Your neighbour started using it. Your boss is considering it. And you are too. The cloud has decidedly started to generate a lot of questions. When is it the right time to include it in your technological direction? Here are 5 good reasons to start using it.
Focus on the goals of your organization
Technology is crucial to the development of your business and to healthy operations. However, that does not mean burdening you with the maintenance of your infrastructure has any added-value. After all, you need to use the applications, not the machines in the background that make them work! Whether you think deploying a large infrastructure requires too much time, or because you lack the staff to maintain it, whether you can’t justify hiring a dedicated worker to maintain it, or simply because you want to focus you the mission of your organization, these are all very good reasons to consider using the cloud.
The cloud also incorporates resources available as a service (XaaS) and usage-billed. Whether you need a little or a lot, you will be billed for what you actually used. The technologies are available and ready to use, maintained by experts. Your systems are in a shared environment with other users, allowing your service provider to offer a platform with an availability and resilience above what you could otherwise afford if you had to cover its real cost by yourself. You just have to install your software to start using the resources.
Your needs go through cycles
If, like many other organizations, you need extra resources during certain months or periods, the cloud may be a great solution. Your systems need all available resources every first of the month to start a billing process? You must then insure you provide the needed resource on that particular day to support the workload. That means you need to purchase a system that has that capicity. However, what about the other 29 days of the month during which your system runs at 20% capacity? You would be shopping and paying additional cost for a system you can use at full capacity only one day a month, plus the maintenance fees that go along with it!
This is the perfect situation to start using the cloud. You could either adopt a 100% cloud solution and benefit from its full flexibility, or purchase a system that meets your average needs throughout the year and use the cloud to execute your billing system once a month. Both scenarios allow you to pay only for what you actually need.
You want to get rid of tape backups
You follow best practices alright! You backup your data on tape media and test it regularly because, after all, we never know what could happen and that data is vital to your organization. No doubt you also apply the golden 3-2-1 Rule: three copies of your data in two different formats, with one copy kept offsite. If your offsite copy is on a tape medium, chances are you know exactly what we mean. Either you hire a security company to manage and handle the tapes at a premium, or you do it yourself, which means you need to rotate the tapes on a regular basis (yeah, right…).
In either scenario, maintaining an extra copy in the cloud is very interesting. You avoid managing and handling the tapes, having to replace your entire library every three to five years, renewing your (costly) maintenance contract, transferring data from old tapes to newer ones to avoid losing it (which you need to do anyway for X years to meet your industry’s regulations). Furthermore, the extra copies your keep in the cloud can be used to recover from an unexpected disaster.
You need a Disaster Recovery solution
If your organization has more than one data centre and systems used at less than 50% capacity, deploying a disaster recovery solution should be a relatively easy task. However, if that’s not the case, you need to find where to install the physical infrastructure (because, of course, you meet the highest standards and the offsite data has to be at a certain distance from your data centre). You also need to purchase said infrastructure. Oh, and if it all goes well, you’ll never have to use it!
The cloud is perfect for recovery plans. Most providers bill based on the resources you use: CPU, RAM, and storage. Additional fees are often added, but they’re negligible compared to the resources that represent the core of what you pay for. If you replicate your data or your systems, you will have to pay your provider for the extra storage. But if you don’t use any extra CPU or RAM, then you don’t pay for those. This is why the cloud can help you save money instead of having to purchase a system in colocation.
The software you need is available as a service (SaaS)
Your organization needs new software. If it’s available as a service (SaaS), you should consider this option that implies paying monthly fees instead of an upfront cost to purchase the software. But there’s more to it! Deploying your software on premise means you need the right hardware, qualified staff to maintain it, and maybe even training on update and maintenance of the hardware and software. You also need the time to take care of all that. And enough physical room, cooling, power, and so on. All things considered, SaaS is often the better option.
So what are your reasons to opt for the cloud?