Moving to the cloud for data storage is a popular choice for companies of all shapes and sizes, from brand new startups to established corporations with hundreds of years of experience. With so many advantages to offer, from workloads efficiencies to cost savings, there are plenty of ways to incorporate cloud offers into the world of modern business. These are the benefits of cloud computing you need to know about.
What Is Cloud Computing and How Does It Work?
Cloud computing, also known as serverless computing, is an alternative to data storage using traditional data centers server storage that relies on internet-based hosting for data and applications. As opposed to keeping files on in-house servers, files and applications are stored in a virtual cloud that allows for access across all devices, regardless of location, and employs machine learning principles.
Most people use cloud computing storage resources without realizing it, even if on a personal level. Things like Dropbox and Google Drive, for example, are cloud storage solutions.
Types of Cloud Computing Platforms
Cloud computing opportunities come in several different varieties: public, private, and hybrid.
- Public Cloud: A cloud storage environment offered by a public company, like Amazon Web Services (AWS)or Google Cloud, that caters to a large number of users. Users pay as needed, but are subject to the policies and security measures implemented by the cloud provider.
- Private Cloud: A cloud storage option specific to a particular company. These clouds can be hosted independently by a company or offered through a third party cloud vendor, allowing for maximum flexibility and security at an affordable rate.
- Hybrid Cloud: A blend of public and private cloud environments. These kinds of clouds are best for businesses that have substantial cloud computing needs but have varying protection needs or extreme seasonality. This is generally the most expensive and complex option.
Cloud technology programs and support opportunities are also variable, including:
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS): Cloud infrastructure as a service options include things like software and storage services on an outsourced basis.
- Platform as a Service (PaaS): PaaS is a cloud-based opportunity that provides hardware and software application solutions to clients.
- Software as a Service (SaaS): Arguably the most common option, SaaS encompasses any application product that is cloud-hosted, like Salesforce CRM. SaaS applications are a big advantage for companies who want to keep application data in the cloud.
The Benefits of Cloud Computing
As with all investments in enterprise solutions, including cloud infrastructure, upsides must outweigh any potential onboarding or startup costs. In the case of cloud computing, there are many advantages that make transitioning from traditional servers to cloud-based services extremely compelling.
1) Cost Savings
For most companies, cost savings is of the utmost importance, and is often a large attraction for those considering switching to the cloud for storage regardless if you’re a small business or you have tens of thousands of employees.
Cost savings due to a move to cloud computing storage manifests in a few different ways. First, most cloud computing services, including both public cloud solutions and private cloud solutions hosted by third-party service providers, charge on a per-user basis. This means that expenses only relate to how many people need access to the cloud, as opposed to a traditional server set up in which costs are flat whether you have one user or 2,000. For companies just starting out, this can be a major benefit in minimizing expenses. Increasing cloud computing server space is easy, too – a process that can be labor-intensive and costly for those using traditional servers
In addition to per-user costs for machine learning, relying on cloud-based solutions can reduce the number of IT FTEs required to maintain servers. Instead of hiring people to make sure everything is working properly, all maintenance issues are handled by cloud service providers. This isn’t necessarily the case, however, for those who choose to host their own private clouds.
While private cloud platforms are often assumed to be the most expensive option, this isn’t always true. Many private cloud providers absorb other services into the per-user cost, including internet bills, help desk services, security, and general support. By including these elements, businesses can reduce their own on-site storage resources to cut costs without compromising on what a private cloud has to offer.
Mobility is a very appealing aspect of cloud computing, particularly in the internet age. Unlike traditional servers, in which data and software options are only accessible when physically at a place of business, cloud computing resources make files, programs, applications, and data available from anywhere with an internet connection. Using cloud platforms can also negate systems incompatibilities as well. Accessing data is generally possible on all devices, including laptops, mobile phones, and tablets.
The mobility of access is a benefit in workloads efficiency as well. With the ability to access everything, from financial data to customer data, on the go, businesses benefit. Instead of being tethered to the office, employees can work from anywhere, increasing productivity and flexibility. The evolution of cloud computing is advantageous to businesses that favor telecommuting and remote work as well; without the need to provide seating space to all employees, companies can cut down on things like rental property size and utility bills.
This is also an advantage to consumer satisfaction; when customers and clients have better access to information and more reliable service, they’re more likely to be loyal to your brand.
With continued threats online from hackers and viruses, keeping your data storage protected is even more important. When your data is hosted in cloud-based software, protection becomes even more critical – but most cloud computing providers make security a priority in a way small and mid-sized businesses can’t.
For those without the resources for large-scale cloud security solutions, a cloud computing provider can offer excellent protection that would largely be otherwise unavailable. Public cloud and private cloud providers alike can’t afford to lose customers through shoddy security, so opportunities are often far superior, from multi-factor authentication to security certificates to patch management. While there can be less control over security measures when using public clouds, private cloud providers offer a hands-on approach, ensuring practices adhere to a company’s goals and objectives.
Growth is a goal for most companies, regardless of age or size. However, historically, servers have not been growth-friendly, with most companies resorting to servers that are too large due to the anticipating future need. Further, expanding traditional server size can be a burdensome and expensive process, particularly when upgrading means adding potentially unnecessary storage space with additional future goals in mind.
The cloud alleviates the pain of this process entirely, boasting a model that grows as companies grow – or one that can be easily downsized should things begin to go the other way. Rather than a set amount of space, storage space is completely flexible and doesn’t cost as much as maintaining a set of servers with future plans in mind.
Since most cloud computing services are on a per-user basis, space can be allocated in a similar manner. When more users and further space are needed, availability scales accordingly. Public clouds are large enough to support hundreds of companies, ensuring that there are no size issues, regardless of needs.
Private clouds can be a little more complex if you host them yourself, but private clouds hosted by a third party can allow for the same scaling abilities as public clouds while still maintaining a customized environment and superior security.
5) Disaster Recovery
Disaster recovery should be a priority for businesses of all shapes and sizes. Without proper protection, it’s easy to lose weeks, months, or even years of hard work that could seriously compromise going concern.
With traditional servers, there are a lot of threats to data. Any number of things, from a spilled drink to a power surge, can ruin standard servers, putting information at risk. With this kind of setup, backups can also be cumbersome, leading to sloppy practices that could put an entire business at risk.
Utilizing cloud computing services can mitigate many of these physical kinds of damages, putting protection in someone else’s hands. With no way for a natural disaster or a property accident to wreak havoc on your records, cloud computing power takes some of the stress out of preserving your information and keeping it safe.
Further, virtual backups are far easier when cloud computing services are in use. Rather than creating and storing physical backups, data can be copied on any time interval, whether you want to back up data weekly, daily, or even hourly. These backups can then be stored on separate servers or otherwise in a different location, ensuring an extra layer of protection should things go wrong. Public clouds may offer fewer options for software preservation, but private clouds can help you find the right disaster recovery options for your company.
Before Choosing Cloud Computing
Moving to a cloud environment can provide a competitive advantage for many businesses, but it’s important to be sure you’re prepared. Keep these points in mind as you weigh your options:
- What is your budget, both overall and on a per-user basis?
- What matters the most to you? Is it accessibility, or are you more concerned with data protection? Highlight your goals before choosing an option.
- Do you have any specific needs, like extreme seasonality?
- Do you have multiple site locations that need collaboration?
- Do you prefer a piecemeal approach, or a comprehensive package that covers all of your bases?
Cloud computing services and its many forms and functions, like SaaS, IaaS platforms, and PaaS, come with major advantages, from saving money to protecting your data. For those who want a complete experience without a significant increase in cost, Avatara is a service provider and an expert in private cloud computing. Our CompleteCloud solution provides competitive per-user rates that cover everything from security for sensitive data to 24×7 customer service, with no capital expenditure to get started. Contact us today to learn more the advantages of cloud computing can provide for you business.