Finding the right cloud solutions for your small business can seem like a daunting task. With so much information available and seemingly endless options, it can be difficult to determine what’s going to be the right solution for your business.
What works best for your organization today may be vastly different from what will work best tomorrow. As your needs change, it’s a good idea to have a basic understanding of what the cloud is and what your needs will be so you can adapt accordingly.
What is the cloud?
The cloud is simply a remote server, or servers, where you can store data that can be accessed via the Internet.
Encompassing multiple types of service, the cloud can be broken down into four main categories:
- Storage—houses data for easy accessibility
- Backup—redundancy in case of loss due to crash, natural disaster or cyberattack
- SaaS (Software as a Service)—provides online services
- Hosting—used for information sharing and data storage
Depending on the size of your company and your specific needs, you may need all of these or just a few. Fortunately, that leaves you with several choices to accommodate your business.
Why the cloud?
The cloud is here to stay. The SMB Group has found that 92% of small businesses are using cloud solutions for at least one of their business functions.
Not only does the cloud simplify the sharing and storage of data, but it is also more cost-effective than housing huge servers that take up valuable space and resources. For a fraction of the cost of a traditional server, companies can empower employees to safely access the information they need anytime, anywhere.
The benefits of cloud solutions include:
With a virtually unlimited ability to scale, the cloud will never outgrow the company. So whether your organization faces rapid growth or experiences a downturn, you always have exactly the right resources required to keep your business running smoothly.
Cloud storage provides you the opportunity to maximize use of the data you’re collecting. By analyzing the information you’re receiving on a daily basis, you’ll be able to gain insight into your customers’ behavior, enabling you to provide them with a better overall experience.
The cloud allows you to innovate at a faster pace. Since the information needed across multiple departments can be disseminated easily, the roadblocks typically associated with change can be managed more effectively.
With these benefits in mind, here are some of the cloud solutions available for your organization:
Probably the most commonly known, the public cloud utilizes a shared infrastructure. This means that anyone can have access to their data from any computer or mobile device, anywhere. While there is a level of security, the public cloud isn’t as protected as private or hybrid clouds.
Scalable, cost effective and easily accessible, this is a good choice for small businesses, up to a certain point. As the security is limited, housing sensitive data can be risky and leave your information open to attacks.
If you’re housing a lot of customer data, your business might want to opt for a private cloud. Inherently the same structure as a public cloud, the difference is mainly in who has access versus how they have access.
Designed to only provide information to those within an organization, the security is much tighter and access is more restricted. There are also redundancies to prevent downtime as well as “cloud bursting,” allowing you to access less sensitive files in a public cloud during periods of high demand on the private cloud.
If you’re thinking you like some aspects of the public cloud and other aspects of a private cloud, you might be interested in a hybrid cloud. Combining the security of a private cloud with the ease of a public cloud, this option is essentially the best of both worlds.
With the benefits of both, an organization can remain nimble and adjust rapidly to its changing needs. The hybrid cloud provides the flexibility you need, allowing you to grow easily without investing in more equipment. You can also easily adjust the levels of privacy, based on the sensitivity of your data.
The best solution for you
So what is the best solution? To find the answer you need to determine what will allow your business to work most efficiently and affordably. That means taking a hard look at your needs and figuring out what cloud solutions will work for your organization now and in the future.
Regardless of what cloud option you decide is best for your business, PCS International can help you with implementation and integration into your current systems. Contact us today and we’ll help you find the cloud solution that will best meet your needs.