The cloud is a revolutionary computing paradigm that has completely changed the way we do business, not least by driving significant efficiencies across the board for organizations large and small.
By extracting software and data from local buildings and placing them in a secure global network of remote servers, the cloud works as a single ecosystem to help manage and maintain the digital infrastructure. Supported by third-party operation, it enables 24/7 access to data while eliminating unnecessary costs and downtime.
Chances are your business already uses a handful of applications hosted in the cloud — from social media sites and email platforms to productivity suites offered by industry giants like Google and Microsoft.
And with an endless choice of resource deployment options — from public, community, and private to hybrid models — organizations of all sizes and sizes can benefit from a complete computing overhaul.
While the benefits of using cloud-based services over legacy, in-house IT models are clear—reliability, scalability, efficiency, and security, to name a few—it doesn’t mean it’s the best choice for every business.
So, to help you make your decision and formulate the most successful strategy for your organization, here are some of the most important things to consider when determining the suitability of cloud computing…
While the cloud offers a significant number of cost savings – through the elimination of redundant technology and labor requirements, lower energy costs and a smaller carbon footprint – it is important to evaluate the price of the switching infrastructure.
Capital expenditures (CapEx) and operational expenditures (OpEx) should be important considerations when weighing your options – as the financial differences will affect the option you choose.
For most businesses, a pay-as-you-go OpEx plan is an obvious choice, helping to keep financial forecasts stable and predictable while providing the flexibility to cancel or cancel a plan at any time. and free up internal resources to focus on creating value for your organization.
However, if companies prefer to take control of cloud services – including costs and maintenance – and generate long-term revenue by improving production facilities and increasing operational efficiency, a private cloud may be a more suitable option.
Growth and demand
By design, the cloud model of computing is able to provide on-demand deployment. Therefore, it can be an excellent solution to implement if your business is experiencing significant growth and the existing infrastructure is inadequate.
While planning, deploying and deploying new resources in your office or data center can take many months, the flexibility available in the public cloud means it can be easily scaled up or down as needed. The same goes for the question. When there is an urgent need for more servers and storage space to handle a larger workload, a scalable cloud allows you to quickly add nodes instead of overhauling your entire infrastructure. And once the demand has subsided, you can simply revert to the previous configuration.
Security & Compliance
With the increasing sophistication of cyber attacks, maintaining a strong cloud security posture is critical if your organization needs to house highly sensitive business information and intellectual property online, especially if your industry is highly regulated. Fortunately, most private and hybrid infrastructures support compliance, but it’s critical to scrutinize this area to ensure your business’s needs are met.
The off-site nature of cloud storage, where data is hosted in a different location from your business, automatically reduces certain risks, including removing USB sticks or forwarding credentials, but there are some other important elements to keep in mind in your security strategy. Among which:
Encryption – a way of encrypting data so that only authorized parties can understand and access the information unless they discover the decryption key.
Security – Whether you’re using on-premise firewalls, virtual cloud firewalls, or fully managed SD WAN, you need to take a holistic approach to security across the entire network, especially if that network is in a hybrid cloud environment. Whether you use on-premise, public or private cloud, security is an important consideration and must be thoroughly designed.
Identity & Access Management – products that manage user authorization based on who they are and what they do to prevent account takeover and insider attacks.
Collaboration and flexibility
Cloud-hosted platforms provide users with greater flexibility by allowing them to access files anytime, anywhere. It doesn’t matter whether your teams are working remotely or in the office, on a laptop or a tablet – as long as each device is connected to the internet, important files can be easily accessed and updated.
But that’s not all, cloud-based software suites like Office 365 also unlock modern ways of working by enabling creative collaboration. With the ability to share documents both internally and externally, co-author in real time and attend meetings virtually, cloud computing not only creates a shared understanding across your organization, but strengthens team dynamics and encourages new ideas to to blossom. But don’t innovate just for the sake of innovation – if your teams work together successfully without going through the cloud, you don’t have to feel like you need to change anything.
While the technology industry has become a burgeoning powerhouse in recent years, offering an increasing number of benefits to businesses from SMBs to large enterprises, there can often be an increasing pressure to conform.
And while growth often brings an unavoidable need for adaptation in one form or another, change can vary significantly from organization to organization.
By John Blackburn, Director of Operations, Central Networks.