Outsourcing Your IT to The Cloud
For a small business, outsourcing IT to The Cloud can really help drive success.
Cloud-hosted services, applications and data are extremely reliable, readily available, optimised and efficient, as well as offering reduced capital expenditure. Yet many companies are still unsure what The Cloud is, because it’s a fairly vague term that in reality describes something comprised of many different technologies and solutions. The simplest way to think of The Cloud is to view it as a 3-tier stack consisting of the following services:-
The first tier of Cloud services is called Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). It works by providing virtual hardware, such as computers, raw processors, and storage software platforms. Instead of being physically based in an office, employees can access their data via the internet. For small business, IaaS is often used to provide virtual servers that can act as a server on your network, but without the capital expense associated with the procurement of software and hardware – or ongoing hardware maintenance and running costs.
The second tier, known as Platform as a Service (PaaS), provides all the resources necessary for small business owners to create their own software and programmes. Usually this will include an operating system, programming environment, database, and web server. This can save you the cost of storing and investing in the hardware and software which would otherwise be necessary. An example of PaaS application in the Small Business environment is the provision of a managed database server with operating system and database platform.
The third tier available is Software as a Service (SaaS), which provides you with software and programmes which are available and ready to use. You can run them remotely, without having to go through lengthy installation processes or worry about how your hardware will cope with the application. Widely used examples of SaaS include Office 365 and Cloud backup.
While IaaS and PaaS will have some value to businesses large enough to have their own computer installations, it is SaaS, with its access to applications that often provides most value to small businesses.
Although The Cloud may not be the complete utopian solution, it’s still a highly proficient and diverse platform that, when properly aligned to business objectives, can really take your business to the next level.
Generally, when considering moving key infrastructure, applications, or data to The Cloud, there are generally three principle concerns that clients have:-
- Data security
When it comes to embracing Cloud computing, security is the main worry on most people's minds – and the question that we’re most often asked is “Will our data be kept safe?”
With reputable Cloud suppliers, the answer is yes. In fact, the level of security provided, backed up by in-house experts who follow the latest developments, is generally much better than most small businesses can manage.
We’re extremely careful which Cloud vendors we choose to partner with, and always ensure that they have comprehensive security measures in place to protect your applications and data.
- Controlling your information
The next issue that comes up is control, as your data is held on a system that doesn’t belong to you. Moreover, you won’t know which computer – or, often, in which country – it’s stored on. So, to what extent do you still own it?
It's certainly an area where you need to be well informed. Depending on where the data is held, you may be subject to different laws – particularly where data containing personal information such as employee records is concerned. In the event that your data is disclosed or withheld by your Cloud supplier, you may be in breach of contract with your customers and may end up damaging your reputation at the same time. Different Cloud suppliers have different contractual terms which you should be aware of, as they may impact your ability to fulfill your legal, contractual, and moral obligations.
We ensure that all of our Cloud vendors host client data in the EU, so retained data is subject to EU data protection laws which are amongst the strictest in the world.
Finally, some people are concerned that it’s difficult to "mix and match" Cloud services or change vendors. Combining services to get different Cloud applications to work together is a valid concern, because The Cloud isn’t generally based on common protocols and standards.
Transferring Cloud services, applications and data between vendors can be difficult, leading to concerns of ‘vendor lock-in’. For instance, if you use a Cloud service for your records or accounts, what happens if you then decide that you want to swap to a different vendor, or want your accounts application to work with another Cloud, or in-house application?
We address these concerns through our careful Cloud vendor selection. Ensuring that they are reputable and well established also often means improved cross-application compatibility, as well as simplified migration to other vendor platforms should the need arise.
Apogee Solutions can help you find the right Cloud services!
We’ve been deploying Cloud services and migrations for years – our extensive expertise has us well placed to help you transition some, or even all of your operation to The Cloud.
Get in touch today to see how The Cloud can help your business succeed by reducing costs, increasing efficiency, and streamlining productivity.
Apogee Solutions - Technology for Success
Contact us today on 0330 124 6174