Most likely you’ve heard all of the commotion around cloud computing and know that it’s the “Next Big Thing” in business technology. Yet, despite all of the hype, most businesses really don’t understand exactly what cloud computing is and what it could do to help their business. “What are my options?” and “What is right for me?” are two of the top questions that I hear quite often. Here are 3 of the most common types of cloud computing solutions for business. Could one of these be right for you?
- Pure Cloud: This is where all your applications and data are put on Internet servers (in the cloud) and accessed through various devices (laptops, desktops, iPads, phones) via the Internet. Although “pure” cloud computing has valid applications, for many it’s downright scary. And for most, it is NOT the smartest move due to compliance issues, security restrictions or performance issues.
- Hybrid Cloud: A hybrid cloud enables you to put certain pieces of existing IT infrastructure (say, e-mail and some data) in the cloud, and the remainder of the IT infrastructure stays on premise. This gives you the ability to enjoy the cost savings and benefits of cloud computing where it makes the most sense without risking your entire environment.
- Point Solutions: Another option would be simply to put certain applications, like SharePoint or Microsoft Exchange, in the cloud while keeping everything else on-site. Since e-mail is usually a critical application that everyone needs, and they want access on the road with various devices (iPad, smart phone, etc.), this solution is often a great way to get the advanced features of Microsoft Exchange without the cost of installing and supporting your own in-house Exchange server.
Keep in mind that there is no “perfect” one-size-fits-all cloud solution for every business. All options have different benefits and risk. The best option for your business has to be determined on a case-by-case basis based on your company’s requirements.