There is a lot of discussion about clouds and what Cloud can do to help a business. This short article will discuss different cloud options, what they mean, and how each option can help a business.
What is Cloud?
When companies refer to moving to the Cloud, they are talking about moving a specific type of technology software that would traditionally run on a server in the office to a third party.
The third-party is responsible for hardware, software, and licenses in exchange for a monthly service fee. An example of a service that is frequently moved to the Cloud is the email service.
Companies have a choice to host an email server at the office, hosting email in a datacenter (private Cloud), hosting email with Azure / AWS (Public Cloud), or purchasing email as a service (Cloud Service).
5 Different types of cloud solutions
Different types of cloud solutions meet various business needs. We compiled a list of cloud solutions and a brief explanation of each one.
#1 Cloud Service or Cloud Application
Cloud service is usually a software application provided to a company on a per-user basis. Companies can add or remove users as needed without having to purchase new hardware/software.
An excellent example of a cloud service is Microsoft Office 365. When the business buys Office 365, they receive the email service, storage, collaboration solution as a service.
#2 Public Cloud
Public Cloud is when companies obtain servers and network resources from a major provider such as Microsoft (Azure) or Amazon (AWS).
The resources are equivalent to what a client would purchase to run business applications at the office without buying any hardware.
The public cloud provider provides virtual servers, power, internet, and licenses on a monthly basis and charges a fee for the service. The fee can vary monthly based on usage and resources used.
In the public Cloud, your data is running in a shared environment with other users. The vendor who provides the service controls how the data is secured and provisioned.
#3 Private Cloud and Co-Location
private Cloud is similar to public Cloud except that the virtual servers are stored in a private data center. A limited amount of users have access to data stored. Servers are usually dedicated to a specific client.
Co-location is when a company purchases its servers but places them in a secure data center. By doing this, the company has built its own private Cloud where only company employees have access to data.
#4 Hybrid Cloud
With a hybrid cloud solution, a company places a portion of its resources in a public/private cloud, and a portion remains at the business location.
A secure connection is established between on-site and the Cloud to allow applications to communicate without issues.
Hybrid cloud solutions are for companies where specific applications need to remain on-site, but a company would like to take advantage of the Cloud for a portion of their business.
Example – A manufacturing company runs CNC machines on-site and needs a dedicated server to communicate instructions to devices in real-time. The company also uses ERP software hosted in the Cloud and is available for all remote sales offices.
#5 Cloud Desktops
Cloud desktops allow users to connect to a virtual computer that is hosted in the Cloud. When a user connects, they can see their desktop. The cloud desktop replaces the computer desktop for the majority of the work.
If a physical computer fails, the user can connect to the cloud desktop from any other computer.
Advantages of cloud computing for business
You can increase users, CPU’s or resources when needed without having to purchase new equipment.
Many cloud providers built their practices with redundancy on power, internet, and hardware. This allows you to build virtual headquarters for the company with infrastructure backup that most physician offices do not have.
Cloud solutions can allow a company to use cutting-edge enterprise technology for a fraction of the cost.
Disadvantages of cloud computing for business
The company that is providing the cloud service/infrastructure owns all of the equipment. As the client, you are leasing the right to use a portion of it as long as you pay the monthly fee.
If you stop paying, resources are revoked, and you do not have any infrastructure. If a company owns the equipment, it can continue to operate the equipment without additional investment until a failure occurs.
As the client, you own all of your data, but if a decision is made to move the data back on-site, the process of moving is not simple. If you are using a cloud service, you will need to export the data or use migration services.
If you have cloud servers, there may be other migration options available to you. In all the situations, expect that migration will take time and may require additional resources.
Depending on the type of cloud solution you are considering, your price may be significantly lower or significantly higher than deploying your solution.
For example, if you are considering Office 365 email, the typical cost for a company with 50 employees is much lower than owning and operating your own email server.
However, if you plan business applications in the Public Cloud and need virtual servers, your cost may be significantly higher.
It’s important to know when you are deploying public cloud servers, you are paying a 3rd party for hardware, software licenses, power, secured storage space, and internet.
If a company purchases the equipment, in most cases, they are already paying for space, power, and internet for the office.
Most cloud solutions depend on a reliable internet connection. If the employee’s internet connection is not stable, they will have issues and a frustrating experience.
What business operations can you move to the Cloud
- Email Services
- Data Storage (Share drives, backup)
- Domain services (centralized user management and policy enforcement of company computers)
- Business Applications (Quickbooks, Sage, Avionte, People Soft, Global Shop, E2, Visibility, etc)
- Phone Systems (Voice over IP phone system can be hosted in the Cloud)
- Web sites
- Custom-built applications
Some applications work well in the Cloud, and some do not. Proper configuration and deployment of business applications will be critical to your employees’ experience with a cloud solution.
It’s a common misconception that all cloud solutions automatically backup your data. This is not the case. Many cloud providers have backup options but they need to be configured, managed, and verified.
Are you interested in moving your business to the Cloud? Expert computer solutions have helped hundreds of companies, in Houston area and beyond, migrate to the Cloud through our cloud computing services. To start, we offer a client a free cloud consultation.
As part of our consultation, we will find out about your business requirements and recommend a specific cloud solution to your business.