With cloud computing, you can access various IT resources, such as software programs and data storage facilities, through the internet. In other words, you don’t need expensive hardware or IT architecture to get started — all you need is a compatible device and an internet connection.
So, how do you access the cloud? If you’re like most companies, you’ll opt for a cloud provider.
Cloud providers are third-party companies that offer cloud services on demand. There are two types of providers:
- Managed – The provider handles the cloud services for you and offers tech support.
- Unmanaged – You’re solely responsible for installing and maintaining the cloud infrastructure.
But whether you opt for managed or unmanaged services, how do you access the cloud? By choosing a cloud model.
Cloud provider models
Although there’s no one way to access the cloud, here are the three most common cloud provider models from which to choose.
- Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) – You get servers, storage, and networking access that you build on for your purposes. It’s the most basic model and is most suited to tech companies with substantial cloud expertise.
- Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) – With PaaS, you get extra tools and development software. It’s a good option for developers looking to build apps.
- Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) – SaaS gives you access to all the programs you know well. It’s by far the most popular option.
The cloud provider model you choose ultimately depends on what you need from the service, so it’s vital to set some goals before selecting a vendor.
When you pick a vendor, you’ll sign a Service Level Agreement (SLA). This agreement sets out what the provider will offer you and what they expect from you in return. But do your research and don’t rush into signing anything — here are points to consider before you sign the SLA.
In the long term, cloud computing can reduce your IT costs, but only if you shop around for the best deal. Ensure that you understand exactly how much you’re paying for the services you receive. Ask how they calculate charges and how the billing cycle works.
Statistics show that at least 43% of all cyberattacks target small businesses, which means reliable cybersecurity is more important than ever before. Confirm:
- What security features they use
- How, specifically, they plan on protecting your company’s data
Over 60% of enterprises worry that cloud providers don’t have the skills or experience to assist with fulfilling their compliance requirements. That’s why you need to check your SLA agreement. What experience does your provider have in your sector? How have they handled compliance issues in the past?
The SLA should specify the minimum level of service your provider promises to maintain. Check how they handle downtime and whether they provide disaster recovery plans. Don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as you need to.
If there’s one thing most businesses need from a cloud provider, it’s dedicated, 24/7 support. Check the SLA — does the provider offer the level of support you need? If not, shop around.
The importance of finding the right cloud provider
With the right cloud provider, you can seamlessly introduce new technology into your business and diversify your workplace like never before. For more information on different cloud providers and how to make the right choice for your organization, contact us today.