COVID-19 forced many businesses into cloud computing, at least partially. But should your business fully migrate to the cloud for the long term? That’s a question many of our clients face. Here are some factors to consider.
Cloud computing has been around for years but few companies, especially small businesses, took advantage of it. First, let’s clarify what we mean by the cloud.
With a traditional computer setup, your data is saved to your hard drive. All of your data is on that one drive and it is physically at your location. Then there are hosted solutions, where your data is saved to a server in another location and you can access it from any computer. Finally, there is the cloud, where your data is saved in multiple locations across multiple servers. It can be accessed from anywhere, as with hosted, but there is the additional safety of not having all your data in the same place.
Thousands of companies now have access to just about everything an employee needs to get their work done through cloud technology.
So How Does Cloud Computing Help Your Business?
Instead of being stored on servers within the confines of your office space, the cloud will store it in data center(s) which are accessible from any computer. That doesn’t mean it can be accessed by anyone. Only those who have properly assigned access, which you as the client control, can do it. It is a shared space but not a shared access. When properly implemented and secured, no other company …other company or individual can get into your company’s data.
The cloud is extremely secure and it cuts your costs allowing you to focus your time and money on growing your business. Plus, it shifts the cost of your IT infrastructure from being a capital expenditure (CAPEX) to being an operational expense (OPEX). This avoids large upfront costs and depreciating assets.
- Allows any staff member or stakeholder to access their work files from anywhere.
- Saves on costs for maintaining and updating applications, software and computers. Those updates will be within your cloud.
- Allows all backups to be done in the cloud.
- Provides more flexibility than in-house technology.
- Requires less maintenance for your business.
- Most importantly, offers much better security.
Hosted Data and Cloud Computing Differences
- More flexibility with the cloud. Hosted is data stored on a single server. The cloud stores data on several servers allowing you to change your infrastructure resources more easily as your needs change.
- Significantly lowered cost with the cloud. Expenses for new or better servers become non-existent. Your IT expense budget will be for a “cloud” through a third party because most have usage-based pricing and you won’t need as many hours to manage your IT.
- No more program maintenance on the cloud. In a hosted solution, applications still “live” on the individual employees’ devices (endpoints). Using the cloud, apps are controlled at the cloud level and all updating is done on those cloud servers. That also drastically reduces costs.
- Location and device independence on the cloud. Because data is not housed in one physical location, it is far more safe from outages. If the data is not available from one location, it simply switches to another.
- Sharing resources with multi-tenancy on the cloud. Because your business is “sharing” resources and with other companies, it means:
- Your infrastructure can be centralized in locations with lower costs.
- Peak-load capacity increases.
- Underutilized systems will be improved for efficacy.
- Faster productivity with the cloud. Working on the same data or file by multiple users results in faster productivity than saving and emailing for review. There is also no longer a need to install the same application or upgrade that software on every employee’s devices as it will be on the cloud, updated and waiting for them.
- Business continuity on the cloud. With a well-designed cloud, which uses multiple redundant sites, your data is protected and available even if there is a cyber security threat, flood, tornado or other natural disaster.
- Higher level security with the cloud. Cloud service providers are able to devote resources to solving security issues that many small businesses cannot afford to tackle or for which they lack the technical skills.
Pros of Public Cloud vs. Private
Private clouds are designed for each company’s needs and dedicated to that business only. Therefore the cost is usually high.
Public clouds are more economical. The servers that house your data will also house other companies’ data. Both are totally secure from each other. Think of it like a filing cabinet. They’re both in the same cabinet but in different locked drawers.
The beauty of cloud computing is your business can start out in a public cloud and as your business grows and you are able to expand, the cloud can expand with you and you can go private if desired.
Is Cloud Computing Safe?
Yes! Cloud computing is not just safe, but it is usually safer than self-hosted data for two reasons:
- In a natural disaster, because your data is not stored in one place, it is less likely that all data will be lost.
- Cloud services providers have a deeper level of expertise in data security. It is to their advantage to keep updated with the latest technology and cyber security methods. That higher level is usually more than most small or medium-sized businesses can afford.
According to the Cloud Security Alliance, the top three threats in the cloud are:
- Insecure interfaces and APIs
- Data loss and leakage
- Hardware failure
When you make the decision to check out cloud vendors, make sure to check their reputation for the above listed issues. Do a comparison chart between providers before you make a decision.
Or better yet, have your partnered MSP such as Aeko Tech do due diligence for you.
>>Download our free AEKO Ransomware Response Checklist Blog Post Ransomware Response Checklist. Know what to do in a ransomware attack.
Privacy In and Out of the Cloud
Because data in a cloud is often located on a greater number of servers, it will require more complex security. Businesses that choose private cloud installations are motivated, in part, by a desire for more control over the infrastructure and information security of their cloud.
A trusted MSP such as Aeko Tech can help in choosing a secure vendor and in implementing your cloud solutions in a way that best meets the needs of your business.
Getting Started With Cloud Computing
Contact us or book a meeting to help us help you with your cloud needs. We will analyze your business needs and implement the right strategy for you. When moving to a cloud platform, you might not see the benefits immediately, but the right IT partner can monitor and adjust your solution to maximize your IT infrastructure investment over time.
2021 Ransomware Response Checklist
Know what to do if you are hit with a ransomware attack! Get this free, easy-to-follow checklist to post and share with your team.