Transitioning to the Cloud

The cloud is one of the biggest technology buzzwords of the 21st century. But what is the cloud? What benefits does the cloud provide? Is it safe to move your data to the cloud? Can using cloud services save you money? These are all important questions if you are considering transitioning some or all of your infrastructure to the cloud.

The cloud or cloud computing is making use of virtual computers and storage space that exist outside your own network. Companies like Amazon, Microsoft, and Google have built enormous amounts of infrastructure to support other peoples’ needs for storage and computing. By taking advantage of economies of scale, they can sometimes offer you the same computing power and storage space for less than you’d pay to buy, install, and maintain your own physical equipment.

There are a number of things to be gained by eliminating local infrastructure. A cloud provider will take over the duties of maintaining, upgrading, and replacing the equipment at their own cost. They will pay for cooling the equipment and for the power the equipment uses. They will keep the equipment secure and provide redundant power and internet connections. If your data or services need constant uptime and high levels of security, it will likely be cheaper to outsource these responsibilities to a cloud provider.

The safety and security of your data and services is of paramount concern to small businesses. Can you achieve the same level of protection in your server closet as would be provided by a cloud provider? Well, it depends. Do you have a power generator in case of a long power outage? Do you control access to your building to keep someone from walking out with a server or backup drive? Do you have more than one internet provider as a backup if your main provider goes down? Most small to medium sized business owners do not have even one of those things in place. Providers like Amazon, Microsoft, and Google furnish every one of those things and more.

Along the same lines, choosing a cloud provider that is committed to safety and security is very important. FEDRamp is a government-wide program that provides a standardized approach to security assessment, authorization, and continuous monitoring for cloud products and services. Many providers like Microsoft, Amazon, and IBM do comply with FedRAMP’s standards. Although, conspicuously missing from the list is Google’s Cloud Platform. When choosing your provider, certification from FedRAMP is a good indicator that a provider takes security seriously.

Generally the most common reason to transition to cloud based services is the reduction in overall cost. It takes less personnel to use cloud services than to support a physical infrastructure. Also, cloud services eliminate wasted hardware and energy. A physical server in your office may only ever be running at 10% of its total capacity. With most cloud services, you only pay for the computing power and storage you are using at any given moment.

After considering the above information, it may be time for you to start planning your transition from physical infrastructure to cloud services. J. J. Micro will help you choose the provider and plan that best balances performance, cost, and security for your specific needs.

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