Cloud Computing

Cloud computing diagrams, applications, information and services.

Cloud Computing Definition

Cloud computing is a malleable concept which provides for convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (network components, servers, memory, storage, applications, and additional resources & services) all of which can be rapidly deployed. Cloud Computing may be seen in a variety of models such as a Private Cloud, Hybrid Cloud, Virtual Private Cloud, and Public Cloud to name a few.

Most Businesses will gravitate toward using a Hybrid Cloud, or a Virtual Private Cloud. Some companies due to internal policies or desire for greater control, will forego the economic benefits that the previous two Cloud Computing models offer, and will opt to use a Private Cloud instead, where the company would still purchase and maintain their own equipment but would could use virtualization and a variety of underlying computing resources for fault tolerance, operational efficiencies, resource consolidation, and so on -pending on the needs of the company.

What is Cloud Computing

(See also How does Cloud Computing Work – Cloud Computing Diagram for illustrations). Cloud Computing gives subscribing companies the ability to leverage other company’s huge investment in computing resources (stored in places called datacenters). Cloud Computing Companies divide up this massive amount of computing resources through a method called virtualization. Virtualization gives the ability to dynamically create, expand or move virtual applications, virtual desktops, or virtual servers. Virtualization allows the pool of computing resources to be dynamically compartmentalized and to run independent of the collective underlying hardware. Virtual resources can then be added as needed (such as more “RAM” (memory), & hard drive space). This gives Cloud Computing users substantial benefits from cost savings on hardware and the ability to quickly and cost-effectively as expand (or reduce) based off your company’s need. While at the same time Cloud Computing offers multiple levels of redundancies in its underlying hardware and Internet connections at the data centers.

This allows Cloud Computing Companies to carve out a single application, multiple servers, or desktops based off what a particular company needs today, and should the company need to add additional hard drive space, memory (RAM), or processors (CPU), it can be done in seconds. This means Cloud Computing companies don’t have to physically go and shut down the servers, desktops, or applications to actually add more hard drive space, memory or processors. Instead Cloud Computing Companies essentially log into their interface, select the requested resource ,click a button to select how much extra resources desired, hit apply and then the virtual desktop (also known as a “hosted Desktop”) or virtual server (“Hosted Server”) has just been upgraded!

To help illustrate Cloud Computing, see How does Cloud Computing Work – Diagram cloud computing

To better understand how this can impact your businesses’ bottom line see Pros and Cons of Cloud Computing.

Common Cloud Computing Questions:

Who owns the cloud? The servers that all the data resides on can be owned by one or more companies, depending on who provides the Cloud Services. The data that you put in the cloud, would belong to you, unless you agree that you are giving away ownership by putting your data in the Cloud. Due to this it is vitally important that you read any agreement prior to moving your data to the cloud.

What is a Private Cloud? The cloud infrastructure in a Private Cloud is run for one organization but may be managed by that organizations internal IT staff, or a third party. With a Private Cloud, the economic advantages of the cloud are lost as the company must still buy, manage and maintain the equipment. Those companies that use a private cloud to more easily control security, deployment time, and still get some of the benefits of virtualization such as hardware consolidation. See also Virtual Private Cloud.

What is a Virtual Private Cloud? A Virtual Private Cloud is a cloud for a business which resides on datacenters owned or provisioned by Cloud Computing Companies which design the Virtual Private Cloud to be “private” -for use solely by the requesting company and whomever that company deems should have access. A Virtual Private Cloud could include firewalls that separate the company’s data from others, a virtual local area network (a private network restricting data traffic based off requested design), and it can include various auditing, reporting, and encryption on the data as well. To securely connect to the Virtual Private Cloud, the company could use various methods, one of which is by a Virtual Private Network (VPNs), another method (the same method many online banks use) is through a Secure Socket Layer connection (SSL), and some very security conscious companies will use multiple layers of security to connect.

Is Cloud computing & Grid computing the same thing? No. Cloud Computing typically uses Grid computing. To better understand Grid computing, see What is Grid Computing

Cloud Computing -More information

Cloud Computing may be divided, sub-divided, into a mind-boggling variety of acronyms of different services that will go beyond the scope of what most business owners want to know. At Frustration Free IT, we want you to understand the basic concept of what is going on in Cloud Computing so you can see how and where your company can use Cloud Computing.

Many businesses have been exposed to something similar to Cloud Computing in the past, but in the area where phone companies are involved. Have you ever heard of Centrex lines? This is a type of hosted service that phone companies offer. In this structure, the phone company’s own and maintain all the expensive phone equipment, (basically a very large phone system), and because they own it, they deal with all the behind the scenes maintenance and labor, but you just pay them a flat monthly fee for this service, which is based off the number of phone lines or phones you use and what services you want such as voicemail, or caller ID.

Analogous to the phone company example, Cloud Computing allows companies to use Cloud Computing Companies instead of investing thousands of dollars to buy company servers and then spend thousands more to maintain them (and replace every four years or so), subscribers to Cloud Computing pay only for what they use on a monthly basis.

To better understand the impact, know that when we buy a server, we don’t buy what we actually need today, instead we must anticipate what our company will need over the next three or four years. Because of this, a lot of what we buy sits idle for years without really being used. Further, if we took a loan out for the equipment we are actually paying for something we aren’t even using. This is further exacerbated if the company grows slower than anticipated, but when the company buys or leases the equipment it is committed to that action.

When a company purchases the computing resources (traditional route) it is also more expensive when the company grows faster than anticipated. While greater than expected growth can be very good, the added cost is not.

Once the computing resources are in place in the traditional route and growth goes beyond what the equipment was planned for, its often very costly to expand using the initial equipment. These cost, include hardware purchases, labor to install, and a more time-consuming migration process, though the biggest losses can stem from the additional interruptions to business operations during the transition period, all of which negatively impact the profitability and company’s ability to deliver on its promises and remain competitive in the market place . Contrast this with Cloud Computing, in which these hardware associated costs are eliminated.

Oregon Cloud services for Oregon-based businesses can make a substantial difference to a company’s bottom-line.

It is true, that there are many cost-savings & strategic benefits when using cloud computing and cloud services. Getting away from having to upgrade the hardware of a server every 3-5 years is just one. Other benefits include not having to buy (and continually pay for upgrades) of typical software (like Microsoft Office).

But a substantial amount of value really comes from efficiencies that can be achieved in updating operating procedures to leverage the accessibility of data and employees.

Just about every business would benefit by using cloud services today, but here are some things that can help you determine if cloud services will help your company.

  1. If you have remote users, Cloud services may be ideal for your business.
  2. If you are currently paying to maintain one or more servers? Due to the expense, limitations, and risk, you may want to consider cloud services.
  3. Have projects that requires hiring staff for? Or perhaps a business with lots of employee turn-over? Cloud services can help quickly cut costs when your staff decreases and start-up immediately at the next business cycle, or for the next project when you start adding more employees.
  4. Cloud Computing & associated cloud services are not an all-or nothing scenario. Some things make bottom-line sense to have “in the cloud”, others don’t have adequate advantages either to the businesses operations or cost-savings. That said, some things can have tremendous “game-changing” effects on a company’s operations. What’s important to note, is that just because part of the company may use cloud computing services, everything doesn’t need to.
  5. Desktops, or laptop computers no longer need to be robust, and can be a fraction of their cost. So costs per employee decrease.
  6. Support & maintenance costs drop to a fraction due to the structure of cloud computing.
  7. Streamlining workflows, leveraging phones and other devices can not only improve client satisfaction, but reduce overhead, and improve cashflow.

Learn more today, with a No Risk, No Obligation, completely free Cloud Computing consultation for your business.
Schedule a FREE Consultation with a Cloud Computing Specialist today (before your competitors do).
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Cloud Storage is a form of data storage where your data is transferred and stored on one of more servers or devices. Cloud storage is most commonly housed across one or more datacenters and is frequently termed online data backup and storage. There are many benefits to Cloud storage, and include:

  1. With Cloud Storage, data is accessible from anywhere that has an Internet connection -high-speed Internet is desirable.
  2. Those needing access to the Cloud Storage can access the data from various devices with different operating systems such as an iPad, a desktop running Windows 10, a MacBook, and Android or iPhone, etc..
  3. When data is stored in the cloud, it is always on and available, with far more redundancy they what we could ever afford to pay for our own office.
  4. Internet access to the data centers (where Cloud Storage takes place) is much faster than a typical office has. This makes cloud storage ideal for when we have “users” (employees, subcontractors, project team members, and so forth that need to have access to this data) and they are in various locations. However, in the case where we have a lot of users in a single location, in particular when they all share a single connection to the Internet, Cloud Storage for the purpose of daily operations may not be ideal, primarily for two core reasons:
    1. Performance- As more people access the Internet, our connection to our Cloud Storage will seem to slow down. There are various factors that can increase or decrease the performance, such as the amount of bandwidth and what people are doing on the Internet -downloading large files, streaming music, printing and so forth.
    2. Risk of operational downtime-The risk of someone cutting through our local Internet connection, or our Internet provider’s inability to provide reliable & robust service is one of the greatest obstacles to using Cloud Storage, and when many users are reliant on a single connection, this risk magnifies the potential downside costs (should the Internet go down, what amount of production/operations would be hindered and what does this translate to on our bottom-line as a company).
  5. Cloud Storage can also be used as an extremely effective way of offsite data backup and a key component in a disaster recovery plan. To learn more about cloud storage in the role of Cloud Backup and how it can be a vital part for your company, even when it would not be a good fit for main stream operations, see Cloud Storage for backups & Disaster Recovery.
  6. Cloud storage when used as a Cloud Backup offers:
    1. Security- With Cloud Computing Managed Online Backup Services, data is often first compressed and encrypted prior to leaving your server or computer.
    2. Automation- Never have to remember to take your backup offsite again
    3. Fast recoverability

Cloud Storage and Hybrid Cloud Computing

Cloud Storage is one component of what Cloud Computing can offer. Just like Cloud Storage other attributes from Cloud Computing may be used to help an organization improve its operations and bottom-line profitability without moving completely to a full Cloud Computing environment. See Hybrid Cloud Computing to learn how it can benefit your company.

Cloud Clients is the term used to refer to the devices and often the devices’ operating system that are used to access Cloud Services. Some examples of these include: Smartphones, iPhones, netbooks, iPad, thin clients, thick clients (AKA fat client), and so on.

Thin client – often refers to a computer that has very basic functionality, and mainly offloads the bulk of functionality to a server.

Thick clients ( fat client ) – A computer that doesn’t need or rely on a server to run. A typical computer is a thick client.

With Cloud Computing, whichever cloud client you use to connect to your Cloud application or Cloud desktop, that device is acting more in the role of a thin client. Whereby it is essentially getting you connected to the Cloud where all the work is actually being done.

Companies can save hundreds of dollars in the hardware /software savings alone, by replacing expensive notebooks with various types of more cost-effective Cloud Clients. The savings with Cloud Computing and cloud clients doesn’t end there however, and a cloud client can take a fraction of the time to setup than a typical computer or notebook would take.

Audience: Business owners & managers

Because the term Cloud Computing is all-inclusive a lot of fear regarding security of cloud computing has arisen. Many business owners may incorrectly assume that Cloud computing is not ideal for their company or worth looking into for fear of security or loss of control.

This article will help business owners understand the basics to the different levels of security with respect to cloud computing and business use. We will also discuss some of the different aspects of cloud computing that are ideal for businesses to consider.

Cloud Security

Data Center Security versus Typical Office Security

cloud computing security analogy for businesses considering cloud computing would be that of a standard house (for the average business level of security) to that of a bank. The bank is analogous to datacenters specifically setup for secure cloud computing needs. I won’t delve into all the technical jargon, but simply understand that banks are designed knowing that they need to be secure, thus access is controlled, monitored and numerous contingency plans are in place for differing scenarios. The average office however may not have security cameras, monitoring, alarms, or various levels of access controls for the building access, or proper network access levels & auditing configured -should someone gain access to an employee’s computer.
Today, most businesses have a full-time connection to the Internet just as datacenters do. However, in the cloud computing environment, which stores data in one or more data centers, the level of security and auditing for intrusion is far greater than that of a typical office.

Cloud Computing Security Analogy –step two. Many companies use cloud computing today, but in different ways. It is the large diversity that leads to excessive fear over cloud computing security. Keeping with our analogy, let’s say there is another building, this time a place where many people come together and socialize, perhaps a club. Each club would have its own security policies and requirements and a breach in security in one club should not reflect a weakness in security for a bank. One building is configured for differing needs. The typical club has a lot of external social interaction, whereas the bank (secure data center) is built around secure storage and access.
Based off this analogy, most businesses are looking for the “bank” scenario. In cloud computing you will see this as “Virtual Private Cloud Computing”.
Before I delve into Virtual Private Cloud Computing, as a business owner you may be thinking, I need my server(s) in my office regardless because my Internet may go down. We address this with Hybrid cloud computing. Hybrid Cloud Computing allows business to leverage Virtual Private Cloud computing (often for disaster recovery), and still keep their server(s) in their office. Hybrid Cloud Computing may be more ideal for businesses than a full cloud computing environment. Because of this, let’s first look at Hybrid Cloud Computing as it affects businesses.

Business Examples of Hybrid Cloud Computing

Hybrid Cloud Computing Scenario 1

A business wants to ensure a good disaster recovery system is in place for their current operating environment. The business contacts their technology consultants that focus on cloud computing and/or hosted technology *. The consulting firm delivers Hybrid Cloud computing in the form of a box that sits in the office & connects to the local office network. The box takes snapshots of the current server(s) at a definable time period. Should the local server(s) fail – (such as due to a hardware failure); the box can start running in place of the failed server(s) using the last snapshot. So where a business could be non-operational for weeks, with this hybrid cloud computing scenario they can be operational in a few minutes.
One step beyond this is that the box can also send compressed and encrypted replications “images” to a datacenter (using Virtual private Cloud Computing) this replication or “image” can become active at the remote location so that core business operations can still be accomplished. This addresses the risk of theft, fire, power outage, or other “disasters” that would prevent the servers from running at the local office.

Should your business consider this type of Hybrid Cloud Computing?

There are many ways to address disaster recovery. This scenario of hybrid cloud computing is ideal for businesses that are extremely sensitive to their servers being operational. Industries that may have extreme time-sensitivity to outages that warrant this use of hybrid cloud computing range from Healthcare, to Oil & Gas, Financial industry and more.
*If you are not aware of a good consulting firm, just let us know where you are located and we can suggest a reputable technology consulting company in your area.

Hybrid Cloud Computing Scenario 2

A business doesn’t want to tie up its capital in server equipment anymore, but has the need to keep the server(s) in the office “local”. The business contacts their technology provider that offers on onsite hosted server for a flat monthly fee. (If you don’t know of one, let us know and we will refer a reputable company to you). This box which can contain multiple servers is configured to run just like in the scenario 1 fail-over, but additional hardware changes to the box are typically done to make it more robust so that it is used as the primary local server(s).
Just like above, the box has the option to automatically send secure backups to secure datacenter(s). This scenario is very attractive for most businesses weary about using “Cloud Computing”, or Virtual Private Cloud Computing as their main method of operation.
This scenario of Hybrid Cloud Computing can give the below benefits (and more) to business:

  1. Frees up capital for the business
  2. Provides a fixed monthly amount instead of an unknown variable amount the company will spend on IT services
  3. Shifts most of the risk from the company to the provider
  4. Keeps the data local
  5. Provides the framework for offsite of disaster recovery
  6. Like with virtual private cloud computing, it gives ability for the company to save in some software costs by not having to purchase it, but use on a monthly basis.

Virtual Private Cloud Computing

With Virtual Private Cloud Computing, a business would have significant enough benefit to warrant moving their server(s) “to the cloud”. Keeping with the analogy, think of a large building that has multiple offices in the building. This building has some floors that are secure, and have restricted access to enter and it is on one of these floors where your bank resides. This is the case with virtual private cloud computing. Your company’s network environment and therefore business operating environment is built as a secure floor in this building (data center). Breaking from the analogy, unlike the real world of office building, your virtual private cloud computing environment can send encrypted images of its environment to a backup data center. In the off chance an entire datacenter goes down, just like with our hybrid cloud computing scenario of offsite backups, the fail-over datacenter(s), can activate the last image and be operational in minutes.
For peace of mind, some business owners want to have an image of their cloud environment stored to their local office as well. Thinking back of the hybrid cloud scenario, the local image could be loaded on a local box “server(s)” and be operational locally instead of in the cloud-based environment.

Security concerns with Virtual Private Cloud Computing

Now that we’ve done the build analogies, suppose the janitors, who have keys to all the offices decides to go raid the sensitive information in your virtual private cloud computing environment? So, the question here is What about the system administrators in the data centers who I don’t know or trust?
An extremely valid point and there is definitely an answer. For most companies, especially small businesses, the level of security and authentication at data centers is enough. However, for some industries, and for some businesses more security is needed
Auditing & access control-
Auditing can be enabled so that business owners know who accessed (or tried to access) any file or folder, when, and what (if any) changes were made. Further, and in some highly sensitive cases we create folders that the owner is the only person who knows the password to. This means neither their cloud computing consulting firm, nor any administrator can access the folder without breaking the encryption on the folder. To make matters more secure the folder keeps a log (auditing) of every attempt to access, and when accessed who, when, for how long and what, (if anything) was changed. So with virtual private cloud computing there are multiple layers of security and auditing to protect a company’s data. But knowing this, the question still remains…

Is Cloud computing ideal for your business?

If so, is it something like the Hybrid Cloud Computing or Virtual Private Cloud Computing?
To help you see which is more ideal for your business operations, see our page on “The pros and cons of Cloud Computing“. Which helps highlights many of the business benefits and the downsides as well.
Considering Cloud Computing for your business? We are here to help. Feel free to contact us, as we’d love to talk to you and help you determine if cloud computing would be beneficial for your company.

Security Issues with Cloud Computing

Cloud Computing Security issues depend on the type of Cloud Computing used. The framework for Cloud Computing Security is the same we would use for information security. With Cloud Computing specifically we are addressing new variables have changed over a more traditional network infrastructure, but we follow the same process of protecting the confidentiality, integrity and availability of our business data, business applications, and our Cloud Computing Clients (devices). Cloud Security issues arise when there is a failure to adequately address the variables in specific Cloud Computing implementation.

Because Cloud Computing is too broad to go into all the details for the associated security, Cloud Computing Security issues should be done on a case-by-case basis. What is acceptable for one company will not be for another. Therefore, here are some of the areas of concern with Cloud Computing Security:

The Cloud Computing Company’s Security (The hosting company, or provider)

In a multi-tenant Cloud Computing scenario, attacks by other users 

Those using the same hardware or applications, what measures are put in place for isolating, protecting and auditing.

Operating System and application Security Settings

Vulnerabilities in the code for the operating system, application, as well as viruses, malware, and manual and automated attacks all have to be considered and addressed.

Availability & Reliability Issues How do you get support, guaranteed response times and service levels, availability from the Cloud Company’s side, availability from the business side, reliability and security between the business and the Cloud Computing Company, and auditing of these issues.

Legal & Regulatory Issues What laws and regulations are applicable in cloud computing, what measures are in place to ensure control (including the control over where the data may reside), what certifications are needed for compliance

Trust level between the Cloud and the Business (are only some operations run in the cloud, if so, what is the trust relationship between the cloud and the rest of the organization).

Cloud Computing Company’s security matched with businesses – The Cloud Computing security issues one may first think of here, are the Cloud Computing Company’s policy for reporting breaches in security, or their controls over security; but because Cloud Computing Companies are very concerned in ensuring the security of their clients, and their client’s data, one issue to not forget is the business’s control over their employee’s and what they are doing in the cloud environment, and if inappropriate what are the actions from the Cloud Computing Company toward the business.

The bottom line in regards to Cloud Computing and security is that it should not be taken lightly, businesses should use Cloud Computing consultants to strategize and plan their migration, and for most small and medium businesses the Cloud Computing security will be a significant improvement.

Cloud storage backups can be an important part of a disaster recovery plan. Using Cloud Storage can be an easy and effective way to protect a company and an essential part of a Disaster Recovery Plan. Most businesses use Hybrid Cloud Computing to keep their data onsite and protect their company operations.

Even though businesses spend a lot of money on servers and network devices (technology infrastructure), to improve operations, service, and remain competitive. A scary fact is most companies don’t have an effective method in place for disaster recovery. Unfortunately, owners and managers don’t realize just how dependent their company is on this technology until it is too late. Statistics regarding business failures after data loss are staggering, though most business owners don’t see their company as a potential part of that statistic until they already are.

The majority of business owners do not realize how long their company could be down for something as common as a failed piece of hardware. Most business owners or managers think they have a tape backup or an image (something) that their company can recover to. Sadly, many companies find out too late, that the backup wasn’t tested and failed to recoverrisking the entire company on something that is a trivial cost in comparison to such a substantial negative impact. Often not verifying the backup worked, or that someone took a good backup offsite, or assuming a backup was good and never doing a test restore are all too common scenarios. Tape backup? Think again! Do you realize how long a full restore would take? What if it was a hardware failure, how long would it take to actually get the parts and THEN restore? The point beingmany companies unwittingly jeopardize thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost productivity which can easily, and cost-effectively be resolved.

Because Hybrid Cloud Computing can mitigate these risks, businesses stand to gain a tremendous amount by using Cloud Computing for Disaster Recovery.

Assume the worse did happen (a disaster), and someone broke into your office and took all your equipment, or perhaps your office burned down… What is your next step? Where is your latest backup? Is it a tape? Was the tape drive in the server that is now gone or no longer functioning? Where is the replacement server? How long will it take to get one? (Days? Weeks? … Do they still make that model?) Once you have a replacement server how many hours or days will it take to install the operating system and applications and restore your data to get your business working? Where is your software? Is it lost, burned, stolen too? Now it can be hours, days, or weeks to get back up and running, depending on how well your disaster recovery plan has been thought out, and if your current technology Support Company or internal IT Department hasn’t created one with you, then you may want someone that is more interested in helping protect your company.

Benefits of using Cloud Computing for Disaster Recovery

  1. Cloud recovery reduces the need for expensive hardware such as tape drives, tapes, and storage devices.
  2. Automated offsite backups.
  3. Ability to have access to your data within minutes of a failure.
  4. With a properly structured disaster recovery plan, your company could have the additional ability to have the last backup restored (within minutes) to the Cloud which would allow your server to be recreated (as a “virtual server”), and have your virtual server functional until your local server is replaced.
  5. It doesn’t have to be Cloud Computing and nothing else. Your Disaster Recovery plan could (and should) be a mixture between local images (a type of backup) and your offsite. Hybrid Cloud Computing

    Bottom line: Cloud Computing for Disaster Recovery just makes protecting your company a lot easier and substantially more cost-effective.

    Already a Cloud Computing user and think you don’t need to worry about Disaster Recovery because your vendor does multiple backups for you?
    Another type of disaster that you should plan for is in the event the Cloud provider goes out of business or is unable to operate (there are a variety of reasons that could cause this).

    In this case, you should have additional backup & storage services setup with different vendors, and/or keeping a local copy of your data as well.

    People interested in Cloud Computing for Disaster Recovery, were also interested in:
    Storage – Managed Online Backup Service

    To have a Cloud-based Disaster Recovery Plan tailored for your company, contact us. 

Hybrid Cloud Computing is using portions of Cloud Computing and traditional internal network equipment. For most companies, this is the most practical use of Cloud Computing.

Hybrid Cloud Computing has no requirements as to what must services it include, which gives businesses the flexibility to examine what functionality Cloud Computing has to offer and having a solution designed to keep components of the business’s traditional network structure while incorporating improvements made possible through Hybrid Cloud Computing. Hybrid Cloud Computing gives businesses the ability to incorporate Cloud Computing that fit within the company’s policies, yield the greatest return, competitive advantages, and reduce risks and limitations a traditional network has on businesses.

For some companies, Hybrid Cloud Computing may involve using Cloud Storage as seen in Cloud Computing for Disaster Recovery. Other companies will use Hybrid Cloud Computing to free up cash by not having to buy their own server and instead have a monthly agreement for a server to be physically at their office (yes in their building and not in a data center somewhere). In this Hybrid Computing Model, the company will pay a monthly fee which will often include the maintenance done on the server, technical support for the company, local and office backups of the server data. Data that is stored offsite by default is compressed and encrypted prior to sending the data offsite “in the cloud.”

Hybrid Cloud Computing where the Cloud Computing Company brings equipment to run at the businesses has some major advantages for businesses with minimal downsides.
The benefits of this type of Hybrid Cloud Computing model are:

  1. The business does not have to buy hardware such as servers.
  2. The Hybrid Cloud Computing service may be offered on a monthly basis.
  3. It gives businesses financial and operational flexibility.
  4. The equipment the Cloud Computing Company brings on premise uses technology to help ensure reliability to business operations.
  5. The Cloud Computing Company monitors the online backup service.
  6. The ability to quickly recover in the event of a disaster is improved.
  7. The Cloud Computing Company is responsible for keeping their equipment running.

What are the potential downsides of the Hybrid Cloud Computing when structured this way?

  1. Be sure to look at the Service Level Agreement (SLA) in these areas in particular, to make sure the terms are acceptable.
    1. What are the guaranteed response times for support?
    2. What is the recourse if the technical support is slower to respond than the SLA?
    3. Who is doing the support? If you are in the healthcare industry be sure they sign your Business Associate Agreement (BAA)
    4. What methods of support do they offer? Phone, remote, onsite (and the response time for each).
  2. The fault-tolerance of a full Cloud Computing structure is not obtained.
  3. The monthly service cost may be expensive.

Another popular Hybrid Cloud Computing Model is used in Cloud Computing for Disaster Recovery. This model leverages different components of Cloud Computing to support traditional network infrastructures. Instead of the Cloud Computing Company bringing equipment in for your business to run on, the Cloud Computing Company (or Managed Solutions Provider in this case) will bring in another system that will image (a virtual snapshot) the company’s server(s). Should the business’s servers fail, the Hybrid Cloud Computing equipment can load the last image, and in less than an hour, the business can have the full functionality of the original servers running even though they are down.

How much time is lost depends on how frequently the company images run. The smallest time frame is about every 15 minutes for an image. In addition, with this Hybrid Cloud Computing equipment in place, the business may opt to have the automatic online backup service used as well, which will compress, encrypt and store desired data or entire images online. This Hybrid Cloud Computing model is offered as a monthly service.

What is a Virtual Private Cloud?

A virtual private cloud is an isolated environment that often uses software (hypervisor) to segment specified hardware resources for the exclusive use of a particular person or company.

Confused? Let’s look at something you may be more familiar with. 

Think of a tall office building. Most businesses don’t have the resources or desire to buy an entire building. Instead of owning your own building, you rent a room or multiple connected rooms, and though you don’t own these rooms, they are made to be for your use and no one else can access them until you have finished.

What is a private cloud?

A private cloud is when hardware, such as a group of servers, is used by a single person or company. This is just like having your servers in your office, only you take advantage of using someone else’s servers (and other resources) in datacenters.

In the same way, you can compare a server with a virtual private server. If you have a server in your office, chances are your server can be “virtualized” by using a hypervisor. Hypervisors allow virtualization-compatible hardware to be segmented to create virtual servers or virtual machines. This allows you to have multiple virtual servers running from a single physical server.

  1. Internet connection is required for Cloud Computing. You must have an Internet connection to access your data.
  2. Internet Connection Quality & Cloud Computing
    1. Low Bandwidth If you can only get low bandwidth Internet (like dial-up) then you should not consider using Cloud Computing. Bandwidth is commonly referred to as “how fast a connection is” or what the “speed” of your Internet is. The bandwidth to download data may not be the same as it is to send data.
    2. Unreliable Internet connection If you can get high-speed Internet but it is unreliable (meaning your connection drops frequently and/or it can be down for long periods at a time), Cloud Computing may not be for you. You may need to first look into a more reliable Internet connection first.
    3. The type of internet connection matters. Without getting into the technical details, as a general rule, Satellite connections (for your Internet) will result in poor performance even if it is high bandwidth. This due to the time it takes to send data from your computer/device to the satellite and then back to Earth. The term to describe this time in technical terms is “latency”. For Cloud Computing, just like with VoIP and online video conferencing, you want to have as little latency as possible. The less latency the more responsive the connection to the Cloud will appear (assuming you have adequate bandwidth). That said; just know that there are some satellite providers that specialize in low latency connections and regardless of what type of connection to the Internet you have, it is a factor. Elon Musk’s new company “Starlink” is an example of an ideal satellite internet connection.
    4. Cellular Internet connection – Understand it may not be ideal, but for the road warriors and travelers, yes it is possible and functional in many cases. Because there are a lot of variables in this scenario, the best suggestion is to have a test done with the company you choose to be your Cloud Computing Company. A perfect scenario is when we have our service reps, or delivery personnel going onsite and they need to type into the main system to track their status, etc. In the construction industry we see this used a lot for various project sites as well as getting another type of Internet connection in some areas and under given timelines would not be possible or practical.
    5. Internet Management The number of people using the internet connection at your office, combined with what they are doing on the Internet (listening to online radio, watching online videos, downloading or uploading (sending) large files to/from their local computer, gaming, printing from the Cloud, and so on) can impact the quality of the Cloud Computing connection. This needs to be considered and planned out prior using Cloud Computing for a significant part of your company’s operations.
  3. Cloud Computing Security Issues & Cloud Computing Security Risks The thought of having your company’s data outside of your building makes most people nervous (and with good reason). There are many security issues that must be addressed when looking at a cloud solution and Cloud Computing security should not be taken lightly. A business owner or manager should not plan on setting up Cloud Computing without technical assistance and advice as the results could be disastrous. Be sure you use a technology consulting firm with experience in this area.
  4. Cloud Computing Contracts & Agreements Have you looked through some of these yet?! It is critical to have a good agreement; most are not up for negotiation, though several large companies have been able to have them revised. If you are not happy with the service agreement the Cloud Computing Company you’re considering offers, then look for another company to do business with.
  5. Some industry-specific applications require a USB or hardware security device to be attached to the computer or server for the application to run. If you have such an application, Cloud Computing may not be a possibility. Your Cloud Computing Company should be able to work with your vendor to see if this is a possibility for your company.
  6. Your company will still need a Disaster Recovery Plan, and if you have one now, it will need to be revised to address the changes for when you are using Cloud Computing.
  7. Cloud Computing is not always more cost-effective, and the benefits and efficiencies that the Cloud can offer, may not benefit your company’s operation.

In summary, there are some compelling reasons to look into how Cloud Computing could impact your company. Companies with remote workers, branch locations, fluctuating employee levels, projects, collaboration needs, or a small business just starting out, often have the most compelling reasons to transition to the Cloud. These situations can often leverage the Cloud for strategic advantages, operational efficiencies, eliminate large capital outlays, yield higher ROI, and so on.

For a consultation to assess whether there are adequate benefits for your company to move to the Cloud, and what those Cloud Services may cost on a monthly basis, feel free to contact us.

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