What are cloud services, who should consider them, and what are their benefits? The cloud can be very complex, especially if you’ve never used it before. To understand the benefits of cloud services and the ideal scenarios for using them, a little history is useful.
Data Management Before The Cloud
Before the cloud, companies purchased software outright, ran it locally, and hired employees to maintain it. As these systems grew, the cost of computer software, hardware, and large IT facilities run by a dedicated staff became increasingly expensive. Some companies found themselves trying to maintain their own data centers with large departments for purchasing equipment and making their best effort to keep up with the latest technology. For many, this proved a daunting task. Not only was it expensive, but it also required extensive expertise.
Having the budget and the other resources to maintain a private data center became increasingly more difficult and caused many business owners to question whether or not and in-house data center was the right move. Many companies began to feel, in part, like an IT company, and they didn’t want that. They wanted to stay in their own niche market and focus on their core products. In order to do this, they needed an alternative to an in-house data center. Many business owners decided to partner with professional data centers who could do this work with greater reliability and less cost.
The Evolution Of Data Centers And The Shift To The Cloud
Meanwhile, as the business model for technology shifted, data center software and hardware was also making great advances. Virtual machines made it possible to run multiple applications on a single host computer and manage them as if they were individual computers. Other software could automatically “scale up” if the opposite happened, running a single application on multiple computers. Resources like RAM, disk space, and CPUs could be treated like commodities and allocated as necessary, quickly and efficiently.
The overall trend was, and still is, for data centers to handle as much of the basic infrastructure as possible, enabling client companies to focus on the core services they offer within the market. As the technology continues to become more evolved, many data centers are able to offer on-site, cloud-hosted, or hybrid services to business owners as a means of data storage and management.
The Cloud Increases Security For Business Owners
Many business owners recognize the importance of backing up their data and installing robust security programs to prevent viruses and ransomware, however, staying up to date on the latest in cyber-security was just another task item that was outside the scope of work many businesses really wanted to be doing. As cyber threats become more complex, the methods used to protect against them must also evolve. Thus, as backup and disaster recovery became a priority for business owners, data centers had to respond with the right solutions. With the introduction of the cloud, businesses are able to leverage the virtual technology to replicate and store data at different locations, maximizing the data security businesses experienced.
Who Offers Cloud Services?
The current cloud industry began in 2006 with Amazon Web Services. Over the years, it has grown immensely and now includes large IT firm services like Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, Oracle Cloud, SAP, IBM Cloud, and Rackspace. Data centers and outsourced IT departments can still play a heavy role in your cloud services maintenance, leveraging these larger services to provide for smaller clients in a cost-effective model. If you are operating in the Denver metro area and are considering a shift to the cloud, check out our managed service options to learn more about how Analytics Computers can offer the cloud expertise your business needs.
What Can You Do with a Cloud Service?
Nearly all cloud companies offer backup and file sharing services that are generally more robust than what an individual company can gain access to on their own. Cloud services are also used extensively for web hosting, email hosting, and running specific applications like Salesforce, Office 365, WordPress, Adobe, and Dropbox. In today’s digital environment, if your data can be stored in the cloud, it likely will.
Managed Cloud Services Can Move Your Bottom Line
Moving into the cloud is an important step for most companies, but like any business migration, it can potentially cause major problems when not done correctly. If you are considering making the move to the cloud, you want to enlist the help of a trusted IT provider to ensure your expansion into the cloud goes safely and smoothly.