Does Cloud Computing Really Drive Business Agility?9 July 2014
Tips for Differentiating Your Product11 July 2014
So you’ve decided to make the decision to sign up for a cloud service – how do you decide which one to plump for? This can be a far from easy decision given that, as one might expect from a hugely popular technology, there are now a multitude of cloud computing services available.
Ultimately, there is no definitive answer to this question as everyone’s needs are different. What you need to do in order to find the solution which suits your specific requirements is to look at some of the key features of a cloud provider. So here is a rundown of some of the characteristics of cloud computing providers that you might wish to take into consideration.
Security and Safety
It might seem likely that absolutely everyone would care about network security. And of course this is true to a degree. But the degree of security required can actually differ quite considerably from one business or individual to another.
If you’re moving lots of sensitive information around then the way that you’re data is backed-up and the security provisions in place for your chosen vendor will be extremely important. If your data is significantly less sensitive then there is not as much need to prioritise this particular issue. But be sure to carefully examine your prospective vendor’s failover options, contingency plans, and physical security before deciding which one is for you.
Flexibility Connection and Deployment
One of the big advantages of the cloud is its flexibility. It’s perfectly possible once you’ve got a cloud set-up to run existing software either within the cloud or using your existing network. This enables apps that require particular security to be run on-site, and those that need to be run rapidly to operate within the cloud. And also for your business to respond to shifting and evolving circumstances with the company in real-time.
Except that some cloud vendors don’t allow you to do this! Some won’t allow you to use your existing applications with their systems. So if this is important to you – and, frankly, it should be if you’re opting for the increased flexibility of the cloud – then you ought to take this facet of your potential provider extremely seriously.
Another key quality of the cloud is scalability. For those who can’t imagine what this property entails, this really operates in two quite intuitively in a way which benefits virtually all private or corporate users. The cloud grows with your business or needs as required, without needing expensive hardware purchases as would have been essential with conventional systems.
So if you have a business then it’s quite obvious that you don’t want any potential growth to be inhibited by a limited cloud provision. Thus, you must select a provider who has the capacity to scale with you, and this should relate to all of the important aspects related to your company – people, process, infrastructure, tools, and capital resources. In short, make sure you check out the small print before you commit yourself to any cloud deal.
Customer Experience and Customer Feedback
Every cloud provider is in the business of pretending that their particular solution is the ultimate cloud system available on the market. In that respect, cloud computing doesn’t differ from any other system. But reliability of cloud services can in fact differ greatly, much as we all know that broadband ISPs can fluctuate rapidly in terms of connection speed.
It’s difficult to absolutely guarantee that you’re signing up for a top notch cloud service, but what you can do is research the issue. There is tonnes of feedback on the Internet regarding cloud services from customers and business just like yours, so read it, do your homework, and don’t blame anyone else for signing up for a sub-par service.
Purchasing and Contractual Options
Aside from the flexibility of the cloud service itself, the payment plan that you sign up to can have a huge impact on which is the right service for you. The best service is technical terms may not turn out to be the one to opt for when a cost-benefit analysis is carried out. It would be nice to eat caviar every day, but for many of us, it’s just not practical…
Cloud providers differ greatly in terms of the usage and pricing packages that they offer. Work out how much you need to use, how much you want to spend, and search high and low for the cloud provider that suits your budget and needs. Sacrificing a little quality for a pay-as-you-go usage plan that actually saves you money and suits your needs could be an excellent investment.
Cloud computing services are becoming considerably more stable, but they still go down. Even Amazon Web Services, the cloud computing leader by some distance, experienced problems which caused the popular Netflix site to crash completely.
Some cloud vendors post their downtime history logs online, but if you can’t find this for your chosen cloud provider then do some snooping around on the ‘net, and if that doesn’t pay dividend, go to them directly and ask them. If they have nothing to hide, they will doubtless send it to you.
Finally, this last issue will be dependent on the IT skills that you have within your company. But even if you do have some IT experts at hand, clearly a simpler set-up is preferable. Yet the services provided with regard to setting up your cloud service can differ greatly. Some providers walk you through every aspect of initialising their service, while others provide a brief outline. Don’t leave yourself in the lurch; this could be something you will greatly regret.