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Frequently asked questions
Moving to the cloud may feel like a big challenge for some companies. Understanding cloud computing and where your company can take advantage of the numerous benefits is often a difficult task. We asked you for your top questions on cloud computing and we have listened.
Cloud computing is described as the process of using a network of remote servers, hosted via the internet, to store, manage and process data, rather than hosting it locally. Essentially, cloud computing is using someone else’s infrastructure and hardware, thus, reducing the amount of capital investment your business needs to make.
Companies that choose to shift to the cloud do so for several reasons. The benefits of flexibility, scalability and cost savings are weighed against availability concerns. It is important to evaluate if cloud is right for you from a strategic and operational perspective. This can be achieved by asking some questions about your business:
- Does your demand for IT vary throughout the year?
- Are the costs of IT impacting your ability to grow as a business?
If questions like these are concerns, you may consider a cloud option that can be easily tailored and scaled to your needs without the need for capital outlay.
You should evaluate your current IT setup to understand the benefits of moving to the cloud, especially in the following areas:
- Service – how important is security, reliability and flexibility to your business? Is your current solution meeting your needs? Is there room for improvement?
- Technology landscape – how many business users are there? What is the geographic distribution of your user base? Do your employees require remote access?
- Cost – Are you satisfied with the costs of your on-premises solution? Are the costs for hardware and services to scale up or upgrade acceptable?
- Ease of migration – when did you last invest in significant capital expenditure? Do you have any contractual and vendor commitments that constrain migration?
Developing a cloud strategy begins with outlining your technical and business objectives. Understand what the drivers are for your company to shift to the cloud and what solutions these drivers require. Your cloud strategy may be to start small and gradually, or your business may be in a position to dive right in. Once you identify your needs, you can better understand if your cloud strategy should include public, private or hybrid cloud solutions. Lay out a road-map and timeline to execute your shift to the cloud.
By and large the easiest and most common workload to shift to the cloud is backup. Backup as a Service (BaaS) is easy to use and helps mitigate major business continuity concerns of downtime and data loss. Cloud-based backup can be used for multiple environments or just one environment – depending on what restrictions your company decides to place on cloud usage.
These days, with cyber-attacks on the rise, security is a major concern. Cloud providers put numerous security parameters in place so that, in the event of an attack, your data is secure and can be restored. These tactics include encryption, identity management, and physical security. Providers should also have business continuity plans in place that utilize redundant hardware, backup generators, and other measures to prevent downtime. Data centre locations will also have security in place like badge access restrictions, security cameras, fences and more. Also, cloud providers have several certifications in place for HIPAA, PCI-DSS, SOC, etc… which means that they have been evaluated by third parties and are deemed qualified to handle private and confidential information.
Major cloud providers have several data centres around the world and where you store your data is completely your choice. This helps with both internal operations as well as meeting your regulatory requirements. Cloud providers will outline this and will also include your access, security, services and support when you partner with them. To ensure the accessibility of data, cloud providers develop a service level agreement (SLA). The SLA will detail what happens in the event of an outage and protects the customer in certain situations.
Many companies do not take the time to consider the essential prerequisites prior to shifting to the cloud. For the most part, this is relatively simple as it simply requires you engage a Cloud Service Provider (CSP) to handle this transition for you. A major component to consider that is often overlooked is your network bandwidth. With the strain on local internet connections brought about by cloud computing, you may consider upgrading your bandwidth or investing in SD-WAN technology to increase connectivity.
No, as technologies like Virtual Machines and Docker Containers allow your data to be moved between cloud environments as you see fit, such technologies will also help you with the details of data archival and relocation services. Since cloud-based technology so closely mirrors traditional computing, you will find that the flexibility of computing translates well to the cloud, including the flexibility to pack up and move on when you so desire.
We are here to make sure that you are in control of the goals you want to achieve and how you want to achieve them. We are here to act as your business partner in this transition, to ensure that both you and your customers achieve business greatness and overwhelming value. Despite being a critical part of a business nowadays, we understand the frustration and complexity that comes with deploying and / or managing a cloud infrastructure. We’re here to help.
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