Cloud computing is fueling innovation, enabling companies to achieve greater efficiency and productivity.
As a result, many businesses are investing in cloud environments and are moving away from on-premise servers and infrastructure, and instead adopting a total cloud IT environment.
And like many businesses, you’re probably thinking about how your business could be further leveraging the cloud to increase efficiency and reduce running costs.
Having your entire IT environment in the cloud reduces the need to host, update, maintain or backup IT environments, so you no longer have to invest in on-premise servers, expensive hardware and support costs.
But understanding the type of cloud which is best for your business can be difficult. There are public, private or hybrid cloud offerings and deciding which one suits your business will depend on the level of resources you have to commit and how you’re planning to utilise the cloud.
Public cloud providers
Public cloud has been the fastest growing cloud segment to date and is dominated by providers such as Amazon, Google and Microsoft. With public cloud, the services provided are standardised and offered to many clients who all share the same infrastructure.
- Being dominated by large established players, public cloud providers tend to offer advanced technology.
- Because public cloud has no geographical restrictions, it makes access easy no matter where you are.
- Can have lower upfront fees than other cloud solutions.
- The larger the portion of your business you have on public cloud, the more complicated it will be. In most cases you’ll need to have a dedicated cloud expert on staff to manage your IT.
- Public cloud can also be rigid, automated and impersonal because it’s about offering a standardised service to all users to get economies of scale. Customisation, legacy applications and business applications cannot be effectively or easily catered for.
- Data sovereignty. If you have data saved in public clouds it means your data is stored on a server in a different country, which is governed by an entirely different set of security and/or privacy regulations.
- Public cloud providers often don’t offer protection against viruses, ransomware and malware as part of the offering but as an extra, if at all. Plus, in some instances, your data may not be backed up and recoverable if things go wrong.
Private cloud providers
The biggest misconception about private cloud is that it is on-premise, hosted in an organisation’s data centre. While this is one definition of private cloud, a growing segment is off-premise private cloud providers. By using a private cloud provider you take advantage of shared IT resources across multiple applications and/or locations.
- You tend to get more personalised service with private cloud providers, making them more flexible and customisable to meet individual business requirements.
- There is increased security and you’ll likely have a better idea where the data centres holding your data are located as well as the security measures in place.
- Private cloud providers usually offer the latest protection against viruses, ransomware and malware, as well as data backup and recovery.
- You’ll need to spend some time finding the right provider that will suit your business and ensure your line of business applications are supported by the private cloud provider.
- There may be a higher initial outlay than public cloud, although in the long term you will find that this balances out and it actually becomes more cost effective.
- One trap businesses can potentially fall into is opting for a hosting service rather than a true cloud provider. Asking for an upfront fee is a common indicator of hosting services. Generally these are technology services offered to companies that host either your servers or purchases servers for you and run in another location. Quite often these services are not available directly from the internet. They will need the likes of a VPN or direct line. Everything is charged for.
If you’re looking at moving more of your business to the cloud, there are plenty of options to choose from. By understanding what different options offer, you can make a more informed decision for your business that will hopefully help you run more efficiently and enable growth.