Public or Private Cloud? Risks and Benefits of Both

When choosing cloud providers, you’ll need to look at your wider migration strategy, and consider the ways you need to use cloud technology. Part of that discussion is the consideration of public or private cloud services (and possibly hybrid cloud services that span the two types).

Every business is different, so it’s impossible to get the ‘right’ answer to this question, but having the right information will steer successful migration.

What’s a Public Cloud?Being productive in the office

A public cloud is, generally, a cloud service shared by large numbers of users. Typically, public clouds are very affordable, since usage is metered. For a small business, a public cloud storage service may cost less than a mid-range VPS.

Public clouds are great for testing and development, where a server is deployed specifically to carry out a task behind the scenes. The service is elastic, so you can run 1 or 100 servers, trashing and deploying on demand.

The potential downside is that you’re sharing resources, much like a shared hosting environment. You don’t know who else is using that public cloud. You have no control of the hardware. Your business cannot choose its hardware or monitor its performance. And, in the main, your technical team is responsible for managing its public cloud account.

Private Cloud Pros and Cons

A private cloud gives the business more control over the nuts and bolts behind the service, which means overall security can be tightened up, far beyond that in a public cloud. Unlike a public cloud, you can’t really scale up on demand; you’ll have to over-purchase resource to ensure you always have enough.

The obvious trade-off for this kind of service is the price. Once you start taking over entire servers, you begin to take on more on-going commitments, and your costs are fixed regardless of usage. For some large businesses, the cost isn’t an issue. For SMEs, it’s rare that a private cloud is an affordable option.

Misconceptions

Some businesses believe that they need a private cloud because of compliance, but that isn’t actually the case. This line of thinking stems from the fact that remote storage sounds risky, but a well-secured public cloud service can be just as compliant as a private cloud deployment.

Private clouds are seen to be less susceptible to hacks, too, but this is down to a very small number of high-profile hacking cases (targeting consumer services like iCloud, not business services). With a public cloud service, it’s up to your service provider to secure everything and pay for the necessary infrastructure.

The Case For SME Adoption

For SMEs, the public cloud (or a hybrid) is the perfect place to be. It’s affordable, scalable and secure, letting you access enterprise grade solutions for a manageable cost. In fact, it’s SMEs and startups that are leading cloud adoption, and it’s cloud technology that is fuelling their growth and flexibility.

In 2014, IDC claimed that cloud adoption would grow by 20 percent through to 2019.

Don’t let your business be left behind.

3 Big Brands That Do Amazing Things in the Cloud

When we use our phones and tablets, we may not consciously use cloud technology, but most big companies rely on cloud infrastructure to get things done behind the scenes. If you’re not yet using cloud storage for business, these innovators could change your mind.

Instagram

It’s hard to imagine that Instagram was once an iOS-only app, since it’s now ubiquitous on Android phones and tablets too. Shortly after it divertified its user base, it was purchased by Facebook, itself a large user of cloud storage.

Instagram used to store data on Amazon servers and used a cloud-based content delivery network to push photos out around the globe. It now stores all of that data in Facebook’s data centres. Despite the fact that Instagram has terabytes and terabytes of photo data in storage, it can pull out a single picture in a matter of seconds to anywhere in the world.

Speed and efficiency is critical, since billions of pictures and videos need to be accessed in the blink of an eye, any time. We don’t even think about the cloud technology that goes into Instagram’s service, nor do we wonder how Instagram staff migrated 20 billion of our pictures while the service was still live.

BBC

The BBC is more than just a national broadcaster. It’s also an innovator in the digital space. Its iPlayer product is undoubtedly a world leader in streaming technology, and the service gained more ground when it was migrated to a public cloud platform.

Prior to the migration, it took the BBC’s iPlayer team around 9 hours to put a video online. This was mostly due to the vast amount of rendering and processing power required. Since the cloud migration, this delay has been slashed to around 15 minutes.

iPlayer copes with millions of requests every day, and it makes content available to hundreds of different devices, all with slightly different specs. The cloud migration allowed the team to deliver content in a more flexible way and cope more effectively with periods of high demand. Phil Cluff, team lead at BBC Media Services, estimated in 2014 that the new cloud version would last at least 10 years before it needed to be changed.

Airbnb

Some websites disrupt their peer group, while some disrupt an entire industry. Airbnb is a holiday home rental site that offers peer-to-peer renting and vacations, and it relies on cloud computing to keep its site ticking over.

Airbnb uses RDS, a database technology that allows them to avoid bottlenecks in the cloud. It has allowed Airbnb to keep up with its own rapid growth, and to cope with the huge amounts of content generated by property owners in their listings. With an emphasis on big, beautiful photos and lots of holiday home details, the company needed a way to ensure it had a flexible solution that did not break the bank.

Cloud computing scales beautifully and inexpensively, even for very large websites like Airbnb. On a smaller scale, it can be useful for small businesses looking to increase and flex computing capacity, week by week.

Realise Your Potential

Could your business be more elastic, more responsive or more efficient? While you may not need cloud computing on a massive scale, our hosted products could make a significant impact on your business’ performance. Contact Cloud4 today and take your first step to a more profitable, efficient future.

Just How Secure is Your Cloud Data?

When we think about IT security, we tend to assume that anything private should be stored on our own computer. The idea of putting a private document onto someone else’s machine seems like madness, particularly in an ever-connected world.

This instinctual reluctance to move data around has made some companies wary of the cloud. But the truth is that many cloud services are more secure than the on premise solutions we’ve used in the past.

So what goes in to securing your data in the cloud?

ISO/IEC 27001 Compliance

ISO/IEC 27001 is the international standard for security management, and it’s a standard that we comply with. Using this framework, we ensure that third party data and sensitive information is handled appropriately.

Compliance with ISO/IEC 27001 is not guaranteed among cloud service providers. But we believe that it’s an essential part of keeping your data secure. When you compare us with the competition, check to see if they have certification.

Super Encryption

When we store your data on our servers, we encrypt it. Using a special key – a string of characters – an algorithm scrambles the data, and the key is required to restore it. By protecting the key, we prevent unauthorised access.

Encryption keys are incredibly secure. A 128-bit encryption key would take millions of years to break, even if you used a computer. Consider this: our online backup uses 256-bit encryption, and our Hosted Lync and MyOwnCloud services use 2048-bit encryption. You’d need billions of years to crack either.

Location of Data

All Cloud4 customers benefit from UK-based storage for their data. This is critical, since laws on data access vary around the world. When your data is kept in the UK, you benefit from the very best in speeds, but also know that your data is stored according to local laws.

Our datacentres are located in Manchester and London, and we access is completely locked down. Only authorised security staff and technical teams can ever get into the building without a vetted escort, and we have state of the art fire suppression systems ready to kick in if there’s a disaster.

Our support team is all located in the UK, too, and we’re available 24/7/365. If you have any security concerns, we’re always here to help you.

Email and Desktop Security

To prevent system infection, and ensure your data never gets compromised, our hosted products use all of the security software you’d expect. That includes anti-virus software, anti-malware scanners, firewalls and identity verification. We do all this while allowing convenient access to your data from any location. If you use the cloud to share and collaborate, you won’t be prevented from doing anything you need to do, yet any unauthorised users will be locked out firmly and permanently.

Test Drive the Cloud

High profile hacks always grab headlines, but the cloud is inherently very secure. We don’t use weak passwords, and we don’t leave your data in the hands of fate. Instead, we used tried and tested, military grade security using the very latest technology and techniques.

3 Simple Reasons Your Business Needs a Hosted Desktop

Why use a hosted desktop?  Many sHosted Desktopmall businesses are asking themselves that question now. As cloud computing becomes a mainstream consumer product, businesses are starting to trust the cloud to access IT infrastructure and services.

If your business isn’t using hosted desktop technology yet, it will almost certainly adopt it within the next 3 years. Why? Let’s look at the reasons why this is a product so ideal for SMEs.

1. Hosted Desktops are Affordable

In a small business, it’s typical to buy each user a computer, or let everyone bring their own computer to work under a loose Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) arrangement. Either way, there’s an initial spend required, either from the user themselves, or the company.

When you need more capacity, or a broader range of operating systems, buying more machines gets expensive fast.

Instead of purchasing additional machines, a hosted desktop can let you expand without the need for capital outlay. If you need more machines, jut rent them. Need to cut back? Just scale back your contract.

2. Hosted Desktops are Convenient

There’s a certain bliss to leaving your notebook in the hotel safe, or setting off for a weekend away without the laptop bag over your shoulder. Sooner or later, though, you’ll get that urgent call that requires you to drop everything and deal with an emergency. If one critical document is saved on your local hard drive, you’ve no chance of being able to help.

The portability of a hosted desktop is one of its best assets. It’s always there waiting if you need it. Pop your tablet PC in your bag, or log on from your smartphone over 4G, and your desktop is there, right where you left it.

For summer holidays, day trips and even work engagements, a hosted desktop could pay for itself in one hour, while leaving you free to enjoy time away from your desk.

3. Hosted Desktops are Safe

How many times have you had a near miss with your data? Maybe the dog tipped a cup of tea on your laptop, and you had a few breathless moments trying to drain it out. Perhaps a giggling toddler has dropped your smartphone down the loo – just to see what happened. It’s our worst nightmare, yet accidental data loss happens all the time.

Hosted desktops are stored on a remote server, in a data centre bolstered by military-grade security. If you store business critical data in that environment, it’s secured, scanned for viruses, protected against malware and completely locked down. Critically, your host’s data centre is guaranteed to be free of clumsy dogs and mischievous toddlers, too.

Future-Proofing

Small businesses tend to lead the way in IT innovation. They’re more willing to experiment and try new things. Cloud adoption is widespread, and it’s the SME that’s gaining the most ground from this exciting new technology.

If you want to accelerate growth and limit your exposure to risk, a subscription based hosted desktop could be the ideal solution. Let Cloud4 demonstrate just how versatile and simple our desktop-as-a-service offering can be.