Everyone is talking about cloud computing these days and for good reason. The cloud is revolutionizing how computing power is generated and consumed. Long gone are the days where every piece of digital data is stored on your computer. Cloud refers to software and services that run on the Internet, instead of locally on your computer. When tech companies (like us) say your data is backed up “in the cloud,” it has nothing to do with those white fluffy things floating in the sky. Your data isn’t actually up in the cosmos or floating around in space, even though that’s what you may think. It has a terrestrial home. It’s stored someplace – lots of places, actually – and a network of servers find what you need, when you need it, and deliver it. Welcome to the cloud.
Cloud computing, if done properly, can make your business much more efficient, and safe. However, a cloud solution is only as good as the quality of the research, the implementation, and the follow-through. You can’t just push your data to the cloud, wipe your hands clean, and be finished for the day. So, how do you know if moving your business applications and data to the cloud is the right answer for your business? There are few things you need to know about the cloud first.
What exactly is the cloud?
We’ve touched on this briefly, but lets dive further. This is a tricky question in and of itself. When it comes to technology, there are many clouds. Bear with us here. In the simplest terms, cloud computing means storing and accessing computer data and applications over the Internet instead of your computer’s physical hard drive. It is using a full network of computers to store and process information and data, rather than a single physical hard drive.
Public vs. Private vs. Hybrid?
Just like the clouds in the sky, not all clouds are the same. You have options with public clouds, private clouds, as well as hybrid clouds. Choosing the right options for your business comes down to the needs of your business and the amount of control you would like to have.
- Public clouds: owned and operated by a third-party cloud service provider, which deliver their computing resources such as servers and storage directly through the Internet. With a public cloud, the hardware and software is owned and managed by the cloud provider. You access these services and manage your account using a web browser.
- Private clouds: unlike the public cloud, the private cloud is used by only one organization. A private cloud is one in which the services and infrastructure are maintained on a private network. Some companies also pay third-party service providers to host their private cloud.
- Hybrid clouds: combine public and private clouds, which allows data and applications to be shared between them. Data and applications can move between public and private clouds as needed, offering better flexibility and more deployment options.
Is it safe and reliable?
As mentioned before, cloud computing is the way of the future, long gone are the days where business should store data on their computers. We know it is easy and inexpensive – but, is it safe and reliable? At the end of the day, what good is switching over to the cloud if it puts your business at risk? Most cloud service providers offer encryption features such as service-side encryption to manage your own encryption keys. So, in reality, you ultimately decide how safe your solution is. As far as reliability goes, in many cases, cloud computing can reduce the amount of downtime to seconds. Since there are multiple copies of your data stored all throughout the cloud, there is no single point of failure. Most data can usually be recovered with a simple click of the mouse. Backup and recovery!
In the end, though, companies shouldn’t make decisions entirely based on what is cheapest. What should be most important is deciding whether or not transitioning into the cloud will work for your business model and current workflows.
To cloud, or not to cloud? The choice is all yours. Do your research and ask the right questions. A great start is by contacting us today to learn more about what is best for your business.