change and build trust and engagement, their employees will be busy doing anything but work while on the job! This infographic says it all.


For more on developing more engaged, loyal, and productive workers, see How Empowering Employees Creates a More Engaged Workforce.


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