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The Ultimate Guide to Cloud Computing

By: Alessandra Descalso

Many businesses are moving their operations to the cloud and for good reasons. Is the cloud right for you? Learn more about what cloud computing is, its different types, and the cost of migrating your business to the cloud by reading this ultimate guide.  

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Don't have time to read now?

Don't fret, we can send you a PDF copy of the ultimate guide to Cloud Computing that you can read in your free time.

The Ultimate Guide to Cloud Computing

Send a copy of this page to:

The recent pandemic has no doubt accelerated the adoption of cloud technologies. According to experts, cloud adoption has leaped by about five years since the pandemic began. While few organizations are 100 percent cloud, you’ll find that most organizations today have a hybrid environment of on-premise, private and public cloud. The public cloud, in particular, has grown by 40 percent in the past year alone.  

Here at Intelligent Technical Solutions, we’ve found that the pandemic is not the only primary driver of cloud transformation. Nowadays, many businesses realize the need to leverage the cloud to increase flexibility, achieve business agility, and boost security. Companies can do a lot more when they’re on the cloud, and it is our mission to support their goals with our enterprise-grade cloud migration and maintenance services.  

What You’ll Learn

In this definitive guide, we’ll provide you with a comprehensive overview of basically everything you need to know about cloud computing services. We’ll discuss: 

  1.  What cloud computing is
  2. How the cloud works
  3. The different types of cloud Cost
  4. Benefits of using the cloud 

By the end of this article, you will understand how your business can take advantage of the cloud and best prepare for it.  

Who is this Guide is for

This guide is for business owners looking for complete information about switching to Cloud Computing. Ideally, by the end of this article, you will understand how your business can take advantage of the cloud and best prepare for it.  

What is the Cloud?

What Is Cloud Computing?

More and more companies are opting to move to the cloud, spanning several industries. But what is it exactly? Here’s an introduction to cloud computing, from the basics to the different kinds of cloud services available.  

What to Consider When Moving to the Cloud?

What is the Cloud?

What Is the Cloud?

How Does the Cloud Work?

Uses of Cloud Computing

Cloud computing has been attributed to why many companies have transformed their operations, increased their flexibility and cost savings, and maximized resources. Here are some ways that cloud computing can be implemented to help you achieve business objectives:  

cloud_file_storage

File Storage

One of the most obvious uses of cloud computing is cloud storage. With the cloud, you have a web-enabled interface where you can store, access, and retrieve your files from whatever device you’re using.  

In this scenario, the cloud provider offers the storage as an on-demand service, and users have the option to pay only for the usage, allowing them to upgrade their storage based on their budget and needs. In addition, users can change performance and retention properties and move data that is not accessed frequently into lower-cost tiers.  

cloud_file_storage
Cloud_File_Sharing

Communication and Collaboration

The cloud is a compelling platform for business communications. Cloud computing allows users to access cloud-based communication tools to touch base and collaborate with colleagues. Robust business messaging and chat applications such as Skype and Microsoft Teams are built on the cloud infrastructure. These programs enable users to share files quickly, edit documents, hold meetings, integrate telephony and streamline communications, all from a central location.  

Cloud_File_Sharing
Cloud_backup

Backup and Disaster Recovery

Backup and disaster recovery is a solution offered by cloud storage providers. Backing up data to the cloud is one of the primary ways to protect your organization from the devastating consequences of a cyber attack, outage, or unforeseen event. Cloud backups allow users to recover data that has been lost or destroyed in its original state before an attack or disaster.  

Cloud_backup
Cloud_dataanalytics

Big Data Analytics

Businesses today deal with tremendous amounts of data on a day-to-day basis. Many don’t know what to do with this data and miss out on opportunities to use this data to align business goals and save on costs.  

One of the ways that companies can leverage cloud computing is through big data analytics. Companies can use the cloud to collect and analyze big data in a simplified, valuable and inexpensive way. They can extract data from the cloud, spot trends, and derive meaningful insights from it to steer their business towards growth.  

Cloud_dataanalytics
Cloud_software_development

Software Testing and Development

Cloud computing can be used for creating a virtual environment for software testing and project management. The cloud can be treated as a sandbox to build and stress-test applications. It allows software developers to measure traffic, loads, and performance without building the infrastructure needed from scratch.

Cloud_software_development

5 Different Types of Cloud Computing

Cloud deployment refers to the various ways a cloud platform is implemented, including how it is hosted and how it is accessed or made available to users. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) defines four cloud deployment models: public, private, community, and hybrid clouds. In addition, there are distributed clouds, such as multi-clouds, poly clouds, and other models.  

 The deployment model is dependent on where the infrastructure lives and who has control over it. Determining the deployment model you will use is vital as each model has its corresponding purpose. Each model satisfies varying organizational needs; what you choose should fulfill yours. More importantly, each cloud deployment model comes with different costs and benefits. Your decision would probably be based on price. However, whichever deployment model you choose, see to it that you are aware of the characteristics of every environment. 

 Let’s take a look at the differences between the most popular cloud deployment architecture, so you can decide on which is suitable for your organization:  

Private Cloud

Public Cloud

Hybrid Cloud

Community Cloud

Multi-Cloud

What Are the Different Cloud Service Models? 

Many companies are struggling to keep up with the demands of providing fast, reliable, and secure services to their users. Indeed, growing pains are associated with increased power and storage capabilities for one’s IT infrastructure. There is, however, an option: instead of building out or expanding your infrastructure, your company can turn to cloud computing. Cloud computing providers offer solutions at affordable costs. Your company can save up to 30% by moving to the cloud.  

Cloud computing comes in three main service models that address different business requirements. These are Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Software as a Service (SaaS), and Platform as a Service (PaaS). They refer to the three ways to describe how you can utilize the cloud for your enterprise.  

Software as a service 

With this service model, the cloud provider offers and manages applications over the internet; your organization is relieved of the duty of managing its software, infrastructure, data availability, and security. Simply put, you don’t have to install and run applications on your workstations. The applications are web-based and can be accessed by logging into an account online via any device, as long as there is an internet connection. All your employees are provided personalized logins assigned with their privileges.  

SaaS services are typically billed based on factors like the number of users, usage, storage capacity, and processed transactions. Usually, SaaS platforms charge users based on a subscription model, with a fixed recurring monthly fee. You know what to expect as to how much to pay, and there are no hidden charges.  

Infrastructure as a service 

Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) refers to resources such as networks, storage facilities, virtual private servers, and processing power acquired on-demand over the internet. Users are charged on a pay-as-you-go model, billed based on their consumption over a time period.  

IaaS provides businesses with cloud-based alternatives, keeping them from shelling out money on costly onsite resources. The maintenance of on-premise IT infrastructure could dent a company’s budget, apart from being labor-intensive. That’s because on-premise IT infrastructure requires a massive investment in physical hardware. In addition to this, a company would need to tap external IT contractors to keep the hardware in tip-top shape.  

When it comes to IaaS, you no longer have to invest in expensive hardware. You only need to purchase what you need when you need it and scale your resources as your business expands. Besides, you have control over your infrastructure and have the choice to oversee your IaaS platforms. IaaS platform providers offer ongoing support as well.  

Platform as a service  

A Platform as a Service (PaaS) vendor offers infrastructure and software services over the internet. Often, the target users take advantage of PaaS services to build applications. The market for this service usually comprises developers.  

By using PaaS, developers don’t need to start from scratch when building applications, saving time and money. Businesses often opt for this type of service as they don’t have to invest much money and effort in creating unique applications.  

PaaS platforms are accessible to several users; are customizable; utilize virtualization capabilities, and run seamlessly. Examples of PaaS include AWS Elastic Beanstalk, Google App Engine, OpenShift, Windows Azure, and Heroku.  

What Are the Benefits of Cloud Computing?

Cloud computing presents many benefits to your enterprise. It enables you to set up a virtual office that offers you the flexibility of accessing your data whenever and wherever possible. Here are some of the advantages of cloud computing to your business:  

Lower Operational Costs

Increased Productivity

Improved Data Security

Positive Environmental Impact

How Much Does Cloud Services Cost for Businesses?

Cloud Cost

Most businesses have turned to the cloud as an alternative to on-premise storage hardware and slash costs. However, the potential cost of using the cloud varies widely. There is no one answer to how to keep cloud costs under control. This section will help you understand what costs are involved, how much cloud storage typically costs, and how you can make sure that you won’t go over budget.  

Typical Cost of Cloud Storage 

Generally, cloud storage solutions typically range between $5 to $25 per user per month or a flat monthly rate ranging from $2 to $50. This rate could all depend on the provider and can differ for several reasons. The number of users and purpose of the cloud storage will usually play a factor in its pricing.  

Business or enterprise plans are understandably more expensive than cloud storage intended for personal use. This is because uploading a few photographs and documents to the cloud won’t take up much space compared to businesses that have a large volume of files that are saved and exchanged through the cloud.  

Cloud storage providers will raise the price of the plan, depending on the number of users who are on it. The higher the number of users, the greater the volume of data that the provider will need to protect, which, in turn, adds strain to its servers. The cost can quickly add up because of this.  

 Also driving the cost of cloud storage up is the amount of data stored. For instance, a plan can accommodate up to 10 users with a limit imposed on the amount of data and maximum size of the files they can collectively store in the cloud. 

Cloud Storage Cost Components

Various factors impact the cost of enterprise cloud storage. The key cost components are capacity, operations, networking, and disaster recovery.  

Capacity

Operations Usage

Network Usage

Disaster Recovery

How Much Do Big Cloud Providers Usually Charge?

It is difficult to determine accurate estimates of the cost of cloud storage, especially when it comes to large cloud providers. Comparing prices between top providers is undoubtedly no easy task for companies. There’s an entire industry dedicated to third-party cost management to provide users with a better picture of cloud storage expenses.  

For instance, it is tough to obtain estimates for AWS due to extensive variables. The same can be said with Microsoft for its complex licensing options, discounting, and pricing structure. Google Cloud, meanwhile, is much easier to digest as it has a guide that breaks down its data storage rates per associated location. The pricing fluctuates based on object size, amount of data accessed, and retrieval.  

Keeping Cloud Storage Costs Down

Today, most cloud solutions providers offer different tiers based on the speed of each storage type. Placing data in the incorrect tier can raise costs unexpectedly. Thus, it is crucial to identify how much data should be stored in the cloud, how often it will be accessed, and how essential it is to your business.  

Choosing correct storage and service types

Opting for thin provisioning than fat provisioning

Monitor cloud usage

Minimize data movement and transfers

How Do You Choose a Good Cloud Solution?

With many office workers now working from home, having reliable cloud storage has become imperative.  

Personal cloud storage began in 2007, thanks to Drew Houston. Houston got tired of losing his USB drive, leading him to develop the first-ever small business cloud storage platform, which we all come to know as Dropbox. Nowadays, consumers are spoilt for choice as they can now choose from tons of cheap or free cloud storage services. However, these services are all very different.  

So how do you know which one is right for you? It depends on how much free storage space you wish to get. It’s that easy, but then that’s only half of the story. You can only get the most value out of a cloud storage service, depending on how it works for you or your enterprise. Some cloud storage solutions work better depending on the operating system and business plan.  

 In addition, you should also look into the credibility and reliability of your provider. Below are a few things to consider when choosing the right cloud provider for you and your business:  

1. What are your business needs?

2. Does the provider have a good track record?

3. Does the cloud provider have the proper certifications?

4. Is the provider’s technology or service roadmap aligned with your environment?

5. Is the cloud provider compliant with data governance policies and regulations?

6. Is the cloud provider secure?

Get Assessed for Cloud Services

If you’re here, then odds are you’re probably considering moving your business to the cloud. You might be looking at reducing infrastructure costs and would want to cut wasteful spending. You might also be looking at making your business more agile and competitive or want to secure your data better and have an effective disaster recovery solution. Whatever your reason is, it is essential to consider your current business requirements and where your future is headed as a company.  

Working with the right cloud provider can make all the difference in helping you achieve your objectives. At ITS, we want you to get your money’s worth by ensuring that we’re the right fit for your needs. We always put our customers through a thorough technology assessment before signing them up for our services. 

Are you interested in tapping us? Fill out the form to get your free tech assessment. We look forward to your business. 

Schedule a Meeting See Pricing

Pillar-cloudBOFU

Get Assessed for Cloud Services

If you’re here, then odds are you’re probably considering moving your business to the cloud. You might be looking at reducing infrastructure costs and would want to cut wasteful spending. You might also be looking at making your business more agile and competitive or want to secure your data better and have an effective disaster recovery solution. Whatever your reason is, it is essential to consider your current business requirements and where your future is headed as a company.  

Working with the right cloud provider can make all the difference in helping you achieve your objectives. At ITS, we want you to get your money’s worth by ensuring that we’re the right fit for your needs. We always put our customers through a thorough technology assessment before signing them up for our services. 

Are you interested in tapping us? Fill out the form to get your free tech assessment. We look forward to your business. 

Schedule a Meeting See Pricing