Solving Your Cloud Conversion Confusion

From CIOs to CFOs, there’s one question on the minds of most of them when tasked with whether or not they should migrate their networks to the cloud. The biggest struggle? Cost. No doubt, if you’re reading this post, the topic of cloud computing in your company is probably on your mind. If you’re read the news lately, you know it’s difficult to ignore the prevalence of cloud advertising. But is the move a smart one that can save your company money?

In this post, we’ll outline different aspects of the cloud to consider when trying to assess whether to make the move or stick with your current infrastructure. First, you need to understand the technology. For example, many different types of cloud services exist.

Public clouds are obviously accessible by anyone. They can provide workload applications to your users such as email or provide communications for your staff collaborating on multi-user projects.

Private cloud environments are typically best for companies looking to centralize their networks while also keeping out unauthorized users. On-premises clouds are hosted at your location and exist behind your firewalls for enhanced security. Off-site environments still offer you security and privacy but are hosted by a third-party offsite providers.

Another form called hybrid offers a combination of private and public environments. Often companies that provide services to customers yet need to maintain parts of their network on a more secure system choose a hybrid formation.

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) usually provides the lowest overall cost. But what does it do? Think of IaaS as an outsourced provider which host your hardware and software offsite. They also offer server storage and other components necessary for your users to perform their daily work.

The benefit of using an IaaS platform is it’s highly scalable. Thus, as your organization and resource demand grows, so does your IaaS plan. Most IaaS plans offer you a per-user rate which often is by the hour, week and even in some instances by the month. Essentially, it’s a pure pay-as-you-go service so there’s no worry of capital expenditures other than your service fee.

Two providers we use for many of our IaaS clients is Azure and Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Another type of cloud exists called Software as a Service (Saas). In this structure, your company uses software products from a provider rather than going the traditional route of buying one software license per machine.

SaaS is ideal for organizations with many users that need to use identical versions of a software product. Think global when you consider SaaS as it provides your company with the power to update your user software versions as well as manage updates for your entire network. SaaS offers full services over the Internet while putting maintenance and update management in the hands of the vendor providing your company SaaS.

Cloud confusion can be difficult if your company officers aren’t fully aware of the technology demand your organization needs on a daily basis. You should first pinpoint your requirements by evaluating your resources.









Public, Private and Hybrid Clouds: The Difference (and when it matters)

A decision maker at an SMB is trying to keep things simple (or at least no more complicated than they have to be). Saving money for outsourced services gets everyone’s attention, and the promise of Cloud Computing undoubtedly gets yours. While most of the technical details are delegated to your hard working CIO, Directors, and foot soldiers, there are some concepts it’s good to have an overview of – because of their effect on your data security and your bottom line.There are three categories of Cloud Computing Environments you’ll hear your IT staff talking about – a Public Cloud, a Private Cloud or a Hybrid Cloud. The differences between the three involve the capital investment of each, and the data security level provided by each.

The Public Cloud

According to TechTarget, A public cloud is “one based on the standard cloud computing model, in which a service provider makes resources, such as applications and storage, available to the general public over the Internet”. In the Public Cloud, all the infrastructure and maintenance are provided off site. This is the ideal choice for most SMBs.

Advantages:  A Public Cloud:

  • Takes all of the overhead of IT operations off of your shoulders.
  • Simplifies accounting in that you pay fees instead of overhead and effort involved in Capital Expenditures.
  • Increased demand is simply a matter of purchasing more bandwidth and/or services. For example, If you need more capacity during the Christmas buying season, you can purchase more capacity during the season (as opposed to purchasing equipment and systems that must have capacity that is not needed for a majority of the year).

Disadvantage:  You are using shared resources with other organizations, which makes a Public Cloud less secure than a Private Cloud.  However, It is important to note that the resources of a Cloud Vendor are far greater than a typical SMB, and that the environment of your Cloud Vendor is still more secure than an environment in the traditional IT space

In short, a Public Cloud is ideal when:

  • a standalone IT Operation represents major overhead to your business,
  • You use standard applications (Such as Microsoft Office),
  • You use Cloud applications by major vendors (such as Adobe Creative Cloud or SalesForce), or:
  • You do a lot of collaborative projects over a disbursed area.

Private Clouds

A Private Cloud is one where a Cloud Infrastructure is used by a single organization. It provides the most security, but requires that the organization have the resources to maintain the environment (and typically an SMB is turning to the Cloud to avoid that overhead!). Recently, Public Cloud Vendors have started offering Private Cloud Services at a premium– i.e., Cloud Environments which are segregated from their public services.

Because of the extra overhead and/or premium costs, Private Clouds are only desirable if you are in an industry with stringent security or data privacy demands, or your business is by nature financial data, intellectual property, or being a custodian of either. Consider leasing Private Cloud Services from your vendor if you have a genuine need for top level security, but don’t have the resources to support it in house.

Hybrid Clouds

A Hybrid Cloud is one that, as the name implies, have elements of a Public Cloud. For example, you have Financial Data you want to maintain in a Private Cloud, but also have collaborative efforts for which you want to use a Public Cloud. Large corporations with vertical markets are potential candidates for a hybrid cloud; a typical SMB would not have a need or have the resources to support one.

All businesses have unique needs, and you know your business better than anyone. The right Cloud Service Provider works with you to find the best solution for your unique situation.