What do businesses want from Cloud Services?
We live in a time where we have the ability to enjoy some of the greatest technological advancements in all of human history. The sheer level of innovation that these technologies provide has inspired the imaginations of millions of businesses and their customers throughout the world. Most businesses are somewhat familiar with the Multi-Tenancy Model of Cloud Services such as those offered by Microsoft and Google. Both companies offer Email services along with document creation software, data storage, and data sharing among many other tools. Much of this is designed to answer the question “What do businesses want from Cloud Services?” such as:
- Ease of Use
- Accessibility and Mobility
As you can imagine, the appeal to business is strong. However, before pursuing Cloud Services we must first determine whether the Cloud is really the right fit for your specific business, as the Cloud is not the right solution for everyone.
“What’s the right fit for your business?”
Before moving to the Cloud, and or using Hosted Service Solutions, we must first address the question of “What’s the right fit for your business?” There are many Cloud and Hosted Service Solutions that are relatively safe and secure that provide a direct benefit to businesses such as:
- Communications – Email, Chat, VoIP, Video Conferencing, etc.
- Security Products – Disaster Recovery, Antivirus, Email Filtering, Web Filtering, etc.
- Various Line of Business Applications and Software
Assessing exactly what your business actually needs, and then weighing out the short and long term costs as well as the overall benefits in order to discern the actual value to the business, should be one of the first steps in making such a decision. But there’s a lot more pressing matters to consider…
How much is too much for the Cloud?
Businesses have an inherent obligation to not only protect their own interests, but the privacy and interests of their clients and customers as well. With this in mind, there are many things that do not belong in the Cloud… under any circumstances. Proprietary data that includes, but is not limited to, business secrets, operational details, purchase orders, and vendor information should never be put in the Cloud. In addition, sensitive data such as employee and or client records that contain Personally Identifiable Information (PII) should never be placed in a Cloud or Hosted Service resource. All data that is placed into a Cloud or Hosted resource should be routinely checked and verified that it does not contain any sensitive data. In addition, all data stored in the Cloud or a Hosted Service should be categorized so that it is easier to check and verify. The best advice is to never put something in the Cloud or a Hosted resource that cannot or should not be shared with the general public.
Businesses also need to be careful of putting all of their “eggs” in the same basket(s)… as it could come at a very high cost and become extremely painful if something bad happens. This could be something as simple as a service interruption or Internet outage, or something much worse like a data breach. Always be mindful that the “Cloud” is someone else’s computer that neither you, nor your business control.
“What’s the true cost of the Cloud?”
Before moving to the Cloud, and or using Hosted Service Solutions, we must also address the question of “What’s the true cost of the cloud?” Here is a short list of some hidden costs that many businesses overlook before making their move to the Cloud:
- Ongoing Costs… This includes, but is not limited to subscription costs that increase over time.
- Vendor Locking… Easy to get there, but lots of difficulty moving back to on-premises or away to another provider.
- Security and Privacy Issues… We hear about them all the time. There are many that have not been disclosed yet, and many may never be disclosed. Especially from the “Too Big to Fail” service providers.
- Compliance Issues… PCI DSS / HIPAA / and others
- Multi-Tenancy Risks… The breach of one account could allow someone to breach them all.
- Loss of Control…The Cloud is someone else’s computing and storage infrastructure that you do not control.
- Data Breaches happen all the time… yours could become the next big headline.
- Data Loss, Data Corruption, Accidental Deletions that go unnoticed for a period of time, items not being backed up by other methods.
- End User License Agreements (EULAs)… Who actually owns your Data in the Cloud? Most likely the provider does. Guaranteed Microsoft and Google does if you use their Cloud services, it’s in their EULA.
Bottom Line… Everything comes at a cost, but it doesn’t have to be a sacrifice. Businesses will never be as secure in the Cloud or on a Hosted service as they would be if they remained on premises. However, there are ways to limit risk and still take advantage of certain Cloud solutions that will provide great benefit to your organization. It all starts with having a conversation. We’re here to help you figure out what’s the right fit for your organization!
Here’s how we can help with your
ITNS Consulting is dedicated to providing the very best services to proactively support, maintain, and securely protect your business interests. Our suite of technology solutions are specifically designed to efficiently and effectively save time and money in addition to providing considerable value well beyond what many other providers offer. Here are just a few important reasons to consider our Cloud Services and other solutions over what you may currently have in place:
- Security Consulting by Certified Professionals
- Cloud Preparedness Assessments for Businesses
- Cloud Migrations to and from Office 365 and G-Suite
- Risk & Threat Assessments
- Internal & External Vulnerability Assessments
- Security Policies & Procedures
- Compliance Management (PCI-DSS, HIPAA, Other PII)
- Documented Change Management
- Security Awareness Training & Testing
- Security Products
- Hosted Anti-Virus
- Hosted Email Security
- Hosted Web Filtering
- Security Hardware (Firewalls, IDS/IPS, Etc.)
- Secure Domain & DNS Management
- Secure Vendor Management
- Incident Response & Notification Management
As a Microsoft Partner, we have the ability to leverage Microsoft’s cloud service offerings such as Microsoft Azure, Microsoft Dynamics, Office 365, Exchange Email, SharePoint, OneDrive, Skype for Business, and a whole lot more. Our experienced systems engineering team can work with Microsoft’s professional deployment teams to securely integrate these advanced technologies into your business. This is truly a win, as it unlocks the door for Customer Management, Collaboration, Application Deployment, and Advanced Security on a global scale.