Category: Cloud and Managed Services

Pros and Cons of Cloud Computing

“The cloud” has become a popular buzzword in recent years, even if the average user doesn’t have a clear grasp of what the concept is. This form of storage has become a popular way for people to store their music, movies and other media. For businesses, the cloud presents a way to store data securely online. Cloud computing offers significant benefits over regular storage and makes data available to everyone who needs it while keeping your information secure.

What Is Cloud Computing?

Cloud computing is when entities share a network of remotely accessible servers. The servers are hosted on the internet, allowing businesses to manage data “in the cloud” instead of on a local server. It’s a shared space in which devices in the network can access data from anywhere.

Although cloud computing has only picked up major traction in the last two decades or so, the idea has existed since the 1960s. The noted computer scientist John McCarthy introduced the concept when he envisioned technology that would allow computing to be sold as a utility like electricity or water. He suggested that each subscriber would only need to pay for the capacity they actually used and that some users could offer services to other users.

What is cloud computing and storage

While McCarthy’s vision looked like a pipe dream at the time, he was describing a phenomenon that’s taken the digital world by storm — Infrastructure as a service (IaaS). Specifically, he was describing the basis of cloud computing. Today, 77 percent of businesses have one or more applications or part of their infrastructure in the cloud. What is the purpose of cloud computing for businesses? To save money and increase efficiency.

What Are the Pros of Cloud Computing?

There’s a reason cloud computing has become so common among companies the world over — it just makes financial sense. The benefits of cloud computing are more varied and powerful than you might realize, so let’s take a deep dive into what this technology can do for you. These are the top 10 reasons to move your business to the cloud.

1. Reduce Infrastructure Costs

In-house data storage costs companies a significant amount of money. There’s the up-front price tag of purchasing each new server as well as the cost of installing them. Either your IT team has to take time out of their busy schedules to perform the installation, or you have to pay the vendor to do it. Then you need to ensure the equipment is maintained properly and backed up regularly.

Even when you invest in the best equipment, something can always go wrong due to human error. If your team is the one responsible for installation and maintenance, and they make a mistake, there’s no one to turn to for support. With cloud computing, the headache associated with maintaining in-house systems disappears as you have the support of your service provider. Because the cost of infrastructure is included in your plan and split among all the service provider’s clients, you save money.

According to the Global Cloud Services Market report, organizations that deploy cloud computing services save more than 35 percent on operating costs each year.

2. Impact to Personnel

Maintaining an in-house IT team big enough to manage local servers can quickly lead to a ballooning budget. The time spent recruiting and the money spent training are all with the hopes that you’re developing a highly effective and dedicated employee — but that’s not always the case. Some employees will underperform, and others may decide to leave the organization. Turnover in the IT field costs companies 150 percent of an employee’s salary.

Your in-house team also comes with the added cost of benefits, which cloud service can help reduce. With your service provider taking care of maintenance and backups, you can refocus your in-house team or avoid the cost of expanding it in the future.

3. Consolidate Your Data

With cloud storage, data is distributed amongst bi-costal data centers. Syncing technology makes it possible to link up and update data quickly, but storing data in the cloud makes syncing unnecessary. When all your data is stored in the cloud, you know exactly where every piece of information is at any given time.

4. Defend Against Disaster

Data loss can spell disaster for a company of any size. Data breaches cost an average of $3.86 million worldwide, and an average of $7.91 million for companies in the United States. Cloud-based storage is much more secure than operating an on-site data center. Organizations that store their data on the premises see 51 percent more security incidents than those that use cloud storage.

The enterprise-level security built into cloud storage services far outpaces what most small and medium-sized businesses (SMB) can afford on-site. One of the advantages of storing data in the cloud is that there isn’t one single point of failure. Your data gets backed up to several servers, so if one of them fails, your organization’s information remains safe and secure.

A single point of failure is what led to the infamous Equifax and Verizon data breaches, and many companies have taken steps to avoid this fatal flaw in storage security. Cloud storage is one way organizations can eliminate this danger.

Cloud computing helps you defend against disaster

5. Maximize Uptime

The financial impact of unplanned downtime cannot be understated. For every minute of unplanned downtime due to a data center outage, a company loses $5,600 on average. That’s $300,000 in just one hour. While employees might enjoy the extra time spent in the break room, the productivity lost during that time is money you won’t get back. Unplanned downtime can also heavily damage a company’s reputation if it affects customers.

The leading causes of unplanned downtime are system failure and human error, both of which can be avoided. According to one survey, 61 percent of SMBs experienced fewer instances of downtime and decreased length of the downtime that did occur after they moved to the cloud.

6. Enhance Collaboration

Businesses today are thriving thanks to the ability to collaborate digitally. The benefits of remote work for companies are so compelling that 56 percent of startups outsource some of their work. Employees love it too, with 57 percent of workers in the computers and IT industry doing some of their work from home. Organizations are also more likely than ever to have employees working in all corners of the map, making the ability to collaborate crucial.

Cloud computing allows multiple employees to view and make changes to files and documents in real time, providing a much more efficient way for workers to collaborate on projects. Accessing documents in the cloud helps ensure everyone is working from the correct version of a document and that obsolete versions don’t get passed between local sources.

7. Stay Scalable

One of the challenges of growth is remaining scalable, so how can cloud computing benefit your company when it comes to expansion? This solution allows you to pay only for the amount of storage your business needs. If you find your organization is growing quickly enough to create the need for more storage, you have two options.

You can opt to buy and install more equipment as well as hire the people you’ll need to maintain it. With the planning and training time involved, you can expect to have your increased capacity up and running within a couple of weeks to a month or more.

Cloud computing helps you stay scalable

Or, you could call up your cloud storage services provider and have them increase your capacity in a matter of minutes. Increasing cloud also comes with a predictable cost, eliminating the risk associated with investing in additional storage infrastructure. With a greater ability to increase or decrease your storage capacity as needed, your organization becomes more agile and competitive no matter your industry.

8. Increase Automation

A significant portion of maintaining in-house data storage is performing regular backups. The IT team has to take time to create backups and schedule them around daily operations. Cloud computing services go a long way toward automating these routine backups so your team can get back to doing the work that drives your business forward.

9. Save on Space

Servers and all their associated equipment take up significant square footage, and expanding an in-house system often requires careful planning to secure the right amount of space. Larger ventures may have some excess space to grow into, but small businesses are often fighting to make the most of every square inch. Cloud computing can free up your office for more workspace or amenities while eliminating the need to plan for future equipment expansion. With the cloud, you do not have to worry about the installation of dedicated breakers, high voltage lines, special HVAC systems or even backup generators.

10. Enhance Compliance

The hundreds of regulations that govern different types of data are complex to understand, time-consuming to apply and laborious to maintain. Why not let a cloud storage service provider do the heavy lifting when it comes to compliance? A good provider operates in full compliance with all applicable regulations, so you don’t have to worry about incurring violations.

What Are the Cons of Cloud Computing?

The advantages of storing data in the cloud are hard to ignore, but what are the disadvantages of online storage? These are the top five concerns companies have about transitioning to the cloud.

what are the disadvantages of cloud storage

1. Understanding the Costs

Though the cloud can help reduce costs in some areas, it is important to make sure that when you move to the cloud, it truly makes sense. It is important to put a proper plan in place and look at all systems within the organization. The key is to do an analysis of the systems and group them into two categories. These two categories are systems that should be moved to the cloud and which systems should remain on-premises. Once this is determined, you can set a budget for the initiative.

2. Moving From Cloud to On-Premises

Moving from on-premises servers to cloud data centers is usually an easy process for your organization. Though this is the case, moving to another cloud supplier or back to an on-premises server is not as easy. This process can actually get quite expensive, and the terms can often favor the cloud supplier. Before deciding to enter into a contract with a supplier, make sure to ask the question and understand the process for moving workloads out of the cloud supplier data center. It is critical to cover the timelines, fines, and process.

3. Limited Control

Because the infrastructure of the cloud is owned and managed by the service provider, businesses may worry about not having enough control over the service. This is where the provider’s end-user license agreement (EULA) can help you out. It explains what limits the provider can place on your use of the deployment. All legitimate cloud computing providers allow your organization to exert control over your applications and data, even if it doesn’t allow you to alter the infrastructure in any way.

When a provider presents you with a service level agreement (SLA), it helps to make sure you understand every word of it. This will help you confirm what you can and can’t do with the service.

If your contract includes placing your own equipment in a cloud supplier’s data center (i.e., CoLo), it is important to understand the proximity of the data center to your office. Make sure to get the full list of details on the ability to access the equipment in the event it requires maintenance.

4. Vendor Lock-In

One of the disadvantages of cloud computing can come in the form of vendor mismatches. Organizations might run into complications when migrating services to a different vendor with a different platform. If this process isn’t handled correctly, data can be exposed to unnecessary vulnerabilities. A good cloud services provider has the expertise to migrate your data between vendors safely.

5. Slower Backups and Restores

Because moving data to the cloud involves some significant communication latency, backups can end up taking longer than they would with an in-house system. Even for larger, full backups, this isn’t usually an issue. The longest backups can run in the background without disrupting networks, and the subsequent smaller backups take less time.

If you need to restore a whole server, it might take longer. Individual files and folders, however, probably won’t be impacted. Differences in speed are negligible with the right provider.

6. Internet Reliance

One minor drawback to cloud computing is the fact that it’s completely reliant on the internet. If your internet connection goes down, you won’t have access to data stored in the cloud for the duration of the outage. However, an internet interruption won’t destroy or compromise your data stored in the cloud. Since your business needs the internet to perform nearly every function, cloud computing is really no different than any other web-based tool.

7. Internet Use

If you’re running backups during working hours when people are heavily using the internet, a large backup to the cloud has the potential to increase congestion and reduce your internet performance. This issue primarily affects small businesses without the resources to invest in the highest internet bandwidth and speeds. However, a good provider will work with you to avoid this issue through scheduling or automation.

Cloud Computing FAQ

While cloud computing technology is becoming more prevalent, it can be a complex topic. Here are a few answers to frequently asked questions about cloud computing for further understanding.

How Do Vendors Charge for Cloud Services?

Each cloud service provider charges for cloud services differently. Pricing models can be based on subscription or dynamic usage. Some providers use a pay-as-you-go (PAYG) model where you pay for the cloud services you have used. PAYG allows you to end your service at any time. This model is ideal for cloud vendors because it keeps hardware and operations costs low due to outsourcing.

Is Switching to a Cloud-Based Server Right for My Business?

You can determine if moving to the cloud is the best option for your business by considering the strategic and operational benefits. Evaluate the benefits and drawbacks of your current setup and estimate the outcome of a cloud-based server.

Since migrating to the cloud can take several months, plan your timeline accordingly. Understand the type of cloud you’re migrating to and make a plan based on that information. A well-planned migration reduces costs and data errors. The size of your business, the amount of data being migrated and the number of applications being migrated will affect your timeline.

What Do I Need to Consider Before Migrating to the Cloud?

Before your business can move its operations to the cloud, some prerequisites should be met. Follow this checklist before initiating your cloud migration:

  • Choose a single-cloud or multi-cloud setup.
  • Perform any refactoring that’s necessary.
  • Determine the key performance indicators (KPIs) for your cloud environment.
  • Switch your overproduction.
  • Establish a migration architect role.
  • Prioritize your migration components.
  • Create a data migration plan.
  • Decide a level of cloud integration.
  • Establish performance baselines.
  • Review your application resource allocation.

How Do Applications in the Cloud Stay Secure?

The security measures of cloud platforms vary by model. Administrators use public subnets to place the right permissions on global servers. Encryption keeps confidential data secure and helps to avoid a data breach. Cloud vendors keep their environment secure for their customers through network monitoring, threat detection, cybersecurity framework and fraud prevention. Identity and access management (IAM) roles focus on making application programming interface (API) calls and other special privileges.

What Is Virtualization in Cloud Implementation?

A virtualization platform for implementing the cloud separates the back-end and user levels. It deploys models of cloud hosting services like platform as a service (PaaS), software as a service (SaaS) and infrastructure as a service (IaaS). By creating a seamless environment between the levels, virtualization makes cloud implementation simple, efficient and cost-effective.

Manage Data Better With Morefield Communications

The pros and cons of cloud computing lean much more heavily toward benefits than disadvantages. Cloud is a managed service that can help companies of any size save time and improve their bottom line. But not every provider can offer the same level of benefit. Morefield Communications provides IT solutions and services with passion and precision unmatched in the industry. We’re proud to set ourselves apart on three specific levels:

  • Experience: Morefield has more than 70 years of experience in communications and information technology. Our extensive history goes beyond experience to expertise.
  • Service: We do everything in our power to provide a stellar experience for every customer. Our team leverages expert knowledge to answer all your questions, big and small, and strives to make you feel like you’re part of our extended family.
  • Transparency: We believe the best business relationships are built on honesty and forthright communication. You can always expect integrity from Morefield Communications.

Morefield is a cloud solutions leader

If your business is considering the transition to cloud computing or another form of system management, you likely have a lot of questions. Contact Morefield to learn more about the benefits of cloud computing and the services that can fuel your company’s future growth.

Work with Morefield Communications

Benefits of Managed Services

What Are the Benefits of Managed Services?

Technology makes modern-day business possible by increasing efficiency and generating useful insights through data. Your networks house your information and make it possible to get more work done than ever before. As one of your most valuable assets, your network deserves the utmost care and attention when it comes to upkeep.

Many businesses assume that the only option for network management is to delegate it to the in-house IT team, but that’s far from the truth. Managed IT and technology services provide expert support and service for your network, so you can focus on what your business does best. The business benefits of managed services, in combination with the money you can save, make it a smart solution for companies of any size.

What Are Managed Services?

Every business uses technology as a means to compete in their field and maximize efficiency. Businesses rely on networks and IT more than ever, and the funds needed to maintain an in-house team keep rising. For many small businesses, this often means sacrificing the quantity or quality of network maintenance efforts to conserve limited resources.

Managed services are a way to outsource maintenance and repairs to experts. A top-notch managed services provider (MSP) performs multiple functions for your company, such as:

  • Network Administration
  • Data Backup
  • Network Security
  • Communications
  • IT Support

what is a managed service provider

These services take the pressure off your internal IT team, freeing them up to assist your employees and perform daily tasks with better efficiency and focus.

What Are Break-Fix Services?

Break-fix services ruled the market for decades. When businesses experienced a problem with a server, they would call up an IT expert and try to explain the issue. If they were lucky, a solution could be found quickly. If they weren’t, they would be stuck with expensive repairs and downtime. This type of reactive service is known as the break-fix approach.

Managed services, on the other hand, offer constant and consistent monitoring of your systems with the goal of preventing failures wherever possible. Remote monitoring means your service provider can always see what’s going on and fix it directly.

What Are the Benefits of Managed Services vs. Break-Fix Services?

The pros and cons of managed services make it clear that partnering with an MSP is the best way to simplify your IT management affordably. These are the top 10 financial and business benefits of managed services.

1. Predictable Low Cost

Can managed services cut down cost? The answer is yes. It can also make your IT expenses more predictable. With managed services, your costs are neatly packaged into a set amount paid on an annual or monthly basis. An in-house IT team, on the other hand, comes with many more frequent and unexpected expenses that can quickly drain your budget.

Networks come with a lot of equipment that needs to be maintained and sometimes repaired or replaced. MSPs provide maintenance as well as repairs as part of the contract, so a fix that might cost you thousands of dollars out of pocket is absorbed by the provider. This model shields your budget from extreme fluctuation, improving the stability of your business overall.

Small businesses benefit immensely from managed services because the up-front cost to start is so much lower. When a business starts from scratch, the initial costs of hiring and training a team while simultaneously paying for the servers and other equipment necessary can be financially overwhelming.

2. Scalability

The price tag associated with maintaining an in-house IT team is a big one, and that’s why you often see teams that are understaffed, overworked and unable to get everything done due to a lack of time and resources. That doesn’t work on a daily basis, and it definitely doesn’t fly when your company is trying to expand.

Training even one additional employee for your IT department costs thousands of dollars, and there is never a guarantee that they’ll even stay with the company. An MSP absorbs the cost of training, and you’ll never have to worry about your IT experts jumping ship.

Scaling networks takes significant coordination, manpower and new equipment. It’s a huge cost for any company, and it often takes an IT team’s focus off other important functions like security. Managed services can help you expand or upgrade systems when you need to, without having to hire and train employees you won’t necessarily need later on.

MSPs help your business stay flexible when it comes to resources and can accommodate swift changes an in-house team might not be able to respond to efficiently.

3. Minimized Downtime

Downtime most often crops up due to equipment issues. Servers can fail, and computers can malfunction. Electrical disruptions can occur as well. These issues are usually mitigated by implementing redundant equipment that allows systems to switch to a backup when there is a failure.

Unintentional human error accounts for a significant chunk of downtime, and there’s not much you can do to avoid it. Employing strong safeguards in critical systems is the best way to reduce the potential risk.

Managed services can minimize your network downtime

System attacks can also take out your networks and data. Small businesses are particularly vulnerable to cybercrime. Up to two-thirds of attacks are targeted at small businesses, and small businesses are the least likely to have protections in place that would minimize downtime in the event of a cyberattack.

Reducing the risk of downtime is a multi-faceted task that an in-house team may not have the bandwidth or experience to tackle effectively. Managed services can cut down costs associated with downtime by preventing it from happening in the first place.

4. A Preventive Approach

When something breaks, you fix it. With networks and data, however, the cost of repairs can put a big dent in your company’s budget. Depending on the size of your business, the cost of a security breach can run into the millions of dollars.

Rather than rushing to call in experts after a disaster has occurred, it’s smarter to take a preventive approach by partnering with a managed services provider. They monitor your systems for problems and can resolve issues before they transform into full-fledged catastrophes. The cost savings associated with this approach are one of the top reasons to use managed services.

5. Proven Experts

Hiring an IT team is expensive and time-consuming, and you can’t know for sure how good they are until they’re faced with a serious network issue. Some may pass the test with flying colors. Others may not be able to resolve the problem in a timely manner or at all, costing your company money you can’t afford to waste.

Even when your IT staff is competent and comfortable with your systems, you may find they are not well-equipped to operate or maintain new equipment and systems as you add them. The most common issue is that even the most well-trained employees don’t have the knowledge and experience of an MSP’s large team.

An MSP can provide specialized services to fill in any gaps in your team’s expertise. It doesn’t make sense to have an employee learn a whole new skill set for a one-time project. An MSP gives you access to a team of experts with precise skills you wouldn’t have access to otherwise.

6. Narrowed Business Focus

What are the advantages of managed services for your IT team? An MSP frees up your IT team for pursuits that are more crucial to your business. The common perception of IT professionals envisions them performing menial repairs and asking whether you’ve turned it off and on again. While this is true in some businesses, it’s definitely an ineffective use of IT resources.

If your internal team is swamped with helping users fix basic issues or dealing with equipment malfunctions, they don’t have the time or focus to work on projects that push your business forward.

Managed services can help by redesigning workflows, upgrading equipment and automating certain tasks. This takes the pressure of daily processes off your team so they can focus on innovation.

7. Data Compliance

Your company’s data is subject to a litany of regulations designed to keep information secure. Your team has to sift through the hundreds of current standards and regulations and figure out which ones apply to your company. They also have to ensure every one of those applicable rules is followed to the letter, all while performing their day-to-day work.

The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) are the most widely applicable standards businesses have to meet. The consequences for violating these and other standards are hefty fines and reputation damage that some businesses might not be able to overcome.

A managed services provider handles the complexities of compliance and auditing, so you don’t have to worry about violating data security regulations. They can also run reports and conduct audits that prove your organization is meeting all requirements. This can save your in-house team thousands of hours in the long run.

8. Reliable Relationships

MSP is a valuable business partner

The ongoing relationship with an MSP has several benefits. Managed services act as a partner for your in-house team and a bridge between you and technology vendors. They serve as a single point of contact for your business and become familiar with your company over time.

A trustworthy MSP is a valuable partner in helping your business grow, not just a service you call when something breaks. They have a vested interest in keeping your networks and systems healthy and delivering insights you can use to help your bottom line.

9. 24/7 Support

Managed IT services use remote monitoring technology to keep an eye on your systems day and night. Real-time alerts mean any problems that occur can be corrected before they have a noticeable impact on your business.

Without constant monitoring, it’s easy for a network issue to happen during off-hours. If a system goes down in the middle of the night, it might take some time before anyone finds out. In some cases, the problem isn’t discovered until the next day — after significant damage has already been done. Remote monitoring allows your MSP to take instant corrective action as soon as they receive an alert.

Working with an MSP can also give your company professional cybersecurity support. MSPs can improve your cybersecurity efforts in a few key ways:

  • Updated security standards: MSPs can implement security strategies that will keep your business protected from data loss, hacking and other hazards.
  • Cyberattack prevention: These protections monitor for security threats to prevent them from becoming malicious attacks.
  • Rapid response: If a security incident occurs, the MSP will assess the challenge and determine the best course of action to lessen the damage.
  • Regulatory compliance: An MSP with PCI compliance can reduce risks related to sensitive information breaches, like credit card use and client data.

10. New Technology

Technology itself is one of the biggest costs in IT. There’s always an equipment upgrade to be had, and it can be tough to discern which ones are right for your business. There are few things more frustrating than investing in new network infrastructure only to find it doesn’t meet your needs — or your team doesn’t know how to operate it correctly.

One of the major benefits of using managed services is the constant access to up-to-date technology. You’ll never have to worry about your systems being outdated or making an investment that doesn’t pan out. The cost of system upgrades is rolled right into your MSP fee.

11. Reduced Risk

Every business faces risks due to government regulations, financial conditions, market conditions and evolving technologies. Many companies have to comply with privacy laws and regulations from PCI DSS, ISO and other organizations. In addition, a successful cyberattack could cause financial and reputational damage to your business, causing you to lose profits and customers.

Using an MSP for your IT services can help your business mitigate some of these risks and protect your assets. MSPs understand the security challenges and regulations of your industry and can help you meet them. Their expertise can help you keep up with changing regulations while having a reliable defense against security issues.

Managed IT services are proactive, meaning you can also reduce your risk of becoming the victim of a breach. Your MSP can identify vulnerabilities and put the appropriate defenses in place to mitigate them. A secure system can build your trust with customers, encouraging them to do business with you.

12. Focused Energy

Managed services for IT make it easier to do your job. You can trust your MSP to provide the knowledge and expertise necessary to improve your security while you focus on your core business efforts and goals. If you have in-house IT professionals, an MSP can assist with day-to-day tasks and projects like:

  • Cloud computing.
  • End-user support.
  • Disaster recovery planning.
  • Data center solutions.
  • Cybersecurity management.
  • Asset and computer systems management.

With a break-fix system, an IT problem could keep you from continuing your daily tasks. Diagnosing and fixing problems in the moment takes additional time away from your work. In this way, regular IT issues can prevent you from growing your business. An MSP identifies potential issues early on, saving time and allowing your team to focus its energy on your business instead of technical difficulties.

 

Choosing the Right Managed Services Provider

managed service providers should have defined service level agreements

Like any service, outsourcing management only works if you select the right partner. Consider these factors when you’re deciding which MSP is right for your company:

  • Defined Service Level Agreements: Businesses come in all shapes and sizes. Service level agreements should, too. A good MSP will have flexible options to ensure compliance and timely response times. A clearly-defined service level agreement benefits both parties by setting airtight expectations from the start.
  • Experience in Your Industry: Look for a managed services provider that knows your field. Keeping up with regulatory requirements takes experience, and a track record of previous success is a good indicator that they have what it takes to successfully maintain your network.
  • Commitment to Growth: Why use managed services if they’re not focused on the future? Look for an innovative approach and a willingness to take on new challenges and new technology.
  • Exceptional Customer Service: Customer service is non-negotiable when it comes to selecting an MSP. These are the people you’ll be talking to if something goes wrong, so honesty and friendliness can be a defining feature. The right services provider has a dedicated team ready to anticipate your needs, going above and beyond every time.

Why Managed Services at Morefield

Managed services are a cost-effective way for small and medium-sized businesses to increase competitiveness. They allow you to benefit from the same quality of equipment, level of experience and support as you’d find in much larger corporations.

With over 70 years of technological experience and a passion for world-class service, Morefield Communications is your source for the best in system management. We use the latest and greatest technology to monitor your servers, routers, firewalls, workstations and more. Contact Morefield today to learn how our managed services take the headache out of IT and get the greatest ROI out of your network.

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4 Interesting Cloud Storage Trends to Watch for in 2022

One area of cloud computing that is used widely, but often isn’t as flashy as the software side is cloud storage. Storing files in the cloud to make them easily accessible and shareable from anywhere was one of the very first uses of the cloud that was adopted widely by many users.
As advances like automation and AI come to other types of cloud services, like team communications and business apps, cloud storage is not being left behind. The industry also continues to evolve to make storing data in the cloud less complex, more reliable and better secured.

It’s estimated that in 2021, 50% of all company data was stored in the cloud. This is an increase of 15% from just five years earlier. With today’s hybrid teams that may be working from home and be hundreds or thousands of miles away from co-workers, it’s important to centrally locate files in cloud systems that can be accessed by everyone.

What can you expect to see in the cloud storage market this year? Here are some of the most interesting trends to keep an eye on.

1. BUILT-IN RANSOMWARE DEFENSES

Ransomware can impact data no matter where it is stored. Whether on a computer, server or in a cloud storage platform, this malware can encrypt the information and make it unreadable to the business that owns it.
In 2021, the average ransomware payment increased by 82% and ransomware incidents rose 64% during the first half of the year. A survey of CISOs found that over the last 18 months, 98% of organizations suffered a cloud data breach.
To combat ransomware, you’ll begin seeing cloud storage services offering ransomware recovery protection. This involves sophisticated systems that can help prevent files from being encrypted by code as well as those that take a copy of files and store it securely away, so files can be restored at the click of a button.
With ransomware showing no sign of stopping, this is a welcome addition in the cloud storage arena.

2. “THE EDGE” BECOMES MORE KEY IN CLOUD STORAGE

One of the new buzzwords of the last few years has been “Edge” or “Edge computing.” This means bringing data applications and storage resources geographically closer to the user that needs to connect to them.
As reliance on cloud storage and other cloud applications has increased, so has the need to improve response times from user to server. When data must travel across large distances, it becomes more difficult to quickly and economically deliver the best user experience. Thus, cloud service providers have been moving to an Edge computing model.
What this means for you is better reliability and faster response when accessing or searching on files because your provider is going to work to provide your service from one of the company’s cloud servers that is geographically closer to your location.
For companies with offices spread out around a country or throughout the world, this means that you’ll want to keep service location in mind when signing up for cloud storage and have a discussion with the provider about distance and how Edge computing factors in.

3. EXPECT MORE HELP FROM AI AND MACHINE LEARNING

AI and machine learning are making just about every area of technology smarter. Microsoft Word and text message apps now predict what you might type to help you fill in the blanks and type faster. Programs like Photoshop can crop around a person in an image in seconds using AI.
AI is also going to become more prevalent in cloud storage this year. You can expect help with automatic organization of your files based on your cloud storage patterns.
Look for features designed to eliminate manual or repetitive tasks to free up more time. This includes AI helping to automate things like provisioning, obtaining and importing data (known as “ingesting”), managing data retention, and more.

4. LEGACY VENDORS BEGIN OFFERING MORE CLOUD OPTIONS

2022 is going to bring more cloud storage options coming from legacy technology providers. For example, Hewlett-Packard Enterprise recently introduced a new Data Services Cloud Console, and Dell Technologies just announced a new APEX multi-cloud design that it is working on to improve the cloud ecosystem.
More cloud storage options mean you may need more help deciding which model will work best for you, as pricing will vary widely. You don’t want to end up with more storage than you need or be paying a lot for a smaller amount of space.
It pays to keep on top of new offerings and understand that every new cloud storage option might not be a fit for your organization’s specific data storage needs.

GET HELP OPTIMIZING YOUR CLOUD STORAGE & BACKUP ENVIRONMENT

Your business data is what runs your company, and it needs to be stored securely and in a way that’s accessible. Find out how we can help you optimize your cloud storage to improve cost efficiency.Contact us today if you want to discuss your cloud storage in greater detail. We can arrange a call and figure out ways to help you.

Feel free to schedule a quick call with a Morefield specialist to discus what is right for your organization or email us directly at sales@morefield.com.
Article used with permission from The Technology Press.

On-Premises vs. Cloud

on premise vs cloud solutions

What is better: on-premises or cloud? Many established companies wonder if it’s worth it to transition out of their on-premises technological infrastructure and move on to the cloud. In contrast, several newer companies wonder if they should invest their early capital in on-premises systems. To choose which option is right for your company, you need to be aware of the differences between on-premises and cloud-based services and infrastructure.

Anytime you do a cloud and on-premises comparison, it’s important to think about the needs of your business. There are trade-offs to whatever option you choose, so you should be fully informed before you decide how many on-premises or cloud services you include at your company.

There are several elements that go into on-premises and cloud systems. To narrow it down, you should focus on the differences between two core elements to your solution: storage and software. Both storage and software are vital to a company’s ability to function day to day. As such, there are several cloud and on-premises offerings for storage and software applications.

Cloud Storage vs. On-Premises Storage Pros & Cons

Choosing to store your data on external servers or in-house servers is a major decision that companies must consider. As you look at the pros and cons of on-premises and cloud storage, you should be knowledgeable about their most important qualities.

What are the Advantages of Cloud Storage?

One of the primary ways the cloud interacts with your company is in the way it stores data. Unlike an on-premises servers with storage, cloud storage uses external servers managed by another company.

A primary function of any business is the ability to store data in servers. After all, servers are the lifeblood of your organization. They store your information, connect your employees and allow you to connect with others around the world. In the past, on-site servers were the only options available to you, but now, cloud-based servers are a viable option as well.

Cloud storage is a great option for many companies, as it provides cost-saving benefits along with functional ones like regular data backups and the ability to scale easily. Cloud storage is a great option for your company because it can:

  • Reduce IT staff’s responsibilities: As your cloud storage will be managed by another company, your IT staff won’t have to take the time to install new software patches or updates, freeing up their time for other tasks.
  • Eliminate capital expenses: While on-premises storage is considered a capital expense, cloud storage is considered an operational expense. Typically, on-premises storage requires a large initial investment to purchase equipment and install it in the office. As cloud storage is taken care of externally, there is no need for capital investment. Instead, companies will pay an affordable monthly subscription.
  • Adjust to your budget: To help companies keep their initial costs low, organizations regularly pay for cloud storage on a month-by-month basis. No matter if you’re scaling up or scaling down, most cloud-based storage companies can adjust their prices to meet your budget. Additionally, cloud storage features can be adjusted, added or left out of plans altogether. This sort of flexibility is great for companies who expect change and don’t want to get locked into paying for services they don’t need.
  • Perform regular data backups: The cloud offers easier data backup than on-premises servers ever could. Cloud-based servers give users peace of mind because they know if their computer goes haywire or their local files are deleted, they can find the information again. This ability to access information that would otherwise be lost means your company can minimize the risk of losing critical information.
  • Adjust to your company’s needs: Cloud-based storage is built to scale. Need a few extra terabytes of data to store more data? Simply upgrade your plan with a click or two. Unlike a company’s own servers that would need to have new hardware installed, cloud-based servers can quickly be expanded to meet the needs of your company. For those companies growing quickly, it means that you’ll never have to worry about slowing down because your equipment can’t keep up.
why cloud storage may not be the best option

Why Cloud Storage May Not Be the Best Option

Though there are several benefits to using the cloud for your storage needs, it also comes with some drawbacks. Cloud storage may not be the best choice for your company because:

  • Internet determines user experience: When you use cloud storage, a fast and reliable internet connection is a must-have. A redundant Internet connection should also be considered if a majority of the workload will be hosted in the cloud. If you have a slow connection, accessing your files or downloading them can be a tedious experience. For those who need to work quickly, a slow internet connection can provide a horrible user experience while they access your cloud servers.
  • Costs can balloon with little warning: The rapid scalability of cloud storage, while an advantage listed above, can also be a costly determent if left unmanaged.  Cloud services are consumption models, so the more storage your company requires, the higher the monthly cost.  Companies should adopt policies and processes to avoid the surprise of a costly invoice.  A single point of contact should be identified within the company, one who is accountable for the cloud relationship and lap-lanes should be established for consumption with anticipated cost increases when lap-lanes are exceeded.
  • Access is based on connection: A downside of relying on the internet to store your files is that an internet outage can totally knock out your access to important files. Losing access to your data during a connection outage can delay your operations and make it impossible for some staff members to be productive. While the reliability of the internet has come a long way over the years, companies need to be confident in their connection before they switch to cloud storage.
  • Litigation – search warrant: If your company is the focus of an investigation, law enforcement could issue a search warrant to your cloud supplier.  Forcing access to your company storage without your consent to search for artifacts that support an investigation.  Electronic materials that are strategic to the company’s operation may not be appropriate for Cloud storage.  Companies should have written guidelines and acceptable use policies to accompany the cloud storage service.
  • Data is less secure: Whenever you work with a cloud storage company, you are entrusting the management of your data to another party for them to manage and keep secure. Whenever an outside party is trusted with your company data, you run the risk of unauthorized personnel accessing it. To avoid this, you’ll want to ask about security practices and procedures of the cloud company and how they encrypt your data while it’s in transit and at rest.

What are the Advantages of On-Premises Storage?

Unlike cloud storage, on-premises storage relies on infrastructure at your company’s brick and mortar office to manage your data. You’ll own all of the equipment, and you will be responsible for the lifecycle management. As you might guess, there are several pros and cons of on-premises solutions for data storage.

benefits of on-premises storage

Though cloud storage has been all the rage lately, some companies still believe that on-premises solutions are best suited for their business needs. For example, many enjoy the greater security that on-premises solutions and storage give their data. On-premises storage is a great option for your business because it can:

  • Operate without internet:One of the major upsides to on-premises storage is that it doesn’t require users to have an internet connection to access data. Though most businesses rely on the internet to conduct business, there’s always a fear that the loss of a connection could harm productivity and make it impossible to access crucial data. On-premises servers will provide you with an internal network that is accessible anytime, no matter your internet connection.
  • Lower monthly internet costs: If your business doesn’t rely on the internet or cloud-based services, you may not need to pay for such a high-speed connection. For those with on-premises storage, the need for a strong connection with fast download speeds is reduced even further. Based on your needs, you may not have to pay for a more expensive internet plan if you don’t have to access the cloud to view files.
  • Provide greater security: Unlike cloud storage, which is more vulnerable to third parties and prying eyes, on-premises storage is completely restricted from anyone other than authorized personnel. On-premises servers are not accessible to those outside the network, as they are not storing the data online. For companies who handle sensitive data, like those in the financial industry, on-premises storage may be a preferred option.
  • Offer control over server hardware:Some companies enjoy having dedicated servers within their building to handle all their needs. Instead of having to ask a cloud storage company to upgrade their storage plan or add new features, the company can simply do the upgrades themselves. Potentially, being able to modify the server’s hardware can give savvy companies greater flexibility and customization for their storage needs.

Why On-Premises Storage May Not Be the Best Option

Despite the many advantages that come with on-premises storage, there are some drawbacks companies should be aware of. On-premises storage may not be the best choice for your business because it can:

  • Require extra IT support: If you decide you want to use on-premises storage, you’ll also need to have IT staff to maintain and manage your servers. This could mean you have to hire new staff members or devote more of your current staff’s time to maintaining the servers. This extra support can add to your costs and reduce the efficiency of your IT department as they will have increased responsibilities associated with the on-premises servers.
  • Adherence to industry compliance: If your company operates within a regulated industry such as Finance or HealthCare, the responsibility to abide by the governing regulations will fall squarely on your company as you are the owner and operator of the servers and on-premises storage.  Compliance can require the attention of many employees, additional money for outside audits and potential fines if the infrastructure is found to be out of compliance.
  • Increase maintenance costs: Along with the initial capital investment required to purchase servers and other hardware, you’ll also need to continue to buy hardware, software and licenses to upgrade the system or repair it. Oftentimes, a piece of hardware will malfunction and need to be replaced. Additionally, in order to realize the most from your server investment, you will want to upgrade your equipment, which will likely be annually (at least), and will require an investment of more money.
  • Require a greater capital investment: When you first set up on-premises storage, you’ll have to invest a significant amount of capital to purchase the servers and other pieces of hardware to get it running. For companies just trying to get off the ground, this level of capital investment can be a huge disadvantage. Along with purchasing the equipment, you’ll also need to devote time and money to make sure it’s properly installed.
  • Increase the risk of data loss: Data is the backbone of your business. Losing it can be crippling, both for your efficiency and your reputation. With on-premises storage, a malfunction in the system or a compromised system held for ransom can cause you to lose your data permanently. While a cloud-based system will keep your data backed up, on-premises storage systems have all the data stored on an internal server, meaning you assume a greater amount of risk.  A best practice for on-premises storage, to avoid the loss of data, is to include an off-site backup service that replicates the data to another site or media.
  • Limit your company’s ability to scale:If your company scales up and needs more storage space or other capabilities, it’s more difficult to scale your on-premises servers quickly. Unlike cloud storage, where companies can simply pick a more expansive plan with a click, on-premises storage requires you to install new hardware and devote manpower to building the new systems.
why on premises may not be the best option

When you are comparing your options of on-premises and cloud storage, make sure to weigh the pros and cons of each. As you are selecting your provider for the services, ask the right questions to make sure you get the best option for your organization.

Cloud-Based Software vs. On-Premises Software Pros & Cons

Is on-premises or cloud better for your business? Whenever a company looks to add new software to their business, it’s important for them to know about whether cloud computing or on-premises software is a better option for their needs.

What are the Advantages of Cloud-Based Software?

If you’re interested in cloud-based software, you’ll be happy to know that there are plenty of advantages to using it. Some of the top benefits include:

  • Affordability: Generally, costs are lower for cloud-based applications. Instead of having to pay a large licensing fee upfront, you’ll have much lower monthly costs. Often times, these monthly costs take the form of subscription fees. Along with the lower initial costs that make them more affordable, the companies offering these subscriptions often include maintenance and support, saving you manpower and the financial cost of having to troubleshoot problems yourself.
  • Ease of deployment: One of the biggest advantages of cloud computing is its ability to be deployed quickly without long installation processes. Customers of cloud software vendors will be able to start using the vendors’ application within minutes. Quick deployment gives companies an edge over the competition, and as such, is very popular among competitive companies.
  • Management services: One major aspect of cloud computing is the management services that vendors will typically offer clients. Instead of having to host the software or purchase hardware themselves, a customer can work with a vendor who will take care of it all externally, freeing up staff and reducing costs. The business won’t ever have to worry about upgrades or network monitoring, as the vendor will manage it all.
the advantages of cloud based software

Why Cloud-Based Software May Not Be the Best Option

As you can see, cloud-based computing has several benefits. However, before you sign up for it, there are a few disadvantages you’ll need to be mindful of, including:

  • Long-term costs: One drawback to cloud-based software is that, in the long-term, subscription costs can end up costing more in total than if a company would have paid for a licensing fee from the very beginning. This is especially true if your organization does not rely on the latest version of software.  Cloud-based software provides the latest version to the user, and those development costs are reflected in the monthly subscription.
  • Less flexibility: Flexibility and customizability is often an issue for companies that use cloud-based software. The suppliers that provide software to companies via the cloud often don’t include widely customizable options. All consumers are provided the same off-the-shelf application.  The service is often designed for the industry rather than the specific needs of a company, meaning that customers may not receive a service that is convenient for everything they do.
  • Security concerns: Like the security issues that affect cloud storage, cloud software also has comparable problems with security. Though security has gotten better, the cloud can still be hacked into by outside forces that look to extract data from these online programs. If you go with the cloud, seek out suppliers who support single sign-on and multi-factor authentication. Onboarding / offboarding processes should be adopted to manage employee access via a common company directory server.
disadvantage of cloud based software

What are the Advantages of On-Premises Software?

On-premises software comes with advantages that are sure to provide value to your business. The following are some of the top ways on-premises software can be of assistance:

  • Greater customization: Since you’ll handle all of the on-premises software yourself, you’ll likely be able to customize it much more than if you were subscribing to a cloud-based system. If your company has niche needs that aren’t regularly covered by options in the industry, then on-premises software may be right for you.
  • License purchase versus subscription: Licensing models for on-premises systems are usually tied to the host hardware vs. the employee.  A company has greater discretion for reallocating licenses within this concurrent seat model.  It is usually a best practice to purchase 10-15% more licenses to accommodate growth during the lifecycle of the platform.
  • Greater security: Better security is commonly cited as the main reason businesses stick with on-premises security. Like with storage, it’s less likely that anyone will be able to access your programs and siphon data if you keep everything in-house. Additionally, it’s typically easier to install extra data protection tools to data and programs based on an on-premises system rather than a cloud-based one.
advantages of on-premises software

Why On-Premises Software May Not Be the Best Option

Even with the many advantages on-premises software provides, you’ll also need to take into account the downsides, including:

  • Long deployment times: One major issue affecting companies that use on-premises software is its inability to be deployed quickly. When you purchase a piece of software, you’ll have to configure the hardware, test the program to see if it’s working and then roll it out to every employee. This can be incredibly time-consuming and can put you at a disadvantage.
  • Scalability: Another common issue with on-premises software is that it doesn’t scale as well as cloud-based software. For example, if you increase the number of users in a program, your IT staff will have to manually install the software or hardware to let your new employees use it. Additionally, old software can go out of date and saddle you with programs that you no longer have any use for.
  • Remote offices and mobile workforce: If your company has multiple offices or a large mobile workforce, on-premises software can introduce new challenges in providing access to these remote employees.  Additional network or carrier services must be included, increasing the operational costs and overall complexity for the company.
  • Upfront costs: When you decide to purchase software and integrate it into your on-premises system, you’ll need to pay a higher initial cost for the services. While these costs may even out over time, it’s likely that new, updated programs will hit the market, meaning you may not use a program long enough to make back the money you spent at the beginning. For companies that don’t have a lot of capital on hand, a cloud-based subscription may be better.
disadvantage of on-premises software

Hybrid Cloud Solutions: Pros and Cons

A hybrid cloud combines an on-premises data center — also called a private cloud — with a public cloud. This setup allows you to continue using your on-premises servers while also gaining the benefits of public cloud services. Data can be shared between the private and public clouds.

The hybrid cloud includes applications and their components like networking, storage and computing. A hybrid cloud solution can also include a multi-cloud setup for organizations that use more than one public cloud.

What are the Advantages of Hybrid Cloud Solutions?

The hybrid cloud model can offer many benefits for your business, including:

  • Instant scalability: If computing and processing exceed the capabilities of your on-premises data center, you can use the cloud to instantly scale your capacity. When the demand decreases, you can scale down.
  • Fewer on-premises servers: Extra servers at your facility may be unnecessary at times if the demand doesn’t call for them. With a hybrid cloud solution, you can reduce the number of on-premises servers you have.
  • Cost savings from servers: You can avoid the costs associated with purchasing, installing and maintaining servers at your facility.
  • Agility: Businesses based in the digital sphere may need to pivot quickly. The combination of private and public clouds in a hybrid cloud solution can help your business gain a competitive edge.
  • Interoperability: The hybrid model allows applications to exist in the cloud and on-premises. This level of distribution is flexible, so you can move your data around as needed.
  • Reduced latency: Distributed apps at remote locations see improved performance in a hybrid cloud environment. With applications with low latency requirements, computing happens close to end users.

Why Hybrid Cloud Solutions May Not be the Best Option

When considering a hybrid cloud solution for your business, keep these potential drawbacks in mind:

  • Security concerns: The public cloud is based on the distributed data center infrastructure of your service provider. You may not know where your data is operating on their servers. With the hybrid cloud, you have no control over what restrictions your data exists under — geographic and otherwise.
  • Higher operational costs: With the hybrid cloud, you have the option to scale as needed. However, scaling your performance may increase your cost-per-hour fees. Your operational expenditure may vary depending on the pay model of your service provider. You may also see higher costs associated with maintaining your private cloud.
  • More internal responsibility: The private cloud requires your business to operate and maintain its own data center, enterprise software and IT hardware. Your company will also need to manage your security and compliance.

Do You Have to Choose One or the Other?

One major trend in a variety of industries is the use of hybrid systems that utilize both cloud and on-premises solutions. This means you don’t have to be exclusive with your usage of on-premises or cloud-based systems. Instead, you can use both for the most appropriate needs. For example, you might have some in-house servers for the most important data, while having day-to-day data in a cloud so all your employees can access it quickly.

Find the Right Solution With Morefield Communications

Whether you want on-premises, cloud or hybrid solutions, you can trust Morefield Communications to provide them. As one of the top business technology companies in Pennsylvania, we know that reliable technology is crucial for businesses to succeed. Choosing Morefield Communications for your on-premises or cloud-based needs means you’ll be working for an organization that has over 70 years of experience in guarding sensitive data, making companies more efficient and providing top-quality customer service.

If you’re looking to add more cloud-based services to your business, we have a variety of cloud solutions available to consumers, along with on-premises ones as well. If you’re unsure of what you need, contact one of our representatives to receive expert advice on how we can help.

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On-Demand Webinar: “How Managed IT Can Help Your Business” with the SBRA

 

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You’ll Learn About:

  • Benefits of managed IT
  • Common use cases for managed IT
  • Reducing business risk technology

Originally presented with the Small Business Resource Association on April 12, 2022

In today’s interconnected world, you need a technology solution that provides continuous support and grows with your company. Morefield Communications is a top business technology solutions company in Pennsylvania. We help organizations integrate and enhance their technology. We’re proud to combine the resources and expertise of a large organization with the local values of a community-based business. We’ll help you streamline your business technology.

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