Cloud computing seems to be the next big thing – for small businesses and individuals, it’s low cost, reliable and anyone can use it. The “cloud” refers to the on-demand provision of computational resources (data, software) via a computer network, rather than from a local computer such as the Internet. It used to be that for a company to have any sort of network infrastructure, they would have to install expensive servers on site, house in a special room or server cabinet. If anything goes wrong, they would have to call an IT technician, who would then travel on-site to fix the problem. With cloud computing, everything is housed on servers which are operated in a data center.
When you think about it, cloud computing really makes sense for small-to-medium sized enterprises, with employees from 5 to 500. It can increase capacity or add capabilities, without need for investing in new infrastructure, additional training or licensing new software. But many still have doubts over this new technology and are especially concerned with security issues. This is why many SMEs prefer to opt for hybrid cloud computing instead. With hybrid cloud computing, you have minimal servers or resources in your office and most of your computing needs, applications and resources made available to you over the Internet. These mixed infrastructures are popular among all types of companies, but especially to those who require extra assurances.
Examples of Hybrid Cloud Computing
In the United States, one school district in New Jersey (Morristown) opted for a hybrid cloud computing system. They felt that some functions were better off done in the cloud. Their email, anti-virus and spam filters use a cloud computing application. However, the more sensitive information, like accounting and payrolls, stay within the existing IT infrastructure. Currently, they are also in the process of moving scheduling and attendance system, as well as health records offsite into the cloud.
Aside from just splitting the types of processes, there are other considerations. An emergency room management company in Louisiana decided to move much of their system into the cloud after realizing that hurricanes could possibly damage their IT systems. Schumacher Group is based in Lafayette and have experienced hurricanes that could destroy their data centers. Thus, their cloud provider has their facilities all over the US, and they feel safer knowing their precious data is safe, no matter what happens at their headquarters.
Why Hybrid Cloud Computing?
Scalability and cost-effectiveness are the number one reasons why many companies turn to cloud computing. Software licenses are expensive to maintain, plus you’ll have to multiply that amount to the number of people on your network who want to use a certain software. IT services such as enterprise email can be expensive to maintain in house – and it’s not just the labor costs, but taking into account opportunity costs – the cost of loss of business when your email goes down – that are the real costs a company has to take into account. Going full cloud computing may not be feasible for everyone right now (indeed, it may not even be feasible at all). Some information should remain in-house, in physical storage rather than having it become vulnerable by going through the uncertainty of the Internet. Using a hybrid cloud computing model will help us understand which items can be moved to the cloud and which should stay local.
If you’re interested in finding out more about cloud computing, do give us a call. CommGate created SimplyIT, a Hybrid Cloud Computing service for SMEs which provides you the flexibilty you need from a cloud computing provider, and still provide the security you need. CommGate manages the Hybrid Cloud Computing service externally for your company, so you can be rest assured that your IT infrastructure will be up and running 24/7 with minimal downtime.