Is the Cloud The Right Choice For You Business?
The Cloud for small business has been one of the most talked about subjects for over a year now. A lot of companies don’t have a full understanding of everything the Cloud can do and that’s because unlike other forms of technology, Cloud technology is evolving so quickly that it’s hard to keep up. That’s why we’ve prepared a simple overview in this series of content, tailored specifically to understanding “If The Cloud Is Right for Your Business”. You will get an understanding on what the Cloud is and how you can utilize it for your business in 2021. You won’t need to be a techie to understand the Cloud after
we lay it out here and, hopefully, you won’t be afraid to use it. Cloud computing
provides several benefits for small and midsize-businesses (“SMB”), especially if you’re running on a tight budget.
What Is The Cloud?
Let’s say that your team has outgrown your office space and you have to remove some file storage to make room for a new workspace. You ask your landlord if you can store your file cabinets in the basement of your building. Even though you share this space in the basement with other tenants, your file cabinets will be just for your files behind a chain link cage. No one else will have access to the space by keeping the storage safe and protected from intruders.
Since you’re only paying for the file cabinets and not the empty space in the basement, your costs will be much more affordable. This is very similar to how the Cloud works. It is in the backend of your IT infrastructure (ie: your basement in this comparison) where no one can retrieve your files without your encryption key, and where you can access your cloud files wherever you have a computer device with an internet connection.
You’ve Been Using The Cloud For Years And Didn’t Know It?
The Cloud is another word for the Internet. If you’re like most of us, you’ve been using the Internet for a long time. If you have ever used Gmail, you have been using cloud-based email. Your messages were all stored on the Google Cloud. Cloud-based email hosting was one of the first to use cloud computing services for both consumers and businesses.
Do you use Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn? Do you shop on Amazon or watch Amazon Prime, or movies on your smart TV? If so, you’re using cloud computing.
We’re willing to bet that you use the cloud every single day. But first let’s take a step back and define the Cloud. In essence, it’s just a network of servers which are large and super powerful computers. Anything that’s referred to as “cloud-based” or “in the cloud” means it primarily lives online instead of on something physical in your possession like a computer’s hard drive. A good rule of thumb for determining whether something is “cloud-based” is asking yourself the following question: “Can I easily log into this service from another device, like my phone or a different computer?” If the answer is yes, then the service is likely based in the cloud.
What’s The Difference Between The Types Of Clouds?
- Private Cloud: A Private Cloud is where IT services are provided over a private IT infrastructure and only for use by a single organization. If your business uses a private cloud, it’s managed within your IT infrastructure. As in the example above regarding the files being stored in the basement, a larger enterprise might want the entire basement for themselves rather than just one file cabinet. This is when they would likely build out their own private cloud. These enterprises typically have in-house IT departments and their own data centers.
- Public Cloud: This is a cloud that’s available to the general public over the Internet. You access public cloud services on a “pay-as-you-go” basis and a cloud service provider manages the public cloud and software, so you won’t have to worry about managing the Cloud. You are able to use the services that you choose to use. This is a very affordable solution for small businesses.
- Hybrid Cloud: A hybrid cloud combines a private and public cloud. You can keep some data stored internally, and other solutions hosted offsite. A hybrid cloud is integrated into your in-house IT infrastructure with other products and services that you use to provide a customized cloud computing environment to meet your unique needs.
Do Most Small and Medium Sized Businesses Use A Public Cloud?
Let’s say you have a small or midsize business. You don’t have the resources to manage a private cloud but you need storage, networking and a firewall. All of these can be hosted in a public cloud. They are “virtual” meaning that there’s less need for hands-on management.
SMB’s often need to use a public cloud so they don’t have to pay for hardware, IT staff maintain and manage hardware, software licensing and updating. It’s a way they can use the same type of solutions a large enterprise does without all the costs. Our team at Expert IT Solutions can help set your business up with a robust private cloud that can meet your needs.
What Are Some Of The Cloud Services That Businesses Access On A Public Cloud?
- Software-as-a-Service (SaaS): These are services such as email, file storage, file sharing, communication, bookkeeping, etc. Examples include Microsoft Office 365, Salesforce Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Citrix’s GoToMeeting, Google Apps, Dropbox and more.
- Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS): These are web application management, design, storage, security and application development services. Examples include Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Windows Azure, Google App Engine, Salesforce’s Force.com and more.
- Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS): This is where you outsource the hardware that you need by renting things like an offsite server, storage, and dedicated network. Examples include VMWare, Amazon Virtual Private Cloud, Rackspace, Red Hat, Microsoft Azure.
What Are The Overall Benefits Of Using The Cloud For My Business?
- Reduced Costs: You can achieve significant savings on hardware and software. In addition, you will have access to large amounts of data storage that you couldn’t achieve with simple hard drives and other forms of onsite storage.
- Anywhere-Anytime Access: You and your staff can access software, hardware and your data from wherever you have a computer device and an internet connection.
- File Sharing: With solutions like Microsoft Office 365 and SharePoint, you and your staff can collaborate on documents, presentations and spreadsheets in real time. You will never worry if you’re working on the latest version or will need to email them back and forth.
- Fast Deployment Of IT Solutions: Cloud services can be up and running within an hour, rather than the days or weeks it might take to build and implement an internal IT infrastructure.
- Improved IT Security: Some people think the Cloud isn’t secure when in reality you’ll experience increased security. Most data breaches are due to lost or stolen computer devices with stored data. Data in the Cloud is stored in high-security data centers where the cloud provider uses the most stringent encryption methods. Cloud security is also carefully monitored to proactively identify and address possible breach vulnerabilities. Our Expert IT team can also set up back-up resources to ensure you have a secure copy of any important data you may need.
- Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery: Many cloud service providers offer unlimited storage and automated data sync and backup services. This reduces or eliminates downtime when your office is closed for any reason, or computers crashes. Your data is safe in the Cloud and you can recover it from anywhere you have a computer device and an internet connection.
What Is Cloud Monitoring and Should I Use It For My Business?
If you’re still uneasy about using the Cloud, consider cloud monitoring through a Managed Service Provider. This ensures that you can use the Cloud with confidence. The Expert IT Solutions team can set up security resources that carefully monitor your data in the Cloud to proactively identify and address possible breach vulnerabilities. We coordinate 24/7 monitoring so you can rest assured knowing that your data is always protected.
Cloud monitoring supports a hybrid cloud environment where servers are unified from multiple locations. Whether your servers are on-premise, in a data center, or in the public cloud, our service providers of choice will oversee the performance of servers and block any intrusions. They can also ensure uptime and reliability of your IT environment and software applications with cloud monitoring.
We understand that this is a lot of information to take into consideration but we hope it can help with any questions you may have had about using Cloud Solutions for your business. We are always eager to answer any questions you may have, so please do not hesitate to contact us.