Companies are embracing the cloud in a big way and software developers are moving this way too. In fact, by 2022 it is forecast that up to 60% of organisations will use an external service provider’s cloud managed service offering. This is double the percentage of organisations since 2018. (Source: Gartner)
What does Cloud Service mean?
The term "cloud services" refers to a wide range of services and platforms delivered on demand to companies and customers over the internet or via secure VPN connections to a data centre.
These services are designed to provide easy, affordable access to applications and resources, without the need for internal infrastructure or hardware. The services can also be designed and configured for more complex bespoke scenarios to meet the needs of larger organisations.
Why Move to the Cloud?
Reduced IT costs
Moving to cloud–based services will reduce the cost of managing and maintaining your IT systems. There are normally no big up–front expenditures around hardware infrastructure. Additional savings can be made in the related running costs, licensing costs, internal IT specialist support wages or 3rd Party IT support costs.
Organisations can scale their usage and storage needs up and down on demand and with increased flexibility. The need to purchase additional hardware on licenses for a traditional on-site solution is removed.
BCP (Business Continuity Planning) is an ever-present concern for organisations of every size. Knowing your applications and data are saved and backed up securely in the cloud is essential. In the event of a disaster, like a fire or flood, downtime is minimised, and business can get back to work quickly.
As most public cloud–based services are provided and managed by IT providers like Microsoft and Amazon, you can be assured your infrastructure is always up to date with latest service and security updates to protect your system.
Cloud Platforms and services give much great flexibility around teams and user collaboration on documents or projects. It helps increase efficiency and user productivity.
Recent experience with the Covid 19 pandemic has shown that organisations need to provide greater flexibility for their users’ work practices. Cloud Services have enabled organisations to function nearly at full capacity during the pandemic as users perform all normal daily tasks and workflows from home or isolated workspaces.
Third-party IT providers deliver services hosted in the cloud over the internet. They are usually offered as a “pay as you go” service. These services comprise applications for customer and transaction management. Unlike the private cloud, the public solution does not require a big financial capital outlay.
This is an ideal solution for SME’s or small start-ups that want to access to the latest technology and systems without the need to invest in physical equipment or infrastructure.
Advantages of Public Cloud
Public cloud allows organisations to throttle up and down requirements and resources on demand for when greater computing and storage resources are required. The public cloud controls and dynamically allocates resources without input from specialist or experts.
With no large capital upfront costs for hardware, there is no need to hire specialist staff to maintain the system or deploy the solution. You only pay for what you use and are billed accordingly.
BCP & DR
BCP (Business Continuity Planning) and DR (Disaster Recovery) is high on every organisation’s requirements and is included with public cloud services and solutions. Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure have their datacentres configured for automatic fail over to multiple datacentres within each territory in case of outage or denial of service to a specific centre.
Disadvantages of Public Cloud
As public cloud is designed for multiple users, there is a “one size fits all” approach. Complex applications or convoluted network architecture can be difficult to customise in the public cloud space.
It is a public cloud and you don’t own the service. This means less control over how your information is handled. Understanding the risks associated with this, however small, is important when making the decision to use the public cloud.
Cloud services are supplied by a single organisation, data centre or infrastructure to internal users. A private cloud provides a dedicated environment that is available and accessible only to the organisation who is responsible for planning, implementing and managing it. This can be done with a company-allocated server host locally within an organisation or by a third–party data centre.
The private cloud has all the advantages of cloud computing without sharing infrastructure and resources with other organisations as can be the case with the public cloud. The private cloud model is mainly used by companies that seek to have greater control and customisation in their hosted environment.
Advantages of Private Cloud
Private clouds tend to be specifically customised and configured environments on dedicated virtual server infrastructure accessible to a single organisation. The company who sets up the private cloud has direct control over the system, security polices, encryption standards and its data.
As the environment is dedicated to a single organisation it is much easier to control, customise or change specific standards.
A Private cloud may deliver higher availability as it does not have to manage the large number of concurrent users that may be accessing a public cloud offering.
Disadvantages of Private Cloud
As the private cloud is specific to each organisation with a bespoke set up for a company’s needs, the organisation would need to have expert, highly skilled and qualified staff to manage and deploy such a solution.
Upkeep & Maintenance
With more configuration and elements to private cloud, there is a much greater drain on internal resources to keep server infrastructure, software applications, VPN’s and software licenses up to date and patched.
Expense is the biggest disadvantage to running a private cloud. Deployment and maintenance have major cost and staffing implications therefore private cloud tends to be mainly suited to larger organisations.
Benefits from both public and private environments as part of its solution. Normally, a private cloud is developed in a data centre for a particular organisation. The public and private cloud environments work independently from each other and are only connected as needed. When there is greater need for flexibility and customisation around specific data or applications, it is directed to the private environment. When data is categorised as not sensitive or needs to be shared, it can be moved to the public environment.
Advantages & Disadvantages of Hybrid Cloud
The hybrid cloud is a mix of both private and public and has advantages and disadvantages of both sides. The main advantage of the hybrid cloud lies in its flexibility as it can take the best of both domains. The greatest disadvantage lies in its potential complexity and higher implementation costs.