In today’s rapidly changing technology environment, cloud computing has proven to be especially valuable for small to medium sized businesses. Small businesses can now capitalize on the benefits of cloud services by avoiding deployment of expensive, physical network infrastructure. Traditionally, IT services such as data and communication management, as well as software installation and upgrades were implemented by onsite file and e-mail servers, and data storage systems, which were maintained internally, by IT personnel.
The results of the 2015 Enterprise Cloud Predictions and Trends survey by 2nd Watch indicated growing confidence in cloud infrastructure. Along with this newfound assurance organizations are forecasted to have expanding budgets for public cloud integration. 2nd Watch reported, “More than half, 54% of companies polled will invest 15 to 25% more next year on public cloud infrastructure, and 10% will increase public cloud infrastructure budgets by 30% or more.” Additionally, the most influencing factor as cited by the survey, is the cost savings resulting from incorporating the use of public cloud services within an IT system.
The prevalence of cloud services and lower costs provide entrepreneurs, small home office businesses, and mom-and-pop companies, access to sophisticated technology without the expense of an internal IT consultant. Another added bonus that comes with running cloud services is the: “anywhere, anytime” availability of these solutions. In fact, for various companies of different sizes and technical requirements, the majority of the small business technology needs can be fulfilled almost completely with cloud-based services.
However, the increase of businesses using cloud services does raise many questions about security, stability, and data ownership. One major concern is that cloud servers and infrastructure are subject to outages that are beyond a business’ control. Due to unknown uptime reliability, and with the potential of devastating consequences many business owners and executives remain leery about handing off data and technology services to third-party providers.
Many businesses countered these possible risks that come with being completely dependent on third party service providers by moving to hybrid cloud solutions. A hybrid cloud is an IT environment where an organization utilizes and manages some network resources onsite and has others provided externally. For example, an organization might use a public cloud service, such as Amazon S3 for archived data but continue to maintain onsite storage solutions for operational customer data. This hybrid approach to IT and cloud services allow businesses to capitalize on the benefits of a public cloud-computing environment without exposing critical applications and data to third-party security vulnerabilities.
This approach would work to aid in managing multiple clouds as a single entity. A sound network design would also need to take into account and address the details mentioned above as well as any other specific needs unique to the organization. Taking precautions to manage these items should help to successfully harness the power and cost savings of a hybrid IT system.