Public Cloud: The Good, the Bad and the Untrue

Internationally speaking, Australian business is considered ahead of the curve in our adoption of commercial cloud services. ABS research indicates that since 2014, the number of businesses using this technology has more than doubled. In many cases, however, this adoption is only skin deep. So, what’s holding us back in leveraging the capability of this growing technology?

We’ve talked before about some of the big benefits of integrating cloud services into your business. Scalability, cost efficiency, high availability, and uptime are advantages that need no further explanation. But there are other less visible benefits. There are also a few myths and confusion around how the cloud – and in particular, public cloud – really works.

Few business owners would disagree that today, agility is the name of the game. Cloud-based services meet this need head-on: services are available on an as-needed basis, enabling companies to pivot and innovate easier and faster, whilst optimising expenditure and staff resources.

Companies that resist or limit the implementation of cloud-based services cite a range of reasons. These include:

  1. Having to learn and maintain new tools

As with anything new, it takes a little while to adapt and learn the technology, but the learning curve is not as steep as you might think. In reality, most of us have been using cloud services in one form or another for more than a decade. And the majority of cloud services providers are only too happy to provide support! Maintenance is also faster, cheaper and simpler; your service provider becomes your remote IT team, keeping software and hardware updated, your system secure and eliminating the need for big-ticket asset purchases.

Moving away from static IT systems and adopting a cloud mentality allows companies to progressively build efficiency and scalability into their business. It lays the foundation for easily adding micro-services: sometimes an extra module or app is all that’s needed to take your business to the next level.

It also enables you to leverage the benefits of multiple public clouds. Today’s companies have a growing and diverse range of needs which require specialist service providers – so whilst it’s possible to use just one, your business will benefit more from using several providers, each with a richer level of expertise.

  1. Concerns about data sovereignty

Many business owners are already embracing the global marketplace. However, when it comes to the security and integrity of their data some worry that placing it in the public cloud and in particular, offshore storage and management, means handing over a little too much control.

These concerns are largely unfounded, as public cloud vendors must adhere to strict compliance regulations. They also utilise leading edge security tools and personnel to guard against hackers and other threats the average IT team would struggle to stay ahead of. Yes, the threats exist – but putting your data in the hands of an expert gives your business the best protection available.

This is not to say all responsibility rests on the shoulders of your cloud services vendor: companies should familiarise themselves with the international compliance laws and regulations in any country that houses their data. However, by doing their homework on the cloud services vendor engaged and putting a clear Service Level Agreement in place, business owners can guard against any unexpected breaches. And with migration tools now making it far simpler to change public cloud providers, they needn’t feel locked in if circumstances change.

  1. Heavy reliance on internet connectivity and speed

Moving your business to the public cloud does place a high reliance on your internet service to handle the workload. However, there are several steps your in-house IT team or managed service provider can take to optimise your network – including data prioritisation and WAN management – to ensure everyone has access to the data they need when they need it.

You might also like to consider a hybrid cloud solution such as Windows Azure, whereby some data is stored in the cloud and some at your site.

Along with these technical considerations, it’s also vital to review your ISP (Internet Service Provider) and implement a Service Level Agreement (SLA) to ensure a smooth transition and certainty around speed and connectivity.

Australian businesses are already benefiting from some of the best-known attributes of cloud-based services including cost efficiency, scalability, high uptime and security. Yet many hold back from fully leveraging its capabilities, fearing a loss of control or opening the door to compliance and security breaches. Nothing could be further from the truth. The public cloud is not without its risks – but the same can be said for any area of internet-based technology! Success in Australia’s competitive marketplace demands a cloud mentality – so explore your options. Today’s cloud services providers offer a plethora of specialised, secure and flexible options designed to help you grow your business.

If change and meeting your customers’ needs is a constant, doing nothing isn’t an option. Be sure you are partnering with a company with the depth and breadth of expertise you require. Particularly one who can help you navigate end-to-end managed services, cloud, mobile and paperless office technology. GPK consultant, Ben Holian, is available for a no obligation discussion on how GPK can help you reduce operational costs, manage your IT footprint more effectively and create an exceptional experience for your customers. Contact: Phone 1300 000 475 or email for more information.

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