Managed IT Service, Cloud

A Beginners Guide to Cloud Computing

September 15

Cloud services have really evolved in the last 5 to 10 years. Cloud services are flexible, scalable, and secure. You have the advantage of choosing the services you need, exactly when you need them. A predictable cost structure helps with no surprises planning. Cloud computing gives you the ability to hand off the parts of your organization related to IT infrastructure, and let pros deal with that while you concentrate on your business. In this post we explore Cloud services, and why businesses are choosing to make the move to the Cloud.  


 What is the Cloud? 

Simply put, it is the delivery of computing systems over the internet. This can be from a business perspective-Servers, databases, software.  People are already using the Cloud in their everyday lives as well. Services like Google Photos, music playlists on Spotify, or Netflix are all Cloud services. Cloud computing is not just something in the business world, people are using it every day. 


Why are businesses choosing to move to the cloud? 

For a variety of reasons. One example it budgetary. As technology ages it can become unsecure. If you find yourself in a position where you need to upgrade your IT infrastructure it can become a huge capital investment. If it is not beneficial to spend that money up front it makes more sense to choose Cloud services. Sometimes businesses will go through a growth spurt, and need to add storage, power, or team members. Instead of hiring experts related to their platforms or applications, they can augment by using Cloud services.  

At the end of the day, the Cloud is scalable and gives businesses the type of flexibility they need to accomplish their goals. 

 In terms of primary use, is it more about storage or computing power?  

You might need additional storage, more computing power, or both. Maybe just some applications or expert help on managing your services. The cloud gives business owners the flexibility to have it all. 

Say you decide on a plan and then your business grows. What happens if you need additional resources? 

It is all about flexibility. You pay for what you need. If something changes and you need to scale up or down, you have the flexibility to do that. As your business grows and your needs change you can modify your Cloud services. As opposed to having to predict what your needs might be in the future or pay for something now, when you might not need it for another 12 months. You are paying for it as it  is required. If you find yourself needing more power, storage or adding team members, you have the advantage of grabbing it when you need it. 

What about the cost?  

Cloud services are all about setting up a client with expectations of predictable cost. Whether it is resource utilization or on a per user access basis, you know exactly how much these additions will cost. Most importantly, you can predict what your costs are. You have the access fees and what services are costing, are so there are no surprises. If the business grows you know up front what the incremental cost is going to be. This can be a huge advantage from a planning perspective.  

 Is there maintenance that is needed? Like with a computer or server, sometimes there is hardware failure. What happens if you have data and applications in the cloud and there are issues?  

On-premises really means equipment or services you own and have on premise-like a server you keep at your physical location. In this case, the client is responsible for maintaining it. You would need in-house expertise, like an IT department and the associated costs that go with that. Ultimately, the business takes responsibility for making sure the system stays functional and secure. 

Whether it is a public or private cloud, the maintenance is the responsibility of the provider. You do not need to worry about maintenance, updates, patches, or security. All of that is built into your subscription and is part of the service they offer to you.  


What about security? Is this more secure than an on-premises server?  

Cloud providers invest in engineers and specialists that learn best case practices that strengthen security posture.  

Technology is forever changing, and as a business owner it can be difficult to invest the time and money required to keep the environment safe. A cloud provider has built in professionals to make sure that the best policies are in place and up to date. They have schedules for automatic patches. You get expertise from others that are focused on security and implement that on your systems and your data. It is like a bank. When you deposit your money, you are taking advantage of all the security they already have in place vs having a drawer in your house and then having to try to build security around that. You just pay a small fee monthly to have access to an already secure location. You are leveraging the security that they have already put in place for an entire environment.  


What is the process like to move from an in-house server to a cloud server?  

Make a call to a cloud provider that offers the services you are looking for. Depending on the services you need. They can outline the expectation and what you need to move. They can plan a migration with little or no impact on their business. We have had people use it while in the middle of a migration. With the right provider the process can be seamless.  

Want to learn more? Listen to episode 6 of our podcast, Technology Simplified-Tech Talk Everyone Can Understand.