If we go into further detail of the types of Cloud Computing, both Public and Private can be defined as follows:
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) cloud computing means you’re buying access to raw computing hardware over the Internet, such as servers or storage. Since you buy what you need and pay-as-you-go, this is often referred to as utility computing. Ordinary web hosting is a simple example of IaaS: you pay a monthly subscription or a per-megabyte/gigabyte fee to have a hosting company serve up files for your website from their servers. Software as a Service (SaaS) means you use a complete application running on someone else’s system. Web-based email and Google Apps are perhaps the best-known examples. Platform as a Service (PaaS) means you develop applications using Web-based tools so they run on systems software and hardware provided by another company. So, for example, you might develop your own ecommerce website but have the whole thing, including the shopping cart, checkout, and payment mechanism running on a merchant’s server.
Lowered Costs – Cloud Computing offers tremendous advantages to small and medium size business in terms of reduced costs. You only pay for what you use, nothing more
- Scalable Storage Options – You can scale your companies storage needs seamlessly rather than having to go out and purchase expensive hardware.
- Automatic Updates – There is no need for IT to worry about paying for future updates in terms of software and hardware.
- Remote Access – Employees can access information wherever they are, rather than having to remain stationary much of the time.
- Ease of Implementation – Without the need for implementation of hardware and various other components which can take several hours. You can be running your business in almost as much time as it takes to setup a facebook account.
- Response time – Cloud computing accomplishes a better response time in most cases than your standard server hardware.
- Even playing field for small startups – This allows small companies to compete more effectively with some of the larger businesses. This balances the playing field.
- Green Computing – Cloud Computing uses less energy than traditional data centers which is important to many in this day and age.
- Performance and Durability – Run your websites and saas applications at a much faster rate with the benefits of using a much more durable service.
- Greater dependency on service providers. Can you get problems resolved quickly, even with SLAs?
- Risk of being locked into proprietary or vendor-recommended systems? How easily can you migrate to another system or service provider if you need to?
- What happens if your supplier suddenly decides to stop supporting a product or system you’ve come to depend on?
- Potential privacy and security risks of putting valuable data on someone else’s system in an unknown location?
- Higher ongoing operating costs. Could they work out more expensive?
- If internet access is down does that mean your business cannot function?
So in summary if you think cloud computing could be of benefit for your company these are some things to consider;
- Ensure you choose the right provider, Consider areas such as the range of services and applications they can provide, their service level agreements in terms of guaranteeing availability, and their provision of on-going support for their solutions. Other areas to consider would be minimum contract terms, the ability to easily scale up and down in terms of the services.
- Select the right Services / Applications, there are literally thousands of cloud based applications and services to choose from. Most can be customised but there will almost certainly some restrictions and some will also be bundled with packages that just aren’t required and can cause confusion.
- Prepare your company and your staff for the transition. As with any technological migration preparation and education are key to it’s success. Many Cloud Computing providers offer support and user training to ensure you and your staff are getting the best experience and utilising the full potential of their service.
- Choose how and where cloud computing will fit into your business, your chosen provider will assist you with this but don’t assume that because you’re replacing all your in house systems it will transform your business, migrate only to those services which can add real value to your business.