Businesses are finally starting to see the advantages of cloud computing. The 2019 research study claims that businesses have transferred more than 77% of their workloads to the cloud, while 81% of them are even using complex, multi-cloud infrastructures.
Still, with a wide array of cloud hosting platforms, choosing the right one is not that easy. They all vary based on numerous factors, including their architecture, price, maintenance, data security, and so forth.
In this article, you will find out what factors you should consider when choosing the right cloud hosting platform for your business.
Your Business’ Needs
For starters, you need to know what your business’ goals and needs are.
First, ask yourself what kind of data you want to store. The level of sensitivity of the data you want to store is one of the main factors that will help you determine what type of platform to use. For example, sensitive information such as your customers’ credit card information, employee data, and financial reports should be access-restricted and require an additional layer of security.
Second, ask yourself how many devices you want to connect to your platform. Consider how easy it will be for you to scale up or down, depending on your business needs.
Finally, the choice of the cloud service provider also depends on your budget. If you’re just starting out, then you will probably opt for free or less expensive cloud providers. Still, keep in mind that the most secure platforms are pricier.
Now that you’ve set your goals and needs, you need to invest in the cloud service that meets your needs. There are several types of cloud hosting platforms to consider.
- Public clouds
If you’re storing non-sensitive information and want to save up, then public clouds might be the right option for you. The name of this kind of clouds is self-explanatory – all cloud resources are owned by a third-party service and are shared with multiple cloud users.
These options are either free or based on a pay-per-use system and, as such, they are highly affordable. Another benefit of the cloud is scalability, as you can adapt plans to your business demands.
Sure, the most common disadvantage of public clouds is data security, as they are most vulnerable to online breaches and fail to meet certain compliance standards.
- Private clouds
The main difference between public and private clouds is that the latter ones are used by a single customer. Whether they’re located on-premise or hosted by a third-party provider, they’re delivered via private networks, meaning that no one else can use them.
The major advantage of private clouds is higher security, as well as greater customization opportunities. Precisely because of that, they’re perfect for businesses in regulated industries, especially for tech businesses, government agencies, and financial companies.
Sure, migrating to a private cloud may cost you a pretty penny, as you will need to invest in maintenance, servers, cloud software, and virtualization. You will also need to maintain the private cloud on your own, meaning that you will also need to hire a team of IT specialists.
- Hybrid clouds
When investing in the hybrid cloud, you’re getting the best of public and private clouds. They offer greater flexibility and data management. For instance, you will be able to use public clouds for storing non-sensitive information and private clouds for backing up sensitive data. Most importantly, hybrid clouds let you minimize cloud bursting during the spikes in the IT demand. For example, if your private cloud is full, you will be able to transfer your data to the public one and maintain the regular flow of information.
The greatest disadvantage of hybrid clouds is the rising costs, as well as complex maintenance and complex infrastructures.
- Hyper-converged infrastructures
Hyper-converged infrastructures are not the same as cloud environments, but they go well together. Namely, the majority of businesses today use multi-cloud infrastructures that are usually extremely complex. This is where hyper-convergence shines. This solution applies to private clouds built on HCI, hybrid clouds built on HCI, as well as industrial clouds. Its main role is simple – it allows you centralize multi-cloud infrastructures within a cohesive enterprise cloud system.
The security of the cloud storage option should be your top priority. Research the security measures provided by each cloud hosting platform, as well as the techniques they use to protect your data. Do they use encryption both on their network and for the data transferred from your network to their servers? Ask them about the physical security of their data center.
Pay attention to the security included in the cloud storage service. Then, see what additional paid services a vendor provides, as well as where you will need to invest in third-party integrations. For example, on their websites, Google and AWS both provide a comprehensive list of their free security features, paid security features, and additional integrations.
Problems happen all the time. If your cloud storage goes down, this may affect your business operations and customer satisfaction on so many levels. Consequently, your bottom line will suffer. Precisely because of that you need to talk to your cloud service provider about their customer support. Your goal is to find out how fast they get back to their customers. Do they provide help in real-time, 24/7? Do they work on holidays? What is the fastest way to reach out to them? If a vendor does not provide consistent technical support, then you should probably look for an alternative solution.
Service Level Agreements
You need to know what exactly a cloud provider will do for your company, as well as what your responsibilities are. This is where the service-level agreement (SLA) steps in. This is basically a document that highlights what type of data will be stored, how it will be stored, and how certain issues will be addressed. Pay special attention to data protection policies. Can a vendor help you meet the compliance standards that apply to your industry, such as HIPAA, GDPR, SOC 2, or PCI DSS? Data security should always be your top priority and you need to have a strong legal agreement that will support you if something goes wrong.
Over to You
In today’s overcrowded cloud computing market, choosing the right vendor is not easy. Businesses need to do solid research and assess the reliability of the service before investing in it. Remember, the cloud provider you choose needs to meet the needs of your business and industry.
I hope these tips will serve as an informative framework for your further research.
Any thoughts on choosing a cloud hosting platform? We’re listening!