Though there is some debate over its origins and inventor, there’s no denying the extraordinary impact cloud technology has had on the way we do business. Companies of all sizes, across all industries, leverage its capabilities daily, to reach global markets, increase efficiency and reduce costs.
Yet despite its popularity, many business owners are unaware of the wide range of cloud options available, or indeed, whether their current cloud strategy is the best one for their business.
The primary benefits of a cloud-based system are threefold:
- Scalability – the capacity to expand or contract the size and type of services quickly according to need
- High uptime – constant monitoring, maintenance and sophisticated security minimise loss of service
- Cost efficiency – users only pay for the level of service they need at a given time
In contrast, key concerns about cloud-based systems include:
- Data sovereignty – data stored offshore is subject to the laws of that location, which may differ from those of the business and potentially expose privacy risks
- Control – sensitive information stored outside the confines of the company’s own systems creates uncertainty and a sense of vulnerability
- Customisation – shared systems have limited scope for tailoring to specific needs
Knowing your perspective on each of these key points is a great place to start when deciding which of the three cloud types – public, private and hybrid – will best meet your needs. Let’s look at each type in a little more detail:
Probably the best known type of cloud service, the public cloud is exactly as the name suggests: a service available to the general public, either on a pay per use or subscription basis. Hosted by a third party provider, it offers the convenience of high scalability and reliability, frequent improvements and new features, and needs little or no maintenance and management by the user.
These systems are great if uptime, accessibility and cost efficiency are a priority, and you don’t require high level customisation or to safeguard sensitive information. Some of the more familiar products available in the public cloud include Microsoft Azure and Amazon AWS.
Businesses in highly specialised industries, or that require top level control over system design and security may opt for a private cloud service. These are built on infrastructure you own which, depending on the provider and product, can be stored at your site or remotely and are only accessible to your company.
A private cloud enables you to fully customise the system to suit your precise requirements, providing superior quality and flexibility. Like the public cloud, it also enjoys high scalability and availability, but as with many bespoke product or services it can also be considerably more expensive than a public service as the overall cost is borne by one rather than multiple tenants.
Sometimes the best solution is to leverage the advantages of both cloud types. Hybrid cloud is a service which combines the flexibility, economy and scalability of the public cloud with the security, privacy and customisability of a private cloud.
This suits a range of scenarios, including companies that:
- Need to migrate gradually from legacy systems
- Have both low security and highly sensitivity data and applications
- Need flexibility to manage periods of peak demand
- Operate highly latency sensitive applications
- Need to balance innovation with compliance and cost efficiency4
As you can see, there are many things to consider when looking for your ideal cloud solution, and the benefits of cloud services can be enticing. But before you jump into any new system, it’s essential to thoroughly assess your current situation. This includes mapping out your existing network, determining your company’s approach to digital transformation and seeking the advice of a cloud services expert, so you can be sure of making the best changes for your long-term future. Like any core business function, technology implemented with good planning and a measured approach greatly increases your chances of success.
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 email@example.com for more information.