The Cloud For Small Business: Components
While we are firm in our belief that a cloud solution is the best choice for a small business, it is important to understand the diverse options that make up a variety of tools a business can use to succeed, remain competitive and keep costs under control. The cloud means lots of things to lots of people. If you use DropBox, OneDriveor Google Drive, you already adopted the cloud as a tool. If online banking, QuickBooks Online or Salesforce.com are part of your business applications, then you’re harnessing the cloud. There are many components to a cloud solution and their combination is unique to each business. The main physical components of cloud infrastructure are networking equipment, servers and data storage. Cloud infrastructure also includes a layer that enables virtualization, which help drive down costs through economies of scale. There are much more than the physical components, however, including services that allow a small business to forget the physical hardware altogether and focus on only those components that drive their business.
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
Infrastructure-as-a-Service, (IaaS), supplies the greatest degree of flexibility, allowing a small business to free up the cost and complexity of physical hardware, offering a complete solution for any business size, including networking, authentication services, application hosting, security, data / file storage and management control over your resources.
It can scale as your business does, but a managed IT service provider is recommended to ensure the configuration is properly secure and right for your business needs.
Platform as a Service (PaaS)
Platform as a Service removes the need to manage the underlying infrastructure (usually hardware and operating systems) to allow deployment control and management of just applications. Many development teams find this solution helpful and efficient since it removes any need to worry about resource procurement, capacity planning, software maintenance, patching, or any of the other infrastructure maintenance involved with running an application suite.
Software as a Service (SaaS)
Software-as-a-Service supplies an online solution that is run and managed by the service provider. In most cases, Software-as-a-Service refers to end-user applications. A good example of a SaaS product is Salesforce or QuickBooks Online. With a SaaS offering you only need to think about how you and your team will use the software. SaaS applications are becoming increasingly popular since they relieve a business from worry about maintenance of hardware, scalability, disaster recovery and work-from-anywhere access.
Regardless of the tools selected to take advantage of the cloud, there is still some physical infrastructure needed for a typical office setting, of any size. For example, Internet service requires a router to separate your network, access points are needed to supply Wi-Fi access. A firewall is needed to monitor and control incoming and outgoing network traffic. Adopting the cloud takes thoughtful planning to understand how to maximize the efficiencies offered, while ensuring there is no compromise to productivity.
Our team of experts are always available to consult with you and ensure the right choice for your unique business. Contact us.