Cloud computing is a good way for companies to manage their data storage and other IT needs, as it offers versatility at a fairly reasonable price. All the work required to effectively run a cloud-based network and manage data can be outsourced, enabling you to focus on more important things. Small businesses, business ventures in their early stages and even up-and-coming companies can benefit from having the convenience of cloud computing at their disposal. It can be a great way to cut costs and save a lot of time that can be better spent, but you need to define your specific needs and look for the right cloud services that will benefit your business the most. Let’s look at some important things you need to consider when looking for these types of services.
The different types of cloud service
It is important that we understand the three main variations of cloud services so that we can see the bigger picture and how cloud changes the way we do business with others and how we manage running a business on an internal level. Here are the three primary Cloud business models.
1. IaaS – Infrastructure as a Service
Having a Cloud infrastructure has a lot of advantages. In most cases a user is allocated with a virtual server that is hosted on a network of physical servers from which each individual virtual machine draws its resources. In order to run their applications, users install operating systems according to their individual preference. The amount of resources each individual virtual machine can access is controlled by the user and it is usually charged on a pay-per-use basis.
2. PaaS – Platform as a Service
This is a solution for developers mostly. The cloud providers that give PaaS services usually provide an operative system with a database, a web server, etc. This gives developers an environment which they can use to develop and test their software without worrying about hardware maintenance, manual resource allocation, software installation and maintenance, etc.
3. SaaS – Software as a Service
By using Cloud clients, users can access remotely hosted software (along with its database). This is usually “on-demand software” for the use of which customers are charged on a per-use basis, although not exclusively. In some cases users are charged through a monthly or yearly subscription fee.
The primary purpose of all these cloud services is to make your life easier. This is why it is essential that good tech support is provided since, if you run into some trouble, you will want a quick resolution of all issues with minimum effort. A 24/7 support should be available at least in e-mail form but I personally feel more secure having an option of contacting the support team via phone. This way, if a more complicated problem arises, I can have direct contact with somebody competent who can help me with any problems I may be experiencing.
Security, updates and uptime
By using cloud services we are actually storing data somewhere else and we are putting the security of that data in the hands of the provider. That’s why the primary concerns of any individual or business is exactly how secure their data is and how it is managed. Security should encompass both data backup in case of hardware or software failure and protection from unauthorized third-party access to data (this includes viewing, copying and modifying the data).
Software also needs maintenance and above all else, updates. The Web has a tendency to change and this creates a need for updates that resolve conflicting issues with new software. Any software that you receive from the provider should be updated by him or her as well so as to be as fresh and compatible as possible.
Uptime is very important with all three cloud services models. You need to be sure that your provider has a high uptime guarantee—99% is usually the norm. Not having access to essential software, applications or losing your website to poor hosting can cause serious problems, especially in situations when the downtime last longer. Checking reviews for web hosting providers and checking out the forums of SaaS Cloud providers is a necessity before any serious long-term investments are made. You need to make sure that they are reliable and there is nobody better to tell you about this than their previous and current users.
Relying on cloud services to resolve the IT needs of your business is a good choice since, in the majority of cases, you get top-notch resources, incredible stability and great control over your finances. Business start-ups can benefit greatly from the payment method since they can expand their resources based on their growth and thus get a great quality and price ratio. The main thing you need to pay attention to is the reliability of the provider you choose, and you are probably going to see a high return on your investment after some time.