Cloud services can amplify the capacity for teams to get work done and provide expanded services to your clients. As many workforces shift to a remote or hybrid workforce, the cloud is both the present and the future. It is no longer a question of “if” a business will need the cloud, but when and which solution will work best. In this article, we’ll discuss some of the considerations a business needs to make in refining cloud service needs.
What is the cloud, and why does it matter?
Many businesses had to quickly shift to a remote workforce during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Utilizing the cloud allows employees to access important information no matter their work location. In addition, storms can knock out infrastructure businesses need to operate, and the cloud can be a means to support disaster recovery.
It is important to determine what business problems are most pressing:
The cloud is a useful tool for businesses, but you need to determine your priorities to be able to find the best solution for your business.
There are three main types of cloud deployment models, or how you will connect to your chosen cloud service.
- Public. You may be familiar with two of the most popular companies in this area: Amazon and Microsoft. Their cloud environments, AWS and Azure, respectively, are examples of managed cloud hosting. Public cloud provides lots of storage, making it available to a wide range of users. Users rent the program and hardware services as opposed to buying programs and hardware. The vendor handles all the maintenance, administration, troubleshooting, backups, and capacity planning.
- Private. A private cloud is like a public cloud environment, except it offers more control over privacy and security. Private clouds use hardware and a network that is not shared by anyone outside of the company or organization.
- Hybrid. Combines on-premises datacenter or server and public cloud resources. This allows organizations to leverage the best of both environments.
8 things to consider
You should review your security goals when determining your cloud needs. The various types of cloud deployment models have varying levels of security.
If you are concerned about security, a private cloud server is one of your best options. Services such as Google Cloud Platform (GCP), Amazon Web Service (AWS), and Dropbox function as public cloud servers, meaning resources are shared among any user that signs up for the service. Public cloud is inexpensive, but fewer customization options are available. Additionally, public cloud servers can be the subject of attack because of the large amount of data stored on the server.
Private cloud, on the other hand, limits resource allocation and access. Industries such as defense and healthcare might require companies to utilize a private cloud server.
One of the drawbacks of private cloud is a reduced sense of accessibility. Accessing a private cloud server can require you to sign into a webpage and perform multi-factor authentication. Or you may need to use a virtual private network (VPN) to access the server, limiting your ability to readily access information if you cannot use the VPN.
If your industry has specific compliance standards, you’re going to want to make sure the cloud you choose meets those standards. Whether you are following GDPR, HIPAA, or any other framework, make sure you understand what it will take to achieve compliance once your applications and data are living in the cloud.
When choosing a cloud provider, you need to think about how the architecture will be incorporated into your workflows now and in the future. Email is arguably the most important tech function for enterprise businesses. Whether used for internal or external communication, a crippled email system can bring operations to a standstill. Often, it can be best to stay with the platform you’re already working with.
For example, if your company has already invested in the Microsoft universe, it might make sense to proceed with Azure. If the intent is to continue with or switch to Outlook, we would recommend additional services such as OneDrive, which serves as file storage, and SharePoint, which allows for collaboration on projects, make sense as additional tools to consider.
For clients that are Google-based and prefer to stay that way, we would encourage them to stick with their current ecosystem.
Storage capacity is another vital consideration for cloud service. One of our Clients in the design field, for example, uses high-resolution image files to create graphics products for customers. One server alone has more than 50 terabytes of data. The Client also needs to have the files readily available to consult with current customers or to provide examples for prospective customers. The amount of storage a cloud provider allows you to access, and how quickly, should also be something to think about.
If you have services that are particularly vital to your organization, make sure that the cloud provider you choose offers an easy way to integrate with them. You’ll also want to determine how much time and effort it will take your team to manage various aspects of the cloud infrastructure. This is an excellent place to consider if you will seek a managed cloud services provider (MCSP) or utilize a managed IT services provider (MSP) that offers cloud management services. Utilizing an MCSP or MSP for cloud management can alleviate the stress of managing your cloud services.
This consideration is essential when businesses have strict needs in terms of availability, response time, capacity, and support. In terms of the Service Level Agreements, particular attention should also be paid to the legal requirements for the security of data hosted in the cloud service. You need to be able to trust your cloud provider to do the right thing and you need a legal agreement that will back you up if something goes wrong.
Some cloud providers will only provide support through chat service or a call center. Others may offer a dedicated resource, but there may be restrictions on time and access. Again, working with an MSP can provide additional support for your cloud systems, providing top-tier service no matter the cloud selected.
Various cloud providers have different pricing structures. Pay-as-you-go and time- or data-based rates can cause large fluctuations in your bottom line. Working with an MSP can ensure a flat fee and a steady bottom line, often treating cloud management as an “endpoint” in your Service Level Agreement.
How Anteris can help
When you consider how the cloud may serve your business, lean on a company with deep experience in all cloud and on-premise platforms, so you can be sure the right strategy is in place for many years to come.
At Anteris we offer a variety of cloud management services to best suit our Clients. In addition to our partnership with public cloud providers and our hybrid options, we offer Anteris Cloud Solutions, a private cloud in a local space. Your data would not be in a shared space, but rather in a private, redundant infrastructure. This would reduce your IT footprint, provide secure remote access to the infrastructure, and allow for affordable redundancy.
Let us work with you to determine the best cloud services option for your business. Schedule an appointment today to find out how Anteris makes cloud services freeing, not frustrating.