The cloud can be broken down into public, private, hybrid, and multi-cloud solutions. Choosing the best cloud service – or a combination of them – can be an important decision for your business.
Demystifying cloud buzzwords
Although an understandably confusing concept, the cloud is actually much simpler than it may seem.
“The cloud” simply refers to the act of using a remote computer or server to store data or run programs. It is not, as the name implies, an invisible mass of data floating around in cyberspace. In fact, the cloud relies completely on a vast network of physical cables and data centres in order to function.
You likely already access the cloud on a daily basis. Platforms like Google Drive, iCloud, and Microsoft OneDrive are all cloud-based. Web-based email services like Gmail or file-sharing platforms like Dropbox are also examples of cloud technology.
Public clouds are some of the most commonly used cloud services. Public clouds are operated by third-party providers, such as Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure. The physical hardware (i.e., cables and servers in data centres) is “shared” among other subscribers, which simply means that because public clouds are in essence multi-tenancy platforms, data from other “tenants” will be stored using the same hardware as yours. Public clouds typically feature a pay-as-you-go format depending on the amount of cloud storage you use.
Private clouds differ from public clouds in that they are hosted either on your business premises or at a service provider’s data centre. The infrastructure is dedicated solely to your business, making it a single-tenant platform. While public clouds are very secure, private clouds allow for heightened security, increased flexibility and greater customisation. Because of this, private clouds can often be more expensive than public clouds.
The hybrid cloud is essentially a combination of public and private cloud approaches. A company using the hybrid model will have some storage and services with a public provider, while other related and connected elements of the business will operate via a private cloud.
Multi-cloud is an ever-growing buzzword, and although similar to a hybrid cloud strategy, it differs slightly in that there is no connection amongst the use of the two types of cloud services. Instead, different public and private cloud services are utilised depending on separate business needs.
What benefits can the cloud offer my business?
Cloud services offer unmatched benefits that are transforming the way companies operate.
The data you choose to store in the cloud is fully encrypted and accessible only by you, making it an extremely safe and secure platform to use. The cloud provides an extra layer of security by safeguarding against your data being lost or stolen. Sharing access to data has also never been safer than over the cloud, which protects against a potential security breach caused by employees emailing important files back and forth.
Available anytime, anywhere
Cloud services are completely transforming how – and where – people work. They offer a more convenient and collaborative service that can be accessed across different devices for flexibility of working, allowing people to access materials anytime, anywhere with an internet connection.
Drive cost savings
Implementing cloud services instead of using physical on-site file storage can help drive attractive cost savings for a business. Cloud solutions eliminate the need for much of the hardware a company would need to invest in – not to mention the money spent on related labour, maintenance, and upkeep.
Aid in disaster recovery
Automated backup features in cloud services can help prevent loss of important data for employees, aiding in disaster recovery. Cloud solutions are speedy and efficient, helping to minimise downtime when accessing files.
How safe is the cloud?
Implementing the correct security solutions to prevent cyber-attacks is essential for any organisation. Although any piece of digital data can be at some risk of a security breach, proper safeguards are put in place in both public and private cloud services to dilute this risk.
Risk of cyberattack
Public cloud services can have an increased risk of security threat due to the large amounts of data being stored, however they also provide many layers of deterrent to combat intrusion. Service patches and fixes are automatically applied behind the scenes, meaning that a customer should not even be aware that a breach was attempted. Private cloud solutions offer a higher level of control and security by acting as a single-tenancy environment.
Implementing the cloud in your business
Which cloud solution is best for your business can depend on a number of factors, including your current levels of usage, regulatory issues that apply to your sector, and the sensitivity of your data. Many SME’s utilise public cloud solutions, while large corporations likely will opt for private cloud solutions. Implementing a multi cloud strategy or hybrid-cloud strategy may be the best option to meet your needs.
Industry-leading cloud service providers
Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform and IBM Cloud are just some of the industry-leading cloud service providers that can equip your business with the customisable cloud solutions you need.
Choosing between the cloud and a server
Servers are reliable and popular pieces of hardware that can provide excellent storage solutions. However, with an average shelf life of only about three years, servers require constant upkeep and replacement, costing your business maintenance and labour costs. They also do not protect against natural disasters or theft, which can threaten loss of important data. It is vital to consider the benefits of the cloud and determine whether they outweigh the disadvantages of physical servers and hard drives for your business.
What if I don’t know which cloud solution is the right one for my business?
If you aren’t sure which cloud solution is best for your business, reach out to one of our friendly technical experts at Fitzrovia IT. We offer customisable cloud services ranging from public to private to hybrid cloud solutions. As a Microsoft partner, we are Microsoft Cloud certified to administer support, conduct training courses, and implement security solutions to protect your data. Our skilled engineers, consultants and project managers can offer top-level strategic consultancy to fully managed support for the adoption of cloud computing services.