Get your head in the Cloud
- AUTHOR|Neil Sutch
- DATE|30 Mar 2023
- READ TIME|7 min read
So, what exactly is Cloud Computing? Simply put, it’s the delivery of computing services in a flexible pay-as-you-go model, including servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics, and intelligence over the Internet. Referred to as the “the Cloud” to offer faster innovation, flexible resources, and economies of scale to meet traffic demands. Implementing Cloud computing innovates a company’s IT infrastructure and brings with it many benefits, allowing seamless storage, networking and collaboration from anywhere in the world.
In order to ensure success with Cloud infrastructure, the migration needs to be planned and coordinated seamlessly, with buy-in and collaboration across all teams. Failure to do so is costing the average company 14 percent more in migration spend than planned each year, and 38 percent of companies have seen their migrations delayed by more than one quarter.
Are you thinking about migrating your business to the Cloud, or re-evaluating your current Cloud infrastructure?
Read on below for the three most important factors to consider, so you can avoid common pitfalls and choose the best path for your business.
1. Data considerations
Perhaps the biggest challenge for businesses is the threat of data loss or breach. It can affect all departments in an organisation, not to mention the damage it does to reputation externally. Your first consideration should be – how secure is my data in its current state?
Cloud computing typically utilises data loss prevention tools, backing up data and having the capability to securely recover any lost data in a timely way. Also, data is encrypted on Cloud, keeping any threat from hackers at bay.
Next, let’s consider how your data is stored. Typically, an organisation’s Information Technology (IT) infrastructure is stored in one of three ways; a physical on-site data centre; virtually on the Cloud; or a mix of both.
Let’s take a look at the benefits of Cloud-only storage. Firstly, it will generally come at a lower cost, essentially the pay-as-you-go model means you’re only charged for the data you need stored, vs. the high cost that comes with maintaining an on-premise data centre. Secondly, an internet connection means you can access your safely stored data from the Cloud anywhere, anytime, giving you a huge amount of flexibility. Data centres require that you’re on site and plugged in to work with your data.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, if your organisation relies solely on a data centre, any damage to this on-site infrastructure will result in downtime for your business. Cloud computing mitigates this risk by routinely implementing disaster recovery solutions, backing up your data and IT infrastructure in the Cloud, allowing you to regain access and functionality to IT infrastructure after a disaster.
Disaster recovery planning is critical to business continuity. Many disasters that have the potential to wreak havoc on an IT organisation have become more frequent in recent years:
- Natural disasters such as hurricanes, floods, wildfires, and earthquakes
- Equipment failures and power outages
- Cyberattacks, such as SolarWinds.
2. The best model for your business
By 2024, most enterprises aspire to have $8 out of every $10 for IT hosting go towards the Cloud, including private Cloud, infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), and software as a service (SaaS).
Let’s take a look at these three models in more detail.
Software-as-a-Service (SaaS): This cloud-based model provides on-demand software or applications to users through the Internet. SaaS may be the most beneficial option in several situations, including:
- Startups or small companies that need to launch ecommerce quickly and don’t have time for server issues or software.
- Short-term projects that require quick, easy, and affordable collaboration
- Applications that aren’t needed too often, such as tax software.
- Applications that need both web and mobile access
Examples of popular SaaS products: Salesforce, Hubspot, Microsoft 365, Google Workspace apps.
Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS): It provides IT infrastructure like hardware and software to the users for easy development, running, and management of applications. PaaS can streamline workflows when multiple developers are working on the same development project. If other vendors must be included, PaaS can provide great speed and flexibility to the entire process. PaaS is particularly beneficial if you need to create customised applications.
Examples of popular PaaS products: Microsoft Azure, Oracle Cloud Platform, AWS Lambda
Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS): It provides hardware like computer storage and networks virtually to users. Startups and small companies may prefer IaaS to save money and time. Similarly for larger organisations or growing ones, IaaS is beneficial as they can easily switch as their hard and software requirements evolve.
Examples of popular IaaS products: Amazon Web Services (AWS), Cisco Metapod, Microsoft Azure.
So, which model works best for your business? Well, many larger IT infrastructures would comprise a version of all three. Some elements to consider if you are choosing only one might be; what’s the use case and what functionality do we require? If we are to deploy one of these models, do we have in-house technology experts to support their operation and maintenance? How much control, customisation, or convenience do they allow? Once you’re happy with the model, you next will need to think about a vendor that can support your organisation’s goals and infrastructure.
3. Public, Private, Hybrid or Multi?
Once you have considered your data storage needs and understood more about the hosting services, you next need to consider which Cloud model suits your business’ migration best.
There are four types:
- Public Clouds.
- Private Clouds.
- Hybrid Clouds.
Let’s look at these in more detail below:
Private Cloud provides IT infrastructure services to a particular user or organisation. A single firm uses the entire IT infrastructure, which is managed by an in-house technical team. However, in Public Clouds, multiple users rely on a common IT infrastructure, managed by the Cloud service vendors. Data Security of Private Clouds establishes strong data security frameworks in comparison to Public data Clouds because there is often no third-party involvement. There is no interference from third parties in a Private Cloud. It can be further divided as follows:
Managed Private Clouds
On-demand IT hardware and digital infrastructure for companies that use a Private Cloud model.
Provide complete IT infrastructure for a single user in a Public Cloud environment. Therefore, it provides the features of a Private Cloud in a Private Cloud setup.
- Advanced data security.
- More efficient disaster recovery and system management processes.
- Companies may have to incur a high cost to set up IT infrastructure.
- Maintenance costs can be high.
While Private Clouds provide computing services only to a single organisation, Public Clouds are managed by third-party vendors that offer on-demand Cloud computing services to multiple organisations.
Some examples of Public Clouds are Google, Microsoft Azure, and Amazon Web Services (AWS). Since Public Clouds are managed by third-party vendors, companies do not have to spend time and money on maintenance. However, maintenance cost for private, hybrid, and Multi-Clouds is quite high.
- Cost-efficient for small businesses.
- No need to set up IT infrastructure.
- Easy to maintain and scale.
- Data security risks can be higher.
- Limited flexibility and control to customers.
Hybrid Clouds allow the integration of Private and Public Cloud features into a single IT infrastructure. It brings together Private and Public Cloud environments from multiple vendors and provides users with a flexible and scalable Cloud environment.
- Flexible and enhanced data security.
- Reduces the cost of setting up IT infrastructure.
- complex IT environment, leading to high operational expenses.
- Difficult to transfer data between Public and Private Clouds.
Multi-Clouds are often confused with Hybrid Clouds. Multi-Clouds bring together multiple Public Clouds from different Cloud service providers, whereas Hybrid Clouds integrate the features of Public and Private Cloud environments.
- Businesses select a variety of Cloud services from multiple vendors.
- Reduces risk of lock-in with a single vendor.
- Enables smooth operational flow.
- Inconsistent infrastructure creates bottlenecks in operational processes.
- Poses high-security risks as several third parties are involved.
“At Org, we are strong believers in Public Cloud unless there is an overarching data security concern on a National or International level that might mean that additional security layers, over and above public offering, need to be implemented.”
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