Yes, you are right when you say that you have been hearing laymen and experts talk only about Cloud for the last few years. And yes, you might be right when you say that many people talk about the Cloud only to sound clued into the changing times. But no, if you think that this is only a passing fad, you are wrong. Cloud computing is not just a nice sounding new fad, it is the reality of the present and the necessity of the future. Whether you are a multibillion-dollar enterprise or a medium-sized enterprise trying to break even, cloud computing is something that you cannot do out today, and it is going to become even more useful in the years to come. As we begin the new year 2019, let us take a step back and look at the Cloud in a bit more detail, which would help to convince you that it is high time that you migrated to the Cloud.
Before you begin to think about migrating your business computing and storage to the Cloud, you should be aware of the different models for providing Cloud services. We usually talk about three popular ways in which Cloud services are used. The three aspects for which Cloud services could be needed are computing infrastructure, computing platforms, and software. Let us take the example of Google to see how these three different requirements are met. The Google Compute Engine provides its infrastructure to users on a cloud, whereas the App Engine from Google is a platform on a cloud. All the Google apps use software as a cloud. The IaaS model (infrastructure as a service) is ideal for you if you are fine with all your applications being housed in and run from a third-party data center. The development and deployment of their physical infrastructure is then completely moved to the cloud service provider. On the other hand, a small business using a PaaS (platform as a service) would have to develop separate pieces of code which would be then dropped on the remote platform, where it would provide a completely visible environment for infrastructure management. If the small business needs to use subscription-based licensed software, then it could go in for SaaS (software as a service).
Before you go for a complete migration on to a Cloud, you should be aware of the potential pitfalls of such a move. The first and foremost thing you need to worry about is the security of the data and the applications. You not only become dependent on the service provider for security, but you might also have to depend on the service provider of debugging of your applications when needed. The service you use would need to be completely compliant with all regulatory requirements. If you are deploying your infrastructure on your own premises using certain proprietary software or applications, then all of those might not be available on the cloud, and you might need to also migrate your programs on to the software and applications provided by the cloud service provider. Finally, the distributed architecture in use in your premises might not fit in exactly with the hierarchy provided by the cloud service provider, so before you make the move, you should be clear about the transition and how much time, effort and money the transition will take.
Now that you have got a brief idea of the different types of cloud services available, and the potential risks you should look into, let us understand why cloud is beneficial to you. There are some immediate benefits you would achieve, while some benefits would accrue to you as you move further along your company’s life cycle. Here are the reasons why you should take a call about migrating to the cloud.
For a small or medium sized business, the immediate benefit that comes from moving on to a cloud environment is the reduction in costs. When you manage your own software and infrastructure, you have to worry about upgrading your hardware and licensing all your software. These costs are irrespective of how many people are using your setup and how much traffic it is handling. When you move to the cloud, these costs can usually be converted into a pay per use model, which helps you pay lesser at the start and scale up as your business begins to grow.
When your business grows, the growth is not always in terms of size and scale. Often your business grows in terms of geography as well. A good cloud service provider would have data centers in multiple locations, allowing you to use different servers for different site visitors accessing from geographically different locations. It usually also takes care of different time zones, allowing you to be available 24 x 7. The same logic applies to your employees and business partners as well. A cloud environment allows your employees to work from different locations seamlessly.
Disaster management and business continuity plans can be made simpler when your business is using a cloud environment. The implementation of disaster recovery systems is much simpler and faster when your data and systems are on the Cloud. This allows you to keep tighter control on your resources and bounce back faster when there is an unforeseen outage.
Storage of data is a costly affair at the best of times. And when your business is growing by leaps and bounds it can become prohibitively expensive. Setting up infrastructure on the cloud saves you from the worry of spending more and more to keep on adding storage capabilities as your business progresses.
If you look at the above reasons you will realize that moving the computing requirements of your business to the cloud is a very smart decision. The longer you take to make the move the more difficult the transition will be, both in terms of time taken and the costs involved. That is why the sooner you make the move the better it will be for your business.