Small businesses thinking about a move to the cloud need to consider many factors. A CEO should study these factors to obtain a good understanding of the benefits and which type of solution is best for them.
There are three basic types of cloud computing options:
This is a cloud computing environment owned and operated by a business. Access to data stored in the cloud is available to users who are given access. This allows a business to oversee all aspects of the infrastructure.
However, maintenance and management is done in-house and storage is based on available capacity. Additional hardware needs to be installed if extra capacity is needed. If this is not the best choice, then another option is an outsourced cloud.
Virtual Private Cloud
A virtual private cloud is a managed cloud similar to the public option. A business contracts with a cloud provider who will maintain the infrastructure and necessary updates. The data in the cloud will be kept secure on a dedicated server or on a shared server. Many providers of cloud services have multiple clients or businesses using the same server.
This is a service available from many online providers. Businesses will have little idea about the infrastructure being used and what happens behind the scenes. The downside to the public cloud is that businesses are limited to the terms of service of the provider. However, it is scalable, allowing a business to increase and decrease resources as needed.
With that in mind, let’s look at some of the basic benefits to cloud services:
Businesses that maintain an in-house IT staff or have a centralized server will have costs much higher than those using a cloud service. One reason for increased costs is the management needed for the infrastructure. This includes a file server, web hosting, and an email system. The costs for maintaining in-house infrastructure can cost thousands of dollars a month.
A move from in-house infrastructure to cloud computing will significantly lower expenditures. One benefit of a public cloud solution is the use of apps that can be installed on smartphones and tablet computers.
Cloud computing is often characterized as software-as-a-service. This means greater flexibility when new hardware or software is available. Providers of cloud services are constantly upgrading equipment and software to stay up to date with changing technology. Businesses that have enterprise systems will find that upgrading their equipment or switching to a new system is prohibitively expensive. Cloud services need to constantly upgrade to be competitive.
Security and Reliability
Cloud Computing service providers and SaaS companies invest heavily in security to attract business. The use of an advanced firewall and other security features mean that reliable security is assured. This does not mean that data stored in the cloud will be 100 percent secure. However, it’s typically more secure than data on in-house servers.