Perhaps you've seen an advertisement for a tech company pitching this radical new trend in computing called The Cloud. To describe the cloud in a nutshell, it is the general availability of computing resources being sold as a service over the internet. There are several advantages and disadvantages in using the cloud for your business, and to keep them all straight we've listed the top pros and cons of using cloud based services within your environment.
Paying for Usage vs. Owning the Equipment
Most cloud services only charge you for what you use. Since the cloud vendor will take care of all upgrades, guarantees you a 99.99% service level agreement, and performs much of the backend maintenance, this model of utilizing computing services is becoming more attractive to businesses that are just starting out. Businesses can utilize world class software and services without having to come up with an upfront investment to buy infrastructure and to pay a crew to maintain it.
When you buy hardware and host it on site, you're making a commitment to your organization. Most of your services will be maintained by your internal IT support team, therefore your team will be tasked with maintaining the integrity of your system. Think about the services you will have to maintain for your organization. They could include:
- Email Servers
- File Servers
- Help Desk Portals
- Remote Access Services
- HR Systems
- CRM Software
When your business begins to expand, you'll need to build out an infrastructure for each and every one of these services. You could get a beefy server and run Hyper-V or VMware on top of it as a hypervisor, and then divvy out these services to your end users. That takes IT manpower, expertise, and a deep understanding of each platform you desire to pursue. Not every organization has a talented IT wizard on their staff.
For some organizations, it makes sense to invest into building out private infrastructures. If your business hosts confidential data, you may not feel comfortable putting your data in the hands of another firm, regardless of the amount of encryption said to be involved with the housing of the data.
The Upsides of Cloud for Your Business
Cloud is attractive for startups because they can start small and build bigger as your business picks up new clients. When you build out using the cloud, costs can be accurately determined because many cloud based services bill you on a per-user, per-month basis.
Think about a commonly used cloud service such as Office 365 which provides your users with 1TB of OneDrive storage space, and collaboration services through Office Online for as little as $9.99 per-user, per-month. These tools can be instantly provisioned and your organization can be able to rapidly utilize any of the technology resources it needs to help further accelerate the business.
The Downsides of Cloud for Your Business
The downsides of cloud are obvious. Another organization is housing your data and you are relying on them to uphold the promises in their service level agreement. What if this cloud service gets hacked? What if this cloud service has unexpected downtime?
What if an unexpected bug is found that has allowed your data to be exposed to the outside world. What if your site loses internet connection while your cloud provider is still operating fine? Your organization won't be able to access its data while the cloud service provider is well within its SLA. The biggest downside for the cloud remains to be the "What if" factor.
Mitigating the "What If" Factor of Cloud
In order to mitigate the downsides and determine if the cloud is right for your business, you will want to figure out which data can be kept in the cloud and what data should be kept onsite. You can create a secure site-to-site VPN tunnel between your office and the cloud services you utilize. This setup is referred to as a hybrid cloud.
Organizations of all sizes are choosing hybrid cloud workloads as a way to offload many of their technical services in efforts to become lean on the IT and infrastructure aspect of doing business. When your business can focus on sales, the business can grow in revenue without having to burn capital on IT resources. Many believe that the cloud model of delivering IT resources can give startups and small businesses a tremendous advantage against its competition as they begin to scale up their operations.
Still not sure if The Cloud is right for your business? Give us a call at (833) 482-6435 or schedule a consulation online. We can help you make the best choice for your business!