In 2015, the global cloud computing market had a growth rate of 28%, according to research. Similarly, a survey has found that 68% of respondents were using either a public, private or hybrid cloud arrangement in their IT portfolio in 2016.
Further growth is expected as business adapt to the technological advances and advantages that cloud computing offers. Part of the growing adoption rate is due to the number of small businesses who are choosing not to believe the myth that it is “just for big businesses” and who are becoming wise to the advantages that cloud computing can offer them.
With so many options available though, choosing the best cloud computing solution for your small business can seem a daunting task and migrating to the cloud can often be overwhelming.
Below we highlight your options to assess the best solutions depending on your requirements:
When we talk of public clouds we basically refer to the Internet and service providers such as Amazon, Windows and IBM who offer resources that can include storage and SaaS (Software as a Service) to the average users on what we refer to as ‘public clouds’.
The advantage of these public clouds is that there is that there is a low upfront cost as services providers bear the cost of the applications and hardware. Apart from not needing to buy servers, you can avoid high Capex costs and they are relatively cheap to begin with. There also is no requirement to have a team of IT staff in order to work with them.
Therefore, the main advantages are the economies of scale that they provide as you essentially pay for what you use under a pay-as-you-go model.
Despite this advantage, there are some limitations to using public clouds, mainly regarding their inflexibility. There aren’t many options offered when it comes to customisation and configuration and you won’t get to choose the hardware that your server sits on. There can also be limitations concerning SLA specificity and security.
If your small business uses or handles sensitive data, then these clouds could not meet your requirements or the necessary compliance/ISO standards.
Another disadvantage of public clouds is that they give you very little control over the environment, and you can’t be sure who is accessing your data behind the scenes. With a shared platform, there is no way to control who else is using the same server and this can potentially cause performance issues if other users are having problems
Public clouds can be a good option for a small business if you are looking to avoid the initial costs of buying applications or hardware. However, once you begin using the service as a full cloud user, the costs can rise significantly. As it also gives you extremely limited control or customisation options, it probably isn’t the best platform for a small business.
With a private cloud, you are essentially moving your data centre to the cloud. This is an environment that can very much be built to your specification and the needs of your business. You can have near-complete control over security, scalability, monitoring and flexibility.
With a private cloud, you can significantly control costs and even reduce the long-term operating cost compared to public cloud environments as you have total awareness of the processes and steps required for your workload.
As they are an extremely controlled secure environment that you manage at will, you can fine-tune the performance to meet your exact requirements and optimise performance. Private cloud environments can be configured to support your business applications. Also, logistically, it can often to be a simpler process to move from your current on-premises environment to a private cloud than from an on-premises environment to the public cloud.
Depending on your provider, most private clouds are adaptable to growth and you can increase or decrease the environment as needed. Private clouds can prove to be expressly useful if your business has specific features in legacy applications that stop some applications from functioning effectively in the public cloud.
Private clouds also allow for high performance access to file systems that other might not function effectively in the public cloud.
In terms of security, private clouds can offer several advantages over public clouds and if your business deals with sensitive data, you can protect it by adding strong firewalls so you meet the necessary regulations or compliance standards.
With private clouds, a main disadvantage is that there can be a high initial cost upfront for these environments. This can see hosting providers adjust the operating costs accordingly.
Another disadvantage is that it isn’t as straightforward to reduce the size of server. This is because private cloud environments can have a bigger operating and Capex setup and therefore the value on that must be retained.
As you are not sharing your environment with other users, you also no longer share the costs as you might with a public cloud. However, this also means that other people’s problems won’t impact your business.
There are many reasons why a private cloud could be beneficial for your small business. If you require dedicated infrastructure for compliance and additional security, then it can offer a better alternative than the public cloud. If your IT team is not equipped to migrate your applications cost-effectively, then you could benefit from using a managed cloud service provider such as Veber.
Image Source – Thomas Kelley
As their name suggests, Hybrid clouds combine both above options, linking the public and private cloud. With this solution, you can use the private cloud to store connections, workflows, and known environments such as databases, bank transactions and financial information that you would prefer wasn’t in the public cloud. The public cloud is therefore used for other systems and processes, such as the front-end web servers to allow them to grow significantly.
Hybrid clouds can be highly scalable, in a fast, reliable manner. They are also incredibly flexible as, if a workload requires additional resources, these can be accounted for in the public cloud. For example, if the bandwidth of data storage capacity is at its threshold in the private cloud, processes can be transferred to the public cloud.
Unlike the public cloud, hybrid clouds also allow small businesses to govern their IT settings and control where data flows to and from. You can also add security and encryption as required and ensure that it works in a way that best-suits your business needs.
From a programming and development perspective, there is more flexibility and control as the growth is on the front end and businesses can reduce costs by making the private cloud back end.
This also allows you to easily carry out maintenance and transfer data during natural disasters and scheduled power outages
A hybrid cloud environment can be significantly more complex than the public and private cloud.
A hybrid cloud is the best of both worlds can offer great advantages to small businesses, although because of the complexity, start-ups may wish to look at the other options initially.
Small businesses who require a high level of data security can greatly benefit from a hybrid environment and it can offer users fast, reliable access to data.
A hybrid cloud solution is becoming increasingly popular amongst businesses and is well worth looking at for your business.
Image Source – Marius Masalar
Cloud computing can be the best investment a small business makes. Whether you are looking to share files, business critical applications, documents or want a reliable data back up option, there will be the right solution for you. Ultimately, choosing the best cloud solution will depend on your current and future business requirements. By gauging your storage, accessibility, and data security needs, you can best determine which one is right for you.
At Veber, we believe that your small business should get the solution that it truly needs. Our approach is to create bespoke environments for your bespoke business, as it will have unique requirements.
Get in touch today to see how we can help build an effective cloud hosting partnership to grow your business.
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