Cloud computing has now become an extremely viable solution for businesses in the UK looking to improve efficiency and reduce investment in costly servers. However, when considering migrating your company’s data and systems from a traditional server to a virtual storage and processing platform, the number of options open to your business can mean that you can get lost in the fog, rather than finding yourself in the clouds. Here’s an outline of the options available, so you can make an informed decision regarding the best cloud service to suit your business needs.
Challenges and Rewards of Cloud Computing
Any investment in IT requires evaluating not only the current and future needs of the business, but also the company’s capabilities when it comes to migration, staff training and access to new technology. With cloud computing solutions, it is no different. The company’s resources, compliance needs, ability to expand and in-house IT support capabilities all need to be taken into account. Making the switch can therefore seem daunting, but the rewards are significant, and include:
- Increased productivity
- Better collaboration
- Reduced costs
- Improved customer/client engagement
- Faster growth and innovation
- Improved cyber security
- Ability to implement remote working policies
The big decisions in adopting cloud computing revolve around what elements of the company’s systems should be placed there - are you prepared to migrate all data and systems, or just some of them, such as email, back-up or data recovery? – and whether to opt for a public or private cloud platform.
The Cloud Solution Options
A public cloud platform, upon which your company buys space on a provider’s shared server can be fast, relatively easy and scalable to meet growing or reduced needs. On the other hand, companies with an eye on data protection and stringent security requirements, such as meeting GDPR compliance, might prefer the enhanced security of a private platform that enables them to retain full control of their data.
There is a third option: adopting a hybrid approach that includes both public and private cloud platforms, while retaining elements of your current in-house tech solutions. The big advantage of this is cost-efficiency, but it also enables the business to retain control of their data.
Many SMEs don’t have the necessary resources and IT expertise to adopt, integrate and manage a private cloud, but regardless of their size, they still need to know exactly where their data is, how it is stored, and have access to it at all times, not just to keep the business running, but to comply with GDPR’s demands for data protection and governance. These requirements should be met across the board, whether you opt for public, private or hybrid solutions.
Deciding on the right cloud solution for your business requires looking at your IT needs, and finding the right fit based on your organisation’s priorities.
Public Cloud Solutions
Public cloud solutions are a good fit when your business needs to:
- Establish server and data centre resources quickly
- Find an efficient, flexible and scalable option
- Support business growth
- Maintain and improve business communications and collaboration
- Improve security requirements
- Use the cloud as an OpEx, or pay as you go model
Private Cloud Solutions
Private cloud solutions may be more expensive and have less ability to scale, but they can meet specific needs, including:
- Secure control and management of the IT infrastructure
- Increased and secure storage space for all data
- Enabling the in-house IT team to maintain control of all business-critical operations
- Improving the efficiency and productivity of internal IT staff
- Compliance with data protection legislation
A hybrid solution can be seen to offer the best of both worlds, whereby the business can migrate some processes and systems to a hosted public cloud to benefit from its flexibility and scalability, while storing more sensitive data on internal servers or software to maintain full control of it.
A company opting for a hybrid approach can, for example:
- Migrate email to a public cloud platform while storing financial data on an on-site server
- Use a public or private cloud service to back-up data and communications while using the traditional server to store and back-up the personally identifiable information of consumers, customers or clients
- Set up access to useful information for customers and clients on a file-sharing service while keeping all confidential company information on a local network server
The important thing to remember is that if your business does choose to go with a hybrid approach, a policy and process agreed by the IT team and all relevant stakeholders needs to outline:
- What data and systems are to be migrated to the cloud and which stay in-house
- Who should have access to each
Processes then need to be put in place by the IT team to ensure that the right people have access to the right data and systems, and that any unauthorised access can be monitored and blocked.
Each company has its own unique needs and goals, so the right cloud solution for your business will only be found when you:
- Know the requirements of each application you use
- Have an agreed vision of future growth plans by establishing a clear IT roadmap
- Have the IT resources you need, whether that’s in-house or by outsourcing to an IT support service, to oversee and manage migration
- Understand the costs and potential value and return on investment
- Create an implementation plan that ensures business continuity while migration takes place
Help to Make the Right Decision: Your IT Support Service
Deciding on the right option for your business can be a major challenge. Individual departments may vie for priority, while the process of researching, choosing and implementing your solution can take up time and resources you can’t afford to spare if you want to keep your business running.
That’s why hiring an IT support service in London is advisable. They can offer the unbiased and expert advice you need to make the right decision, assessing your current IT infrastructure and plans for future growth, and matching them to the cloud option that suits you best. They can also oversee deployment and provide the management services and IT support you need, so you can avoid getting lost in the cloud conundrum, and keep a clear vision of where you want your business to go.
Find out how the team at Optimity can help your business find the right IT solutions by getting in touch, and discover what tech support need to stay ahead of the competition by booking an IT audit with us: