This is the third of three blogs where I explore the pros and cons of using cloud for your business.
In the first post, we discussed how the best ways to reduce costs, provide disaster recovery and provide your business with more flexibility are unlocked in the cloud.
Last week's post discussed three concerns about the cloud and why it might not be right for your business.
The last in the series, this post will explore the factors of your business size and industry when considering a cloud based solution.
BUSINESS SIZE MATTERS
The size and demands of your business need to match the provider. SMEs will be a lower priority for a mega-corporation, while a larger corporation needs the right level of reliability and expertise, to consistently deliver the solutions that you need from the cloud.
Most small and midsized businesses can take advantage of the benefits provided by public IaaS cloud services. The number one benefit for SMEs is that it helps them virtually eliminate capital expenditures when smaller businesses are tight for cash - cloud enables businesses to grow and expand with no upfront costs and shoestring budgets.
However, larger enterprises don't gain as many benefits.
Large enterprises can build their own, specialised data centers without concern for upfront costs. The performance advantages realized with an in-house data centre are often more important than lowering capital expenditures, and if business changes then repurposing hardware is far more likely in a large company.
Another advantage for SMEs is to outsource IT expertise they can’t hire or keep in-house. IT staff often leave for larger organisations for better pay and bigger projects. So instead of constantly recruiting to manage technology in-house, SMEs outsource some or all of their infrastructure management.
Large organisations can pay for top IT talent and afford to keep the best. When an outage or problem occurs, it’s better to have your own employees troubleshoot and fix the problem.
However, global corporations gain a lot from using cloud. Offices and workers dispersed across the globe can easily communicate and share information, and the cloud can be used as a centralised, consolidated source of company data and consistent branding. Cloud can be accessed from all devices to allow flexible working or more productive travel for international companies.
YOUR INDUSTRY MATTERS
What can you afford to lose?
Performance and downtime is the most important aspect of a cloud provider’s service - and fine print makes a difference.
Service Level Agreements (SLAs) can guarantee 99.95% uptime monthly or yearly - a guarantee per month allows around 22 minutes a month whereas per year adds up to almost 4.5 hours. SLAs have a detailed outline of services provided, resource availability and maximum downtime. The contract should also specify how clients will be compensated for failure.
You should not take any chances with your data. Most cloud services do not offer backup, so you should find a reputable third-party disaster recovery solution to ensure business continuity when downtime strikes.
How is your industry regulated?
Organisations in highly regulated industries will want to know who is legally responsible for what, in order to keep data protected and in compliance with regulations. Healthcare, finance, and government are the three big industries concerned about regulatory compliance. Rights to the stored data and retrieval of it, including legal ownership, are vital.
For example, PCI DSS regulations cover any person who uses a credit card, keeping data safe from hackers. Cloud providers need to detail how PCI compliance is backed into their systems.
Are you a green company?
Green credentials are boosted when you rely on the cloud and use less hardware, and this will present you as ethical and innovative.
In conclusion, your decision to adopt the cloud and choose the right cloud provider can depend on the specifics of your business. If you have niche considerations as a business, you can consult us for a free health check on whether the cloud is right for you.