What it Means to Host Data in the Cloud
Hosting data in the Cloud means paying a hosting company a monthly fee to host your information in their data center instead of an on-premises (on-prem) solution in your office. Some of the most well-known Cloud providers include Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, and Google Cloud. Local data centers are also an excellent option to host your data and infrastructure. Known as COLOs, they provide multiple layers of redundancy and give you the ability to host your physical servers and infrastructure.
Here are some business advantages of Cloud computing:
Business decisions often come down to cost. Some owners feel they are “renting space” and find monthly Cloud hosting fees a nuisance. However, when you add up all your costs, Cloud services typically save businesses money over the long term.
Base subscriptions typically provide ample storage, security, email services, file sharing, and additional perks. Also, if your Cloud provider is a Managed IT Service Provider, subscriptions include ongoing system monitoring, software maintenance and updates, advanced security solutions, and ongoing service and support.
Should you choose to keep everything on-premises, you’ll need to make a significant upfront investment in your infrastructure. For example, you’ll need all the necessary hardware, keeping in mind that most businesses have to replace their servers every three to five years. You’ll also need to budget for software licensing fees, backup services, a server room, power, HVAC, battery backups, etc.
To ensure you receive all the features you need, ask what is (and is not) included in your plan. Here are some questions to ask your Cloud Provider before you sign.
If COVID-19 taught us anything, it is the importance of giving employees any time, anywhere, always ‘up’ access to the applications and files they need to do their jobs efficiently and without interruption. While remote access isn’t a new concept, the remote technology used by Cloud providers is superior to the applications typically used by businesses.
Cloud computing allows your team to access everything they need on any computer or smart device. This level of mobility allows for easy file sharing, real-time collaboration, and better version control.
Partnering with a reliable Cloud service provider also means your access is always ‘up’ due to these facilities having redundant power, battery backups, and standby generators.
So whether you are still supporting a remote workforce, have employees who travel, or just want to provide your team with a better work-life balance, Cloud storage is the most efficient and cost-effective way to support your staff.
If you’re a growing business or hoping to expand your footprint, your infrastructure will also need to grow. You’ll need to purchase new servers and computers, additional software, and increased memory and computing power. Also, don’t forget to budget for space, labor, and expertise to make it all happen.
Most Cloud providers offer a pay-as-you-go model, making it easy for companies to scale their needs, increasing or decreasing capacity. For example, with just a few clicks of the mouse, you can add more storage, CPU, or memory. This flexibility dramatically cuts your overhead costs and reduces your ramp-up time as you expand.
Most business owners agree that securing their proprietary information and customer data is a top priority. Most cloud providers offer a higher level of security than typical on-prem solutions. Strong security measures include formidable firewalls, Advanced Next-Gen Antivirus software, Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA), and other security services.
Gartner estimates that public Cloud service workloads will suffer at least 60% fewer security incidents than those in traditional data centers. RapidScale claims 94% of businesses saw improved security after switching to the Cloud. Also, 91% of companies surveyed said maintaining their data in the Cloud makes it easier to meet compliance requirements.
Reputable cloud storage providers include many features that help avoid data loss, including built-in redundancy, failover, backup, automatic logging, monitoring, etc. Some Cloud providers, including ACT, include backup and disaster recovery in their agreements, ensuring the shortest possible recovery time should a disaster occur.
Unreliable backup and disaster recovery solutions are two of the most significant risks to businesses storing their data on-premises. Even if you back up data nightly, you will likely lose all the data created between backups if the local hardware fails or is compromised.
How a Managed Service Provider Can Help Manage Your Cloud
Transitioning to the Cloud can be a struggle. Many companies require help to migrate to the Cloud, as it is not always black and white. A credible Managed Service Provider (MSP) like ACT can help.
Working with a Managed Service Provider ensures your big picture is addressed. A Managed IT Service contract provides you with many benefits for one flat monthly fee, including:
- Cloud hosting
- Managed IT Services
- 24/7/365 monitoring
- Proactive maintenance
- Software and application updates
- Managed backup and disaster recovery solutions
- Advanced CyberSecurity Solutions
We understand the Cloud can be scary when you don’t know where your data is kept, who has access to it, and who is securing it. However, no matter how you feel about it, Cloud Computing and storage are here to stay. We strongly recommend it because, in most cases, Cloud Computing is well-suited to support growth goals, offers advanced layers of security, and ultimately adds to a company’s productivity and profitability. The key to success is ensuring your infrastructure is architected and secured correctly from the very beginning.
We invite you to contact an ACT Cloud Specialist to learn how converting to the Cloud can help your business save money and operate more efficiently and securely.