What is the Cloud?
If the movement towards cloud computing could be seen from a satellite, it might look like a school of fish moving as one, so great has been the gravitational pull of ‘the Cloud.’
According to the National Institute of Standards (NIST) in the United States, cloud computing is “a convenient, on-demand network access allowing computing into shared resources (servers, data banks, software, etc), for commercial use.”Or, put more simply, using computer services over the internet. The British government has adopted this definition, too.
Why consider cloud computing for your business?
There are several great reasons for businesses to utilize the Cloud, and only a few possible downsides to consider. However, it’s a hyper-complex field with novel professional jargon like cloud brokerage, cloud aggregators, white label cloud service, and so on. Any company wishing to use the Cloud, whether it’s their first time or to upscale their Cloud activity, would be well-advised to seek professional assistance.
If you’re in London, UK, IT relocation services from Computers In The City or other consultancies often include cloud relocation for data, as well.
Which Cloud provider to choose?
When discussing the Cloud, one’s mind usually turns towards the USA and the five big players – the top two cloud services, Google Cloud and Amazon Web Services, are common household names. However, that’s a very narrow view of the Cloud market. There are several British Cloud providers, as well. In fact, the British Cloud market is the third biggest in the world. Be sure to ask about them when you seek guidance from your IT firm on cloud computing. Your IT consultants will be able to guide you on which provider(s) to choose. Close behind the UK in cloud services are other European countries, of course, but more surprisingly there are also African Cloud providers entering the market. It’s no longer purely a North American speciality. In 2017, the Cloud market was dominated by the big five in the US and ‘predictable’; now, the market is particularly different, with local options and new developments. Expert guidance on selection is required.
The British Government dictated in 2011 that all government agencies must consider using the Cloud before all other options. Recent figures show that in excess of 78% of British government public sector agencies use cloud-based options; this may be one of the reasons cloud usage in the UK is particularly high.
Reasons to turn to the Cloud
A common reason for cloud computing is a need to reduce operational costs, whilst simultaneously increasing IT efficacy. Using the Cloud means less necessity to purchase and manage expensive software and equipment, even possibly the notion of reducing the IT department in the company.A cloud provider will make available such software and processes as agreed in the contract. With the dynamic transformation of business practices and geographically dispersed staff members, one particular benefit of cloud computing is the increased collaboration potential.Through cloud computing, staff can work anywhere, anytime, on any device, therefore being more collaboratively involved.
Traditionally, business growth meant purchasing new servers, new PCs, new laptops, new software and licenses, etc. This isn’t necessary with cloud computing.The Cloud provider will upscale the package as per the agreement you have with them.
Increased security is also a major consideration when looking at cloud computing. Storing data in-house may be safe but storing it on the Cloud is exponentially safer; there are layers of security on the Cloud which makes it virtually impregnable.
Another good reason to consider the Cloud is your company’s disaster backup plan. Every company should have a well-structured disaster recovery plan, which is as essential as a business strategy. With the Cloud, this becomes almost superfluous; if everything goes down on-site (malware, fire, floods, breaks-ins, etc) you need not worry. Everything will be backed up and safe on the Cloud.
There are many reasons to move to cloud computing, and very few reasons not to– however,seek advice from a reputable IT consultancy near you to see what works best for your company.
The Cloud and the Law
Certain local, national or regional data laws may mean that using the Cloud necessitates a little extra thought. It is possible that certain compliance requirements may mean your IT consultant will have to look more carefully at your choice of provider and what is included in the agreement with the provider. The EU GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) is a pan-European data protection law, and the UK remains wedded to the GDPR for the foreseeable future regardless of Brexit. The IT consultancy you use needs to know the code inside and out to be able to provide you with the right guidance, especially when deciding what parts of your operation should go to the Cloud.
Are businesses locked into using only one Cloud provider?
When moving to the Cloud, any business will sign an agreement with the Cloud provider. The service level agreement(SLA) should ensure a degree of safety against risks with the move. Again, a good IT consultancy will provide the right guidance on what goes into that agreement. In signing an agreement, there is value in considering how easy it may be to exit the agreement or move between different Cloud providers, should the need arise. Many companies use more than one cloud, spreading their eggs across many cloud baskets, as it were.
Expert help is at hand
Cloud computing is an incredibly complicated new field and constantly undergoing change. Every business looking to move all or part of its IT to the Cloud should seek good advice from experts in IT. In theory, any business could make the move itself without help, but for a successful and cost-effective business move to the Cloud, seeking professional advice is worthwhile. What you need is someone who understands this exciting new field and can assist with planning and implementing a successful transition to the Cloud.