Why Are Cloud Services Important in Business?
What Cloud Services are and why your business needs them
What are cloud services?
Cloud services or cloud computing is the ability to deliver computing resources such as applications, processing power, and storage over the internet without the need for expensive infrastructure equipment on-premises.
We all use cloud services in our day to day, from uploading your latest Facebook status to checking emails from your colleagues, so it's helpful to know what they are and how they work.
How do cloud services work?
Cloud services are offered by cloud service providers and work by delivering computing resources over the internet as and when users need them.
This can range from cloud storage, applications, and telephony services. These providers use their own servers and equipment, removing the need for businesses to use their own infrastructure.
This means that businesses can opt for simpler cloud solutions that require no expensive equipment or highly skilled engineers to maintain it, allowing them to scale at a steady pace without the worry of downtime and high repair costs.
One of the most appealing factors about cloud services is that you only pay for what you use. This results in lower operating costs and gives you the ability to scale your business as and when you need to, without breaking the bank.
What are the benefits of using cloud services?
There are plenty of pros to using the cloud in business. Here are just a few.
Cost is a big worry for any business, large or small. This is why cloud services are good to have; they remove the need for expensive infrastructure that needs constant maintenance and management.
Not only does it mean you aren't spending heaps of money on equipment that you'll need to upgrade in a couple of years anyway, but it also does away with the high cost of skilled IT staff to sustain it.
One issue for small and medium businesses is being able to keep up with the growth of their workforce. As more people join the workforce and the business grows, employees are going to need increasingly more resources.
The beauty of using a cloud solution is that it is scalable along with the companies growing requirements. It's as simple as requesting more licences for an application or paying for more storage when you've run out.
Losing data can be a nightmare for businesses. It can often mean the difference between a companies failure or success, not to mention all of the legal issues surrounding the collection and storage of customer data.
Cloud services ease that anxiety by allowing this information to be stored securely online, meaning that it is not lost in the event of a malicious virus or hardware failure.
When a business is growing and expanding, it needs to keep up to date with the latest technology to maintain that competitive edge.
Most major cloud service providers use state of the art data centres that get upgraded regularly with new equipment, all at no extra cost to the users.
This ensures that your business is up to speed, without the additional expense and hassle of upgrading your own infrastructure.
Different types of Cloud Computing
There are a few different types of cloud computing each designed for different purposes, scenarios and use cases:
Private clouds services and infrastructure are run and maintained on a private network and is owned by a private organisation. Its resources can only be used by the organisation itself and its customers that pay for the service.
It is not controlled by any other entity other than the company that owns it. This is beneficial in a few ways as you are not competing for resources. Companies that can't afford their own private cloud often pay cloud service providers to use theirs.
These are generally purchased around business needs and include SaaS (Software as a Service), IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), and UCaaS (Unified Communications as a service), amongst others.
The difference between public cloud and private cloud is that the public cloud offers cloud services via the internet rather than a private network. One significant advantage of this is that it allows for resource sharing and scalability that is not achievable for one single company.
This is because public cloud providers have much more infrastructure than a private organisation would, which allows for many more resources to be shared between large amounts of users. They achieve this by using a "multi-tenant architecture" often housing numerous customers on one piece of equipment.
As you probably already guessed, a hybrid cloud is a combination of both public and private cloud. The two are linked together via network infrastructure and programs that allow applications and data to be shared between them.
This gives businesses more flexibility as they can separate private information such as customer data, sales information, and HR details while also using a public cloud for other, less sensitive applications that require more processing power.
Which is the best option for your business – private, public or hybrid?
This answer to this question is different for different organisations, depending on their individual needs.
If you're a solo entrepreneur that is just looking for accounting software and a safe way to store client information securely, then a public cloud solution is your best bet.
The initial cost is low, there is practically unlimited potential for scalability, and you can be confident in the fact that your information is safe from potential loss or corruption due to the comprehensive disaster recovery plans offered by public cloud service providers.
For a small business, it is recommendable to use a hybrid cloud service. This is because hybrid clouds offer great agility, allowing you to scale up or down at short notice as and when the business requires it.
It will give the company the ability to use public cloud services for applications that require heavy workloads, leaving the private cloud/on-premise equipment free for more sensitive and critical business operations.
Large businesses would also benefit significantly from hybrid cloud services for the same reasons, scalability and agility. Organisations have to be ready for digital change at the drop of a hat these days, and hybrid cloud services allow for this.
Combining the expandability of a public cloud with the security and control of a private cloud keeps businesses on the front foot of expansion and growth.
Again, these are just examples. When choosing a cloud service, businesses must assess their own needs and requirements, both present and future, to make the best decision for the company.