Balentech, Inc.

"How are You Leveraging the Cloud?"

     Experts are predicting that by the year 2014, U.S. companies will spend over $13 Billion USD on Cloud Computing Services.  Due to the significant cost reduction obtained over maintaining on-site infrastructures, Cloud Computing Services provide Small/Mid-Sized Businesses with a financially smart option for managing their business.

     However, most Business Owners without large dedicated IT Departments are not aware of all of the Cloud Computing Service options available to them, the proper way to leverage these Services, and the Security Risks associated with running their business online.

Cloud Computing Variations

     Many businesses leverage “Public” Cloud Computing Services, like Google Docs™ and GoDaddy™, to maintain their business data and obtain hosting capabilities for their websites.  Email accounts, Contact Lists, Calendars, and Spreadsheet Processing are some examples of the services available from these types of vendors.   The term “Public” is applied because any business can sign up for these services, effectively allowing access to their systems by millions of users worldwide.

     Another option available to business owners is to leverage a “Private” Cloud Computing Servers, sometime otherwise known as a Managed Services Model.  Under this model, a business will lease dedicated computing space (servers, applications) within a Service Provider’s Data Center.  A Managed Services Company will then take responsibility for managing the leased hardware and application services, removing the burden of ownership from the Business Owner.  This model can still be viewed as a "Cloud" service since the Client Business does not have to directly maintain these environments and invest in their own Data Center.

Security and Stability

     While major “Public” Cloud Computing Services should have adequate infrastructure in place to ensure the integrity of your Business’ data, recent events have shown that these services are the most susceptible to hacking attempts.  Since these services are provided using “Shared Environments”, security holes and instability caused by other users outside of your business can impact your applications.  In January 2010, Google™ suffered a cyber attack that was traced back to China resulting from access through Phishing Schemes.  GoDaddy™ was hacked twice last year within a few months.  And in 2011, both Google™ and Amazon™ permanently lost client data due to server outages and software errors.

      “Private” Cloud Solutions still carry a risk of outages and unauthorized access.  However, if implemented correctly, they can significantly reduce the potential for losing your business data and company’s Intellectual Property.  In addition, Managed Services Providers typical provide greater visibility into their environments.

Flexibility and Growth

     While successful “Public” Cloud Computing Services provide wide ranges of services and utilities to their clients, these companies must operate under certain technical constraints.  For example, some Hosting Providers limit their Clients' flexibility by supporting only a small number of Operating Systems and website Programming Languages.  Most Hosting Providers will not support the installation of Third-Party systems onto their environment; and integration with other Cloud Services and Local Solutions can be difficult or even prohibited.

     “Private” Cloud Solutions offer greater options and flexibility since the Managed Services Provider can customize and configure the environment to the Client’s needs.  However, there are increased costs associated with setup and configuration fees, as well as additional software licensing costs.

If you would like to discuss options for using Cloud Services or would like an audit of your current Service Providers, please Contact Us.
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