Cloud Infrastructure – How To Make The Best Of It
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Cloud infrastructure and cloud computing are big buzz words in the tech industry today. They’re also highly relevant concepts to businesses of all sizes. This is because a business with a solid cloud infrastructure is operating faster and more efficiently than those that aren’t. They’re also ready for the future.
So, what exactly does it mean to have a cloud infrastructure? Well, cloud computing is a bit of a blanket term for a number of different services. However, the main defining feature is that the software is all hosted online. You can access it from anywhere – provided you have an internet connection. You should also be able to access your data and software from any device – laptop, desktop, tablet, and even a smartphone. It’s the future of computing. It offers businesses advantages such as being able to increase productivity, work successfully remotely, and streamline data related operations.
4 Types of Cloud Computing
Picture 1. There are different types of cloud computing
There are different aspects of cloud computing. These aspects can be put together in a way that suits your business to create your own cloud infrastructure.
The main four that are usually used by companies are:
This is when you store all of your files, including the ones you use on a regular basis, in an online server. You can access them from any device that’s logged in.
The way this works varies from service provider to service provider. Sometimes you can keep a local copy on your computer. Then, any changes you make to the document or file upload whenever you connect to the internet. Others are online access only and you work on the file in the cloud, while connected to the internet. Some of the most commonly used services like this are Dropbox, Microsoft’s OneDrive, and Google Drive.
Picture 2. Dropbox
This is quite similar to the storage service. However, it’s more like the old backups of systems on a local server or hard drive. At the end of the workday or week, you backup your entire system – all employee computers and their files. This ensures that nothing gets lost if the computers get physically damaged or lost, or your data gets corrupted.
Saving your backups to the cloud means you don’t have to worry about the same thing happening to a physical server on your premises. Plus, if you have a hard drive that travels with you, there’s no risk either.
Many companies are already using some form of hosting option for their email setup. And possibly even their telephone system, if it’s VOIP-based. Hosting in this context refers to when you use information-sharing technology that’s based in the cloud. It doesn’t require a specific physical device in order to run.
SaaS and PaaS
This refers to Software as a Service and Platform as a Service. Companies are no longer buying a software package on a CD and installing it onto their computers. This old school style of operating meant that you had to stick with one version of the software. You’d then have to buy the next version when it comes out.
Instead, companies are subscribing to a service that regularly updates to the latest version. Microsoft Office has gone this way with its offering of Office 365. You get all the same suite of products on your computer – Word, Excel, One Note, Outlook, etc. And the software auto-updates every time a new version releases. Instead of buying the 2020 version and wondering how long before you need to buy another version, you pay a yearly subscription fee. This ensures you always have the most recent version of the software.
Why Business Is Moving Into The Cloud
Having cloud infrastructure allows your employees to truly collaborate. They can all work from the same version of a file, without having to email it to each other. There’s no chance of changes being lost due to someone working on an old version of a document.
It also makes your company more efficient. You can access all your files and data from any device, anywhere in the world. All you need are your secure login details and an internet connection. This is incredibly useful if you are traveling to meetings or working remotely.
With a solid cloud infrastructure, you’re making your business more secure and efficient. Plus, you’re saving money in the long run too.
Get The Most Out Of Your Cloud Infrastructure
Setting up a cloud infrastructure can take a bit of time, effort, and money. However, it’s well worth the effort once you get everything into place and working properly.
Keeping Your Data Secure
Obviously, security is one of the biggest concerns for a company putting their data in the cloud. It can feel a lot safer to have your own local server in your office rather than relying on someone else to put up sufficient barriers against hackers and viruses. However, a legitimate service provider knows that its reputation is dependent almost entirely on how secure its service is. Any leaks or hacks and people will stop using the service and move onto the next.
Make sure you talk to the service provider about what they use in terms of firewalls and virus protection. You should also ask what their threat detection software can do. VPNs can also assist with combating cyber threats.
Picture 3. VPN – creating a secure connection
Pay As You Go Pricing
The beauty of cloud infrastructure and computing is that it’s so cost-effective. Most service providers will offer you pay-as-you-go subscriptions. These subscriptions will be based on the number of users and the storage capabilities and capacity required. You can then scale up and down as you need to.
For example, if you suddenly need extra resources for a large project, you can get more storage space and computing power for the duration. Yes, you’ll pay more for this extra capacity, but it will only be for that time period. You won’t have to buy a new local server and then let it sit idle once the job has ended. You also don’t have to worry about setting anything up as the service provider does everything on their side.
Just be sure to ask your service provider about their policies on notice periods for scaling your requirements. It’s good to know how long it takes for a new element or changes to your contract to kick in so you can plan accordingly.
More Flexibility In The Workplace
With cloud computing, you aren’t tied to a specific location. This means you can work from home or while on the road just as easily as from the office. When going to meetings or site visits, employees will have access to their work data. This will make tasks like giving presentations to clients much easier.
As a business, you can also be more open to flexible work hours or allowing people to work remotely. They will have complete access to their files from home. So, it’s less of an inconvenience if, for example, an employee would like to spend a few hours working remotely to miss the morning traffic. As long as you have the right infrastructure – including an online project management system – it’s easy to ensure that employees are staying on top of their work no matter where they or you are.
When everyone syncs up to the cloud, working together on a project suddenly becomes a whole lot easier. Employees will be sharing information in real-time – even if entire countries or oceans separate them. This is certainly a recipe for greater productivity and boosts all the projects your company works on.
If you’re using software like the Google App Suite (Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, etc.), your employees can literally be working in the file at the exact same time. You don’t have to go with Google though. There are plenty of other options that allow for the same level of collaboration.
Bring Your Company Into Today
Cloud-based technology is definitely the way of the future. Setting up infrastructure now will mean that you are working better today and will continue to work better tomorrow. The very foundation of cloud infrastructure is that it can evolve quickly and easily. This allows your company to do the same. It’s simply not the same as the IT infrastructure of the 1990s and 2000s and is highly unlikely to stagnate.
The key is to ensure that you get the right service providers that can work together to give you what your company needs. When doing your research, remember to focus on the following:
- Collaboration tools
With these elements in place, your business will be able to blossom. Your employees will have the freedom to work in a way that makes them the most productive.
With a passion for writing and a background in cybersecurity, infosec, and business development, Megan is a freelance writer where she writes on various topics. When she’s not typing away, she loves playing tabletop games and brewing a mean cup of third wave coffee – black.
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