Budgeting and planning cloud infrastructure and traditional IT infrastructure have always been confusing for businesses, especially for small and midsized firms that lack the expertise of an experienced chief information officer (CIO) or senior IT leader. New and complex technologies, often with confusing or overlapping functionality, complicate strategically planning and deploying a new IT infrastructure.

This confusion certainly surrounds cloud computing, one of the most widely talked about, adopted, and misunderstood technologies.

The reason why so many businesses misunderstand the term “cloud” is because it encompasses a broad range of platforms and applications, from familiar software as a service (SaaS) products like Microsoft 365 and SalesForce to infrastructure as a service (IaaS) offerings like Microsoft Azure, multi-functional cloud platforms Amazon Web Service (AWS), cloud-based backup solutions, and others.

While cloud infrastructure can provide businesses with an enormous benefit when deployed correctly, there are instances when traditional on-premise infrastructure is still the best strategic move. Let’s dig deeper into each of those scenarios.

92% of businesses are currently hosting some of their IT environment in the cloud, but 79% have reported some form of cloud data breach in the last 18 months.

Cloud Computing: Everything as a Service

The adoption of cloud computing shifts the focus away from traditional IT management concerns, such as purchasing and maintaining servers and personal computers. With infrastructure and applications in the cloud, businesses pay a usage-based fee that encompasses all the costs related to infrastructure management, like network engineering costs, network administration costs, hardware purchases, etc.

Cloud infrastructure provided “as a service” is backed by a service level agreement (SLA) that guarantees a certain amount of uptime, availability, and functionality, much the same way that managed IT service providers like Complete

  • Minimal Maintenance
    By moving your network infrastructure to the cloud, you offload many of the tedious tasks (and costs) of IT infrastructure management. Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and other major cloud companies have hundreds of network engineers working 24/7 to operate and maintain their network infrastructure, so you don’t have to.
  • Greater Resilience
    Cloud data centers are designed with a high level of redundancy. Once in the cloud, your data is backed up to remote servers automatically, each of which has redundant power supplies, hard drives, and telecommunications connectivity. This can reduce network downtime to an absolute minimum, making your business more resilient than if you relied on on-premise infrastructure alone.
  • Easier Scalability
    Cloud infrastructure allows businesses to add new storage or compute capacity at the click of a button without having to buy or configure new servers or hardware. Instantaneous scalability, without any expense or engineering time associated with building out new infrastructure, enables businesses to respond to changing requirements or goals much quicker than they could previously.

In general, shifting IT operations to the cloud allows businesses to focus on higher-level concerns like better serving their customers, exacting business value from their data, and creating more innovative offerings. That’s not to say that cloud doesn’t have its downsides, though. Here are some scenarios where cloud isn’t the right choice:

Latency Critical Applications
Applications that require low latency, such as financial applications, transaction processing systems, or advanced analytics, are often a poor candidate for cloud infrastructure. All these situations rely on rapid communication between servers and endpoints, and the cloud complicates that by forcing data to travel long distances between systems.

Data Intensive Systems
Any application that would require moving large datasets back and forth between centralized cloud storage and end-users is also often best kept on-premise. Why? In addition to the cost of cloud storage, ingress and egress costs of moving data into the cloud can become cost-prohibitive for these data-intensive applications. The field of cost cloud optimization has become very popular amongst enterprises for precisely this reason, as large companies can quickly see cloud fees spiral out of control.

Enterprises are more confident about cloud infrastructure than small businesses, with 74% using cloud hosting services vs. 44% at smaller organizations.

Traditional IT Infrastructure

In a traditional IT infrastructure, applications and business data are processed and stored in on-premise in a server room connected to your office, where it’s administered by either an internal IT team or a managed IT services partner like Complete Network. While many businesses have migrated their most common workloads out of their server rooms into the cloud, there are still some significant upsides to onsite IT infrastructure:

  • Complete Control
    For many years, regulatory compliance concerns have been top-of-mind for organizations in the healthcare, legal, and financial services industries. But as data privacy standards like GDPR and CCPA become stricter and cybersecurity concerns continue to intensify, many organizations are choosing to keep sensitive data in on-premise servers where they can keep a close watch on it.
  • Long-Run Cost Savings
    There’s capital expense associated with building out new infrastructure, but once it’s in place, you can operate it as much or as little as you want with few additional costs. The same can’t be said about cloud infrastructure, where more usage means a higher monthly bill. Businesses moving key infrastructure to the cloud will want to build scalable cost models to ensure that the economics are still worthwhile as their business grows.
  • High-Performance
    Placing critical applications in on-premise network infrastructure nearby eliminates many of the concerns businesses experience with cloud-based solutions, like telecommunications bottlenecks. On-premise servers can be configured to guarantee that every application has the resources it needs for fast and efficient operation, which is harder to guarantee in cloud-based systems.

According to Tech Monitor, 32% of cloud spending is not used efficiently or wasted, an 2% increase from just last year.

Building and Deploying Hybrid Cloud Infrastructure

The best solution for small and midsized businesses is to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of cloud and on-premise systems. Then, once you fully understand your requirements and goals, you can build what’s known as a hybrid cloud infrastructure. Planning that sort of infrastructure is a complex process that exceeds the scope of one article, but here are some key points you can consider to at least start the planning process.

  • Consider Security and Compliance
    What unique security and regulatory compliance challenges do you have? Do the cloud vendors you’ve chosen to work with provide the necessary oversight and transparency? Does your team have the controls and processes in place to safeguard data as it moves between onsite and cloud platforms, or is sensitive information better kept in on-premise systems? An improperly planned cloud solution can create major data security vulnerabilities, so this concept is critical.
  • Build an Infrastructure That Supports Your Culture
    How does your team work best? Cloud computing can greatly benefit work from home programs, allowing employees to share information and collaborate with greater freedom. But in companies that value in-person interaction or have a conservative work culture, there may be less incentive to leap into the cloud. If you do build out a hybrid infrastructure, consult an IT expert to help make sure that you preserve your culture and habits as you proceed with your migration.

Make Your Cloud Migration a Total Success

The Complete Network team has provided businesses in Charlotte, North Carolina, Albany, NY, Bluffton, South Carolina, and Savannah, Georgia, with network expertise and consulting services for over 20 years. Do you want to embrace a new cloud project with total confidence? The Complete Network team is happy to answer your questions. Reach us any time at 877 877 1840 or [email protected]

 

How To Supplement Your Internal IT Team.

In an ideal world, technology would be a consistent source of competitive advantage and benefit for small and midsized businesses. The reality is that many fail to realize that confidence.

Without the right resources and support, even a highly skilled technology team can become overwhelmed by the growing list of technology management duties. When important tasks get neglected, it creates ripple effects throughout an organization that damage productivity and efficiency.

The co-managed IT services model solves these problems by providing your existing IT team with all the support and resources they need to successfully plan, manage, and defend your network technology.

This guide covers:

  • • Aligning technology with business goals
  • • Reducing churn while preserving institutional knowledge
  • • Empowering your staff to maximize productivity
  • • Achieving the highest level of cybersecurity defense

Download it for free by filling out the form here.