Cloud computing may have once seemed like a passing IT fad, but this technology has proven its worth and is here to stay. Cloud infrastructure is basically an outsourcing of computer programs. Using cloud computing, you can access software and applications from wherever you are, as long as you have an internet connection. The data, software, and applications are hosted by an outside party, in the cloud. This eliminates worry about things like storage and power, offering flexibility and control instead.
Cloud Computing Basics
Cloud computing generally doesn’t require a large upfront investment in hardware, nor will you need to spend a lot of time managing that hardware. Instead, you can get exactly the right type and size of computing resources you need to power your business. You can access as many resources as you need, and revise as you go. In a cloud computing environment, new IT resources are only a click away, which reduces the time it takes to make those resources available from weeks to minutes. With apps, add-ons and increased storage capabilities, you can personalize your cloud to something tailor-made for your business.
Public Cloud Services
Public clouds are owned and operated by third-party cloud service providers, who deliver their computing resources over the Internet. Google Drive is an example of a public cloud. With a public cloud, all hardware, software, and other supporting infrastructure is owned and managed by the cloud provider. You can access these services and manage your account using a web browser. This greatly enhances employee collaboration and efficiency, since cloud storage automatically syncs your documents across all devices when a change is made. This ensures that you always have the latest version of your work, and so do the people you share it with.
Private Cloud Provider
A private cloud refers to cloud resources exclusively used by a single business or organization. A private cloud can be physically on-site, located in the company’s datacenter. Some companies also pay third-party IT service providers to host their private cloud. A private cloud is consists of services and infrastructure maintained entirely on a private network.
Hybrid clouds combine public and private clouds, using integrated technology that allows data and applications to be shared between them. This cloud technology gives businesses greater flexibility, increased cost efficiency and the ability to grow without delay. No more worries about running out of space on your office hard drives or backup drives. Cloud-based storage can scale up instantly, whenever your growing business needs more storage space or room to grow. Using the hybrid cloud environment, your organization can easily store sensitive data on a private cloud, while retaining the ability to have more accessible data in a public cloud. This is why it’s the most utilized version of cloud computing, with most businesses using a combination.
A chief concern among cloud users is the security of their data. In a private cloud, your business is the only one accessing the cloud. But in a public cloud, there’s a massive number of users. As a general rule of thumb, when handling sensitive data you should always use on-site infrastructure or private cloud storage. You should also require authorizations for any changes made to your cloud, and control who can make such changes. If you manage sensitive data there should only be a very limited number of employees with access to that.
On-Site vs. Cloud
There’s been little evidence to show that the cloud is more or less secure than on-site infrastructure. In essence, your data is as secure as you make it. Don’t assume that you’re safe because no one would bother to hack your business data. In reality, many small businesses are vulnerable to online threats, making them the preferred targets of online hackers.The advantage of a cloud is that the service provider can close gaps quickly and has a large staff devoted to spotting vulnerabilities before anyone else does. Does your on-site IT service provider do the same? If not, it might be time to switch service providers.
Natural disasters, data breaches or accidents can destroy critical data if it’s stored solely on hard drives. In recent years, extreme weather events such as Hurricane Harvey put many small never re-opened their doors. Cloud storage and backup services can store regularly updated copies of your data and applications online, so they’re always safe, and can be restored after a disaster. Automated backup removes the risk of human error, creating greater security. In addition, many cloud backups save multiple versions of a document automatically, so you can easily go back to an earlier version. This allows for uninterrupted business continuity, even in the face of catastrophe.
How Cloud Computing Can Benefit Your Business
Say you’re a small accounting business of 6 employees who manage 30 clients. Even though that’s not a big business, that is a lot of sensitive personal and financial information. Your customers are counting on your IT capabilities to protect their information. A hybrid cloud would serve you well, allowing for private cloud services for sensitive data, and a public cloud for day-to-day operational information, templates, etc. Nearly every business model would benefit from some combination of on-site and cloud capabilities. Speaking to an IT professional can be very beneficial in tailoring an IT infrastructure to you specific business needs.
The Future of Your Business
Still not sure if cloud computing can help your business? Consider the following. Cloud-based communication, development, and financial applications help businesses acquire and manage information quickly and strategically. Need remote employees? The Cloud ensures that employees can access appropriate information from anywhere with an internet connection.
Contact Us to learn more about the benefits of cloud computing to your bottom line.