Everyone’s talking about the cloud
By now you and everyone you know should have heard about the cloud. It’s one of the trendiest topics in today’s tech and business worlds and there are many questions that come with it. Should everyone get on board? Does it save money? Is it more secure? What’s the difference in a public, a private, and a hybrid cloud? All of these are valid questions, but the answers may surprise you. In fact, you may already have a private cloud and just not realize it.
So what exactly is the cloud? It’s a network of logical and physical servers, with each server performing a different function. Some run applications and others store data. Most people have interacted with one of these servers in some shape or form. Just think about Google Drive, iCloud, and even Instagram. The servers may be the same make and model of machines you have in your office.
Furthermore, we can divide the cloud into two components: public and private. There’s a third option combining the two – a hybrid cloud. This article aims to lay out what each one is and hopefully dispel some misconceptions you may have about them.
If you operate in a public cloud, you’re essentially paying to “rent” servers that are maintained by another entity. The provider of the cloud takes care of both the hardware and software for you.
Using a public cloud means you can typically access it from any location, but this is also true of a private cloud. It’s not necessarily a distinguishing factor. For pricing and costs, you usually pay a fixed monthly amount to use the servers. This may vary based on your usage.
Because the provider is the one maintaining the servers for you, they are also normally responsible for system backups. This scenario may seem like less work for you, but here are some things to keep in mind:
- You may not know in what country your servers are being hosted.
There are many cases where hosting servers in another country is significantly cheaper for providers. This raises questions about security and data control.
- You may be sharing a physical server with other users of the public cloud.
This doesn’t usually have any side effects…unless multiple users require heavy use at the same time. So there could potentially be lapses in service if the server can’t handle the amount of usage.
- Your data can be forcibly turned over to government agencies without your knowledge.
Not to be scary, but this is a real concern to be aware of. Government agencies could subpoena the cloud provider for data and prevent them from letting you know that it is being accessed.
Public cloud use can be convenient, but is it really that significantly different from a private cloud? Keep reading to see.
In reality, businesses have been using private clouds for decades. It was just before the term “cloud” was invented. In most cases, you would actually own or lease the server(s), but there are exceptions to this. While the servers could be in your office, you could also use a colocation center (COLO). A COLO is a place where you can rent space for your servers, just like you would rent an office space. If you don’t have a strong Internet connection or can’t maintain a server friendly environment in your office, a COLO might be a good option for you.
As stated before, you can remotely access your cloud from anywhere whether it’s public or private. So it isn’t necessarily true that the idea that the public cloud gives you more access. The other misconceptions you should keep in mind are:
- “I don’t have any IT staff needed for private clouds”
Actually, you don’t need an in-house IT staff to have private clouds. You can always hire contractors, like Dell, to maintain your servers so you do not have to have a full time IT department.
- “I don’t have the funds for hardware”
Owning your own server for a private cloud has its advantages, but there are options for leasing one – or as many as you need. The idea that public is the only option with lower upfront costs is an exaggeration. Either has choices that can fit with your company’s budget.
With a provider, you don’t control where your data is stored, what security measures are taken to protect data, or how often servers are upgraded. Private clouds give you complete control over these and other things.
- Knowing where your data is and who sees it
With a private environment, you will always know where your servers are being hosted and the level of security that your data is afforded. In addition, there is no middleman to access your data. If a government agency wants access, they have to give the subpoena directly to you – instead of going through a third-party.
There are such things as hybrid clouds too, which combine aspects of public and private clouds to better fit your business.
This gives companies the option to free up space in a private environment by moving non-sensitive data to a public one – a method called “cloud bursting”. This may limit the control and security concerns with public use, with sensitive data still remaining on a private cloud. This option is becoming more popular, but we still don’t know if it will have positive, negative, or neutral impacts.
In conclusion, the cloud is nothing new. Most businesses are a part of it in some way, shape, or form. It’s important to stay in the know about all the benefits, but also the setbacks that companies should take steps to avoid. It’s up to you to decide if a private or public cloud is right for you, especially when also choosing an ERP package.
To learn more, reach out to the professional staff at Carillon to discuss any question you may have. We look forward to hearing from you!
Check back in for our next blog update, which will discuss subscription pricing for both Cloud and ERP.