The move toward cloud computing is no longer a question hedged with “ifs” and “buts”; it is a “when.” In some cases, cloud adoption tops the list of the CIO. Why is that?
The cloud promotes and opens up new opportunities for business. With almost no additional capital investment in hardware and software, companies in the West can reach out to the vast markets of the East, and vice versa. Remotely located sales teams can access enterprise information over the Internet and update customers with the latest information on their products. Customers can reach out to the company or its sales teams over web portals for information about or to purchase the product. Support teams can offer their services to both customers and employees using a number of web-based tools. Problem solving is simpler, faster and more efficient. Administrators can monitor sales and other business activities from wherever they are using whatever computing device they have on hand. Knowledge bases can also be added for a one-stop learning resource.
Interestingly, all the above activities can be performed securely and in real time. User-level authentication protocols can be used to implement the company’s access policies, and impregnable, user-defined algorithms can be used to encrypt the data and make it inaccessible to the unauthorized.
Cloud vendors use replication and mirroring technologies to ensure high redundancy and availability of information, and to put in place adequate disaster recovery systems to facilitate instant recovery of data — bare metal or otherwise — onto local or remote systems/data centers. Failover configurations are used to seamlessly switch between primary and secondary servers to reduce any kind of downtime that may occur due to failure of the primary server in the cloud-based data center.
Unlike companies that maintain their own in-house infrastructure, the cloud data center is wholly scalable. The underlying infrastructure layer is abstracted and divorced form the application layer; this facilitates scaling up or scaling down of both the infrastructure and the applications, and frees the end user from worries about space or resource utilization. In public clouds, resource sharing ushers in economies of scale and reduces costs associated with holding and maintaining a computing infrastructure. The pay-as-you-go billing model helps organizations pay only for their actual consumption of resources and applications.
Factors to consider before selecting a cloud service provider:
• Speed of deployment: Is it fast to deploy?
• Speed of operation: Is it fast to work with?
• Support: Is 24x7x365 support available?
• Ease of use: Does it have an intuitive, easy-to-use interface?
• Scalability: Can it scale up or down at any time?
• Uptime: Is there guaranteed uptime spelled out in the SLA?
• Accessibility: Will it give you access anytime, anywhere, in any device?
• Customization: Is it easy to customize based on your needs?
• Features: Can features be added or removed based on your needs?
• Company: Will the company be in business for the long haul?
• RPO and RTO: Ensure that these objectives are included in the SLA
• Location: Where is the data kept, and is the data center safe and secure?
• Flexibility: Can the cloud service’s offerings be public, private and/or hybrid?
• Compliance: Is it compliant with government legislation specific to your industry?
• Security: Are firewalls, anti-virus and encryption included, and routine security audits performed?
If you have selected the right cloud service, your organization will benefit from cloud computing in numerous ways. So, select your cloud vendor—including your cloud backup service provider, very carefully—and launch your organization into the cloud now!