Around 20 years ago cloud computing revolutionized business. It became a powerhouse tool for dramatically ramping up software efficiency, cutting costs, and enabling record-speed access and data processing. The cloud literally became the single-most powerful differentiator between market leaders and market laggards. But time has shown that the cloud of yesteryear is not the panacea many thought it would be. Security and privacy have proven to be two of its biggest pitfalls.
Today businesses have options to configure the cloud based on the unique needs and requirements of their operations. Here are some things to consider before jumping in.
Types of Cloud Configurations
There are three main types of cloud configurations available: the public cloud, a hybrid cloud, and cloud service providers. Let’s define each to see how each configuration can impact your business.
The public cloud is best defined as services offered by third-party vendors over the public internet. The services are available to anyone who wants to use or purchase them. Public cloud services can be bought and sold on-demand, and are sometimes free. They occasionally allow customers to only pay for the actual services they’re using.
Public clouds can reduce the expense of converting to the cloud. The service provider handles hardware and maintenance costs of storage servers. Public clouds can be deployed faster than private or hybrid clouds. They have the added benefit of immediate scalability and access. Every person in an organization can immediately use the cloud for storage no matter what device they use. One of the potential drawbacks of using a public cloud is security. However, when protected and configured properly, public clouds can be just as secure as private clouds.
- Quickest set-up compared to other cloud configurations
- Organizations can easily convert to cloud services at a lower cost.
- Provides the least opportunity for customization or à la carte resource acquisition.
A private cloud is a segment of the public cloud whose share of configurable computing services are reserved exclusively to a single user or organization. The services are offered over the Internet or an internal network.
While private clouds offer many of the same benefits of public clouds there is a major difference. Private cloud servers are purchased, managed and maintained by the organization’s IT department. Plus they offer the ability to set and monitor firewalls on an internal level increasing security control.
- Fully customizable
- Best security affordances
- Businesses can configure the private cloud to their needs
- Added IT overhead
- Generally the most expensive configuration.
- Requires routine maintenance and care for optimal performance
The Hybrid Cloud
Hybrid clouds combine public and private clouds. This configuration allows data to be shared between both. A hybrid cloud is an attractive option for its ability to scale operations and resources fast without massive expenditures and budget stress for short-term demand.
Hybrid clouds also allow organizations to pick which resources to buy and maintain. This finite control eliminates the need to spend on extraneous resources and equipment that might not have long-term use. The clear benefit of hybrid clouds is that it merges the best of features of all cloud options.
- The most flexible cloud option
- Flexibility in choosing resources
- A full commitment to a private cloud is not necessary
- Of all cloud configurations, hybrid clouds are the most cumbersome to set up
- Some third-party cloud service providers do not allow for hybrid cloud use
Cloud Service Providers
Once you’ve reached a decision on a cloud configuration, here are more things to consider before deciding the best cloud service provider. What are the top motivating factors for migrating to the cloud? Modernizing legacy systems? Operational agility? Scalability? Security? Cloud service providers offer a wide range of services, protections, and packages. Having a clear list of priorities can help create a short list of providers that meet your cloud needs.
A provider that has mechanisms for easy deployment, management, and upgrading of applications and software is important. This can help save time and money in the long run.
It might also be the case that a hybrid configuration is not necessary at the beginning. If later that changes, ask yourself if the service provider offers support for a hybrid capability.
Security is a top-priority initiative right now. A large consideration in determining the security capacity of a service provider is its infrastructure. It should be able to handle all types of cloud services if this is important to the organization in question. Do they use identity management? What do they have in place for data backup and retention? These are all important security features that should be considered before selecting a service provider.
At the end of the day...
Choosing the right cloud configuration can be daunting. But with the right considerations beforehand, it can be easy to find the best solution for your organization. If you don’t want to go at it alone, trusted technology partners like JDK can offer strategic advice and technology expertise. Their consultative services help weigh priorities and contribute to implementation.