- If you're thinking of moving your IT setup into the cloud, there's public and private cloud services.
- Each option has its own advantages and disadvantages and you need to find the right balance for your business.
- Giants like Google, Amazon and Microsoft dominate the public cloud market, offering lower costs, credibility and authority.
- Meanwhile, private cloud service providers can offer better customisation, flexibility and often provide protection against malware as part of the package.
Cloud computing is fuelling innovation, enabling companies to achieve greater efficiency and productivity that is transforming many industries. As a result, many businesses are investing in cloud IT environments and are moving away from on-premise servers and infrastructure.
And like many business owners, 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. You no longer have to invest in physical servers, expensive hardware and their support costs.
But understanding the type of cloud solution that's best for your business can get tricky.
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.
1. Public cloud providers
Public cloud is 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.
- This market is dominated by large established players, providing credibility and authority.
- Public cloud providers tend to offer advanced technology.
- Because public cloud has no geographical restrictions, access is easy no matter where you are.
- Can have lower upfront fees than other cloud solutions.
- The larger the portion of your business 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 offers a standardised service to all users to get economies of scale. Customisation, legacy applications and business applications cannot be effectively or easily catered for.
- You may run into issues with data sovereignty. If you have data saved in public clouds, your data may be 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.
2. Private cloud providers
The biggest misconception about private cloud is that it is hosted in an organisation’s data centre. While this is one definition of private cloud, more and more private cloud providers are offering off-premise solutions. Make sure you ask potential private cloud service providers where your data is hosted. By using a private cloud provider, you also 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 of where the servers 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.
- There may be a higher initial outlay than using public cloud services, although in the long term you will find that this balances out and it actually becomes more cost effective.
- One trap you can potentially fall into is opting for a hosting service rather than a true cloud service. 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 them 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 and everything is charged for.
If you’re looking at moving more of your business to the cloud this year, there are plenty of options to choose from. By understanding the options available to you, you can make a more informed decision for your business that will hopefully help your business run more efficiently and enable growth.