Public Vs Private Cloud For Small Business

There has been great debate recently over what is best for business, and what business should consider in seeking out its own cloud solution.

At the end of the day, business should engage their own research over 1. Security 2. Price and 3. Infrastructure and locality of data storage.

Business also needs to consider access to applications and what a Cloud Vendor will and will not be prepared to host.

Let’s examine the options in a Public Vs Private Examination.

Public Cloud

Public Cloud is perhaps the most pure type of cloud service today, and is the scenario whereby one accesses a service or services over the internet “as a service”. Meaning there is little control over the performance or attitude of the software being accessed or the hardware or underlying technologies. The most common examples being Internet Banking and Cloud Email services such as Hotmail and Gmail.

Public Cloud is generally shared server space and basically a WYSIWYG cloud service. Public is generally a lower cost alternative to other options. It pays to do your research with Public Clouds to ensure that your 3 checks above, Security, Price and Infrastructure are being met.

Whilst price almost certainly will be a factor, please consider security and infrastructure at the same time.

Private Cloud

For businesses with concerns regarding security and infrastructure (which can also cover location of data storage), a well sought out Private Cloud could be just what the Director ordered.

Private Cloud is just that. Rather than sharing data and services with potentially millions of other businesses, private cloud offers a more personal approach, with data being hosted in a privately selected data centre or provider, such as Reckon Limited’s APS Private Cloud solution.

Private Cloud is the ideal solution for businesses with higher concerns regarding Security and Infrastructure than Pricing alone. This is the only solution for a business with heavy demands or their own software or service requirements, or is it?

Hybrid Cloud

Many businesses may like to adopt a Hybrid Cloud solution. This is a mixture of Public and Private Clouds as detailed above.

In this scenario a business may choose to have its mission critical software hosted in a Private Cloud whilst choosing to run their Email and Office solutions via a Public Cloud such as Google’s Gmail and Google Docs, or Microsoft’s Office 365 solution.

Choose Wisely

Which ever of the above is best is really down to each individual business and their requirements. Through the adoption of a sound and secure Cloud Computing Policy, SMB’s are now able to compete with their larger competitors more easily than ever. In fact, in most cases, Cloud is just what Small Business has been crying out for.

In recent studies, 71% of small business owners agreed they require technology that enables their staff to work from anywhere, anytime.

It is the opinion of the Author that any SMB that does not adopt at least some cloud technology right now, then put a plan in place to graduate over to either one of the above solutions in two to three years, will cease to be competitive in a Global Cloud landscape.

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Cloud A Major Focus For SMB’s

Microsoft have released the findings of a major research study it funded of more than 3000 SMB’s in 13 countries, including Australia.

The study was undertaken by Edge Strategies and showed that use of paid Cloud services by SMB’s would double in 5 years and that the number of very small businesses moving to at least one Cloud service would triple in 3 years.

“The cloud levels the playing field for SMBs, helping them compete in today’s quickly changing business environment, by spending less time and money on IT and more time focused on their most important priority — growing their businesses,” said Marco Limena, Vice President, Operator Channels, Microsoft.

The Facts

The study also showed that 79% believe that technology can make work more enjoyabe, 65% expect to be using Cloud email services and that 71% require technology that enables their staff to work anywhere in the World at any time.

SMB’s are growing more and more accustomed to the Cloud and are less concerned about Security with only 20% believing that data in the Cloud is less secure than data on their own premises, 49% responded that they were as confident in a Cloud system as in their own systems. Interesting 31% agreed that they wanted the data stored in their own Country.

The Opportunities

Interesting for Cloud Partners and Consulting Firms, was that 60% of SMB’s admitted they do not have the resouces to implement new technologies.

Also 52% responded that they do not have the resources to re-train staff. This shows that SMB’s would be more likely to select a Cloud Partner already providing their Desktop software or hosting a platform they know.

A Private Cloud solution with an API to interface directly with an SMB’s desktop products would be the most likely outcome for an SMB looking to head into the Cloud and minimise costs at the same time.

About the Research

The Microsoft SMB Business in the Cloud 2012 research report was designed and conducted in conjunction with Edge Strategies Inc. (http://www.edgestrategies.com) in December 2011. The research questioned 3,000 SMBs that employ 2 to 250 employees across 13 countries worldwide: Australia, Brazil, China, Denmark, France, Germany, Japan, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Turkey, the U.K. and the U.S. A copy of the survey results can be downloaded athttp://www.microsoft.com/presspass/presskits/telecom/docs/SMBCloud.pdf

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Source: Microsoft Blog