Cloud-based solutions have significantly contributed to streamlining and improving the way businesses operate. Gone are the days when organizations had to spend thousands to purchase servers and database centers to store and access files and applications. Today, companies can instead use cloud-based services to make information management and business operations more efficient and secure.
However, with too many choices available on the market, businesses must learn how to choose the best cloud solutions. By doing so, these enterprises can maximize the benefits that cloud technology has to offer.
What Is Cloud Computing?
This technology involves the delivery of services using different information technology (IT) infrastructure such as servers, databases, and networking tools. Users may access these services through the internet. Using cloud-based solutions no longer require clients to purchase costly devices to access data and applications. Additionally, cloud solutions allow users to access services on-demand.
There are three significant classifications of cloud computing service models:
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS): This model allows your organization’s resources to be hosted and accessed through the internet. Instead of purchasing hardware, a company will have to purchase IaaS from specific IT firms.
- Software as a Service (SaaS): As the name implies, companies operating under this model offer subscriptions to applications hosted on the cloud. As such, most SaaS programs can be accessed online and often without the need for installations.
- Platform as a Service (PaaS): This service type allows companies to manage and deploy software applications even without an existing infrastructure.
Contact top data center consulting firms like Quadbridge and other similar providers near you if you want to know more about how cloud services work. Keep in mind that identifying the suitable model for an organization takes a thorough assessment of its IT infrastructure and environment.
6 Tips To Identify The Ideal Cloud Solutions
Before running to the nearest computer to search for an IT company, take time to perform a few of the following doable steps:
1. Know What Your Business Needs Are
While you may feel like you’re unable to make a full assessment of your IT environment without the help of in-house staff, there are a few things you can perform. Start by studying your overall business processes and look for gaps. Do the same for each of your departments and analyze how cloud solutions can improve them.
For instance, businesses that want to prepare for business continuity can rely on the cloud to store their valuable business data and ensure they don’t get destroyed once a natural disaster strikes. Additionally, enterprises that want to scale up and improve business efficiency without spending too much can tap IT firms to provide cloud services. Whatever your business problem may be, you should take the time to identify them before you can find the best solutions.
2. Have Your Current IT Environment Assessed
As mentioned, you’ll likely need to consult with IT experts to develop a proper IT environment assessment. This activity entails specialist knowledge of your current work processes, usage, and needs, as well as operational workflows, file storage needs, and other core business activities.
The nature of your business, its setup, and your specific needs, such as downloading and uploading large documents, will also be considered in the assessment. You should also make sure that these IT experts will help you identify security and access controls in your current setup and the ideal configuration your business should have.
3. Discover How Cloud Security Will Be Handled
Determine your specific cloud security requirements based on specific regulations and check whether the cloud service you’re planning to subscribe to meets them. For instance, healthcare facilities are covered by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which lays out regulations on gathering, keeping, and sharing patients’ health and personal data.
Go through this quick list to ensure compliance:
- Check the security terms to understand how a cloud service provider protects your business data.
- Make sure that their security policies align with yours to make for a good fit.
- Ensure you understand the cloud provider’s terms on accountability and resolution, especially in a suspected or an actual data breach.
- Don’t hesitate to ask questions and certifications to back up the company’s security-related claims.
4. Learn More About Cloud Data Management And Compliance
Besides data security, your organization must be aware of the regulatory frameworks on data privacy and protection that apply to your industry or country. HIPAA was already mentioned as a regulation that’s applicable to medical facilities. In Europe, all entities are subject to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which is considered one of the most stringent policies on security laws. The law also applies to organizations outside the EU if they collect information from EU residents.
If you’ve been having problems with data management or are running out of storage options, it’s time to consider a cloud service. However, before choosing the best solution, though, understand how your cloud service provider keeps your data and where. Ideally, the provider should offer your business some control on data management or be transparent about it. You can ask the cloud provider for more information on this if they don’t provide the data proactively.
5. Find Out About Cloud Service Manageability And Compatibility
Being subscribed to a specific cloud service doesn’t mean you don’t have to do any heavy lifting to some degree. That’s because you can’t place all your responsibilities on your cloud service provider. Check the agreement to know where your responsibilities and that of your service provider lie. This is a crucial consideration before choosing the ideal cloud solution for your business.
Apart from understanding the terms and conditions of this crucial business collaboration, ask the provider what platforms are needed to access data and run programs if you’re not subscribed to PaaS. If you have existing business software and you don’t want to switch to other systems, make sure that your cloud solutions are compatible with them. If this isn’t possible, make sure that the new system won’t cause significant problems to your team.
6. Ask About Service Terms And Inclusions
Business entities that don’t have an in-house IT team must ensure that their cloud services run smoothly. Before choosing a cloud service provider, make sure that you know where and how to contact the company in case of unpredictable events.
Providers must indicate the terms of the partnership under the Cloud Service Level Agreements (Cloud SLAs). This document should be legally enforceable so you can have peace of mind in dealing with the cloud provider. Check whether the company has robust customer service support channels to address your concerns and queries. While relatively stable and secure, cloud solutions may have occasional issues, and it’s vital to choose a cloud service that provides great customer support and service.
The Bottom Line
Choosing the best cloud solutions for your business may sound like a daunting experience, but it shouldn’t be. Consider your current business needs and resources before coming up with a list of potential cloud solutions.
Rank your cloud solution needs according to your business’s operational priorities. Ultimately, before embarking on a partnership with a cloud service provider, consider the critical points discussed in this article to optimize the benefits of these solutions.
Jason is the Marketing Manager at a local advertising company in Australia. He moved to Australia 10 years back for his passion for advertising. Jason recently joined BFA as a volunteer writer and contributes by sharing his valuable experience and knowledge.