As the world around becomes increasingly virtual, businesses in every industry have turned to cloud software services as an integral part of their company’s infrastructure and operations. In fact, the vast majority of small businesses in the United States, over 90%, utilize cloud software in some form as of this year.
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Because cloud software has become so widespread, there are numerous options to choose from when you upgrade or adopt these services for your own company. To make the best decisions for you and your tech business, it’s important to understand key factors about your own needs and the capabilities of each option before you choose a cloud provider.
One of the first considerations when it comes to selecting a cloud service provider is your company’s approximate budget for these services. How much you’re willing to spend may shift as you consider what different cloud providers are capable of, and when you consider bundling cloud cost optimization services.
Many providers offer packages and services that could even enable you to trim your budget in other ways through the elimination or reduction of various business operations that could potentially be replaced by automated processes available with your chosen software. It may take some serious financial computing at first, but companies often end up saving money when they make the switch to cloud operations–even if the upfront cost seems prohibitive.
Types of cloud software
There are three primary types of cloud services, each with different advantages and disadvantages that will better suit some tech companies over others.
These cloud types are the most common and widely used. Public cloud services are owned, operated and administered by the provider over the internet from an off-site location. The components of this system, including all hardware, software and other elements, are located with the provider and are simply accessed by your company using your browsers.
Public clouds are advantageous because they tend to be more economical, highly reliable and easily scalable if you need to upgrade your resource limits. The provider also manages the maintenance and upkeep of the system, so you and your team don’t have to.
For a cloud type that you and your company own exclusively, private systems may be the ideal choice. Private cloud systems exist on a private network with hardware and software that is owned and managed onsite by your organization. This system is popular with mid to large companies who desire their own data center that is more customizable to their needs than public cloud systems.
Private clouds provide more privacy and flexibility as well. Because resources are not shared with any other organization, a private cloud environment can be tailored and scaled per your unique requirements.
Hybrid cloud environments blend both public and private systems together to provide the benefits of both in one structure. In these systems, an onsite data center manages, stores and handles your company’s data, as in a private cloud system, but the hybrid aspect lends increased flexibility in the event that your company’s cloud traffic increases at any point.
Companies that use hybrid cloud systems can maintain a private, secure infrastructure while taking advantage of increased resources in a public cloud setting for certain workloads and processes. Hybrid cloud platforms are simple to use and can be scaled simply and quickly if necessary.
Cloud services, because they manage your company’s sensitive and private data, implement varying levels of security measures to keep your information stored, transferred and employed securely. There are different levels of cloud services, including public, private and hybrid types. At each of these levels, varying security measures are implemented depending on the provider, so it’s important to look at what comprehensive security infrastructures are offered by each company per type, as it may differ fairly widely.
Take time to understand what your company’s responsibility might be with regard to security measures in contrast to what the provider will do to keep your data safe. Some companies approach security infrastructures with a shared responsibility model, while others offer add-on services to bulk up the security measures they will provide for your company in addition to what is bundled into your plan or included at the outset.
As well, each provider may handle third-party security options differently. If your company needs to integrate additional security measures that aren’t offered by default, your chosen provider may already have a list of partner companies that can be seamlessly integrated into your plan.
Does your company have highly specific objectives for your management strategies with regard to your cloud services? Does your team require a particular architecture in order to maintain streamlined operations? Cloud architectures vary, so it’s a good idea to take a thorough look at the needs of your company, what your cloud objectives might be and how your cloud service provider can meet these requirements.
When you consider how cloud services would fit into your company’s operations, pay mind to your existing investments. If your business has already set up several accounts and utilized the services of one cloud provider, it may be the most seamless transition to stick with this company and simply expand your utilization of their offerings. Not only will this help with the initial organization of your data, but many providers offer discounted services for existing customers, too.
However, consistent provider loyalty on your part may not be the ideal choice for your establishment if the vendor architecture won’t suit your long-term objectives. Some providers, for example, limit the different types of archival storage they grant to their users, as well as place restrictions on how often you can access archived data. Switching to another platform or provider may prove beneficial if their organizational structure better aligns with your business philosophy and objectives.
Make a note of the ways you want your chosen cloud service to work for you. If regular performance reports, automated billing, event management, virtual desktops, database management or blockchain capabilities are vital for your company, make sure your chosen provider offers what you need.
As you seek to discover what capabilities would be most ideal for your business, consider the virtual services and features you already employ as a part of your daily operations, as some providers are incompatible with some existing cloud services. If you already use a certain SQL server for your applications, for example, check ahead of time to see if you could either integrate your existing data and operations into the new cloud structure or if it would be simple to transfer should you decide to switch to a new provider.
Every tech company, depending on your niche within the industry, has varying compliance requirements. Ultimately, it’s up to you to make sure you are on top of your own responsibilities with regard to industry compliance, and that begins with thorough research into the offerings of the provider. It’s wise to research whether the provider will be able to validate compliance through an internal or third-party audit system.
Perform due diligence with the provider’s background, reputation, experience and certifications to ensure you entrust your data with a trustworthy organization. Come equipped with a full understanding of your own compliance requirements, and take into account that you may need to supplement with additional systems with certain providers.
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Last Updated on February 8, 2022.