Cloud-Based Solutions More Accessible than Ever for SMBs
Cloud computing is becoming more affordable and increasingly available within the market, changing the way many organizations conduct their business. This has caused a shift in how companies can manage their infrastructure and hardware needs. In turn, different deployment methods have emerged in response to demand and to meet the needs of modern organizations.
This shift may have you and your organization asking which is the best fit for your specific needs. Here is a look at some of the different deployment models that exist, allowing organizations to select the functionalities and services that they need to meet their objectives:
This is the traditional way of storing your applications and data. Your organization owns the hardware and manages the infrastructure for your different applications. These servers are usually installed on the premises of your organization, and there is someone who is responsible for the installation, upgrades and maintenance of the system. This type of deployment gives you a better control and full access over the data. It’s important to keep in mind that it requires a substantial up-front investment for the different licensing fees as well as the initial infrastructure costs. In addition, there are also the costs allocated to the resource who will be managing the system, and you should budget hardware upgrades or replacements as the technology becomes obsolete typically between 2 to 5 years depending on the equipment.
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
This is the cloud offering the most commonly available today. A provider hosts and maintains the cloud infrastructure on behalf of its users. The client still owns the products and applications that have been installed but no longer has to worry about managing their internal infrastructure and resources to run these applications. IaaS thus provides the infrastructure needed for businesses to run their operations while keeping investments into hardware and infrastructure to a minimum. At the same time, they also enjoy flexibility and scalability, allowing them to expand their operations and grow without running the risk of being held back by obsolete hardware.
Public vs Private Cloud
An IaaS offering can be provided through either public-cloud hosting or private-cloud hosting. While a private cloud is more expensive, it means that dedicated servers will be hosting your infrastructure. Resources and servers are not shared with other organizations, allowing for greater control over the speed and resources you would like to dedicate to a particular application or process. As for a public cloud solution, resources are shared with other firms, which lowers the costs. However, the perception that public cloud hosting is not as secure persists, although providers go to great lengths to ensure that their clients’ data is secure and separate from the others. Microsoft Azure is one such example, and Microsoft has strict security principles in place to provide its clients with a cloud option that is as secure and reliable as private cloud or on-premise solutions.
Software as a Service (SaaS)
Also known as software-on-demand, a SaaS offering allows clients to access and use a variety of tools and applications over the Internet, providing more flexibility and accessibility. Microsoft is making the shift across its different applications to offer these benefits, and Dynamics 365 and Microsoft Office 365 are examples of their new cloud offering. Users typically pay based on a subscription pricing model for use of the application. This allows for lower start-up costs as you no longer need to consider infrastructure costs: you will access the application via the web, and upgrades will become less of an issue since the software vendor now automatically schedules and performs these updates. While in the past some hosted software applications may not have offered the same possibilities for customization and integration as traditional software, this is changing quickly, as software vendors are adapting to the current realities and demands of clients in the marketplace. However, while accessing all of your applications via the web is a benefit in many ways, it can also become a disadvantage if you are in an area with a slow Internet connection, which could be a source of frustration for some users.
Why are people making the shift to the cloud? One of the main reasons is the flexibility it provides: businesses of all sizes and industries are certain to obtain a solution tailored to their needs and budgets. While staff members need to be trained to remain up to date on this technology, your organization only has to pay for the resources and tools that it actually uses without having to commit resources to the installation and maintenance of the infrastructure and hardware, which makes a cloud-based solution an especially attractive option for SMBs.
Interested in a new management system? Read our eBook Choosing a Management Information System – An Evaluation Checklist to help you decide what would best meet your organization’s needs and objectives.