The Cloud Guide for Beginners
The latest trend in the technology front of every industry is making the big move from on-premise services to the Cloud. You might have heard big corporation and small talking about how they are saving millions of $ now since they moved to the cloud. But, most of you might still be wondering what is this highly spoken Cloud all about? Does my company need to make the big move as well?
Let’s get a clear picture of what cloud is and what are the benefits you can reap out of it, whether you are startup or running a large company.
What is the cloud?
Simply put, cloud is a set of resources available to you, to get your job done. As a starting point, lets see how our day to day activities are linked to the cloud. Most of us use Google photos to uploads and save pictures, or Dropbox to share files. Well all of these services are present on the cloud and your data is being stored on cloud.
An extension of the basic cloud is the concept of Cloud Computing which is a shared set of resources like servers, operating systems, storage devices, applications can be accessed on-demand over the internet for any computational needs. Still confused? Let’s look at some examples for a better understanding. For instance, if you have a website, you must be hosting it on Bluehost or HostGator etc, they provide you with an operating system to run 24/7 for your website to be accessible, storage for saving your web pages and media files and other resources.
Yeah, now I see you are getting there!
Using cloud platforms has several advantages, here are the most significant ones to look at if you are looking to make the move onto cloud –
One of the biggest concerns you might face when your data resides on infrastructure that you don’t own, is security. There are various security measure you can take to protect your data, and most cloud platforms avail these facilities. If you have highly confidential data moving in and out the cloud, you can always use encryption keys – provided by cloud platform or your own to protect the data. Also, certain industries need to follow security rules for protecting their data, like HIPAA for healthcare industry, PCI compliance in case you are handling any online transaction. All of these are can be taken care of on the cloud.
To cite a compelling example – the most secure enterprises like CBI and NASA are leveraging cloud for running their daily processes. Need I say more?
Cost of Ownership
When all your services and resources reside on the cloud, there is no need to maintain huge data centers (plus no more power bills!). There is no need to buy a ton of hardware for running your processes, or invest in software licenses. You also don’t have to hire a large IT team to take care of infrastructure set up or taking care of the security, all of this will be handled within the cloud. You can immediately see a huge difference in your investments when you take these points into account.
Well it does cost some money to avail premium support and the cloud platform support team will make recommendations for handling your IT to best fit your business needs. But you could justify this cost if it is going to save you millions!
Most cloud service providers take responsibility to assure that your services hosted on the cloud are fault tolerant. You don’t have to worry about losing connectivity to your resources over the internet, they are guaranteed to have up time of ~99.95%. You can also choose to make it highly available by distributing the load on multiple servers too.
Let’s say you are running a brick and mortar store and want to build a global presence with your online store. You can setup your website to be available to different parts of the world by placing it in multiple regions.
Structural changes happen all the time, so you need to give some thought around how flexible your platform is to handle those changes without any major refactors. So when you start building your infrastructure, you can choose resources based on your business needs like the OS you want to set up, the network capabilities, the storage size etc. When your business demands changes you can alter the resources with ease – like changing the type and size of server you are using. All changes are in place with just a couple of clicks.
Backup and Recovery
No matter the size of your organization, you always need to take precautions and be prepared for disaster recovery. A lot of organizations still rely on automated processes or even worse, they have individuals taking daily backup of their data files.
When your data is on the cloud, you have the luxury of just setting up rules and leaving the rest to be handled by the cloud platform. Your backups and data recovery will be taken care of without having to wait for IT teams to take action in case of emergencies. Also, the time for recovery is much shorter when you compare with on-premise recovery processes.
With growing businesses, there is a need to add on resources to your stack for coping with larger workloads. Let’s consider any ecommerce website, during the holiday season, they expect a lot of traffic to their website so they can scale up and add resources to handle the additional traffic. Once the holiday season is through, they scale down so they can save $$ by shutting down resources when they are not being used. Scalability applies to bandwidth as well, you can tell the services you use, the number of requests/users it can handle.
Cloud platform have various features that can take a lot of burden off your business and you can focus on building your business without worrying about IT infrastructure. It is advisable to invest good amount of time to understand the best cloud platform for your organization and computing the costs for running all services within the cloud. You can take a look at the most used cloud platforms here.This gives you a clear picture of what the benefits you will see moving to the cloud!