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For the last few years, cloud computing has been drastically changing the way in which companies buy and consume IT. From small and medium business to big corporations, companies are all leveraging the use of cloud computing as a way to optimize their IT spending, while increasing the agility and scalability of their IT infrastructure.

Now, the discussion among Ottawa businesses served by IT services professionals is not about whether businesses would embrace Cloud Computing, but rather what existing workload will they move to the cloud, or what new service or application would they consume from the cloud.

At the core of every business, there is a precious asset: data. Data allows owners of small and mid-size businesses to get better insights into the performance of their operations and take corrective actions to stay ahead of the competition. In this article, We’ll discuss how small and mie-size businesses can leverage data solutions to optimize the way they manage their data.

My Data Is In The Cloud. – What Does That Mean?

A cloud-based data solution is a model in which data is stored and processed on remote servers, rather than on on-site servers. The array of cloud-based data solutions is extensive, it ranges from traditional cloud file repositories (to back up a company’s files), to advanced machine learning platforms that can turn massive amounts of data into precious insights by running complex mathematical models in just a few seconds.

What Cloud Data Solutions Can I Leverage?

  • Backup and Recovery: Also known as an online backup, this service model involves sending a copy of the data (the backup) residing on the company’s private network to an off-site server. Using these solutions can help small and mid-size businesses save hundreds or even thousands of dollars annually in purchasing and maintaining on-site server hardware and software.
  • Database as a Service (DBaaS): under this cloud computing service model the consumer has access to a database and related database services without the need for physically installing and configuring a database engine. DBaaS has been one of the most highly adopted cloud services in recent years: The Cloud Database market and DBaaS market is expected to grow from 07 billion in 2014 to $14.05 billion by 2019, by a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 67.30%. Primary uses for DBaaS have been in the implementation of testing and development environments, but as companies feel more comfortable with their databases on the cloud, critical data is making its way into cloud-based databases.
  • Reporting and Analytics: Reporting and Analytics functionality allows small and mid-size businesses to access a Business Intelligence platform in which they can create end-to-end business intelligence solutions. The capabilities at play vary from simple Dashboarding services, all the way up to powerful Data Wrangling and Data Warehousing solutions. Some of the most popular solutions in this space include Zoho Reports, Klipfolio, Tableau, Qlik Sense, IBM Cognos.
  • Machine Learning: The Machine Learning model involves a very resource-intensive workload. Getting equipped with the right set of hardware to test and optimize models, can be a costly Instead of buying expensive specialized hardware, businesses leverage cloud-based machine learning platforms to easily test, optimize, and deploy their machine learning models. Some of the most popular cloud-based machine learning platforms are IBM Watson, Microsoft Azure Machine Learning Studio, and Amazon Machine Learning Platform.

What Are The Benefits Of A Cloud-Based Data Solutions?

Flexibility and Scalability

Cloud-based data solutions can have access to virtually unlimited capacity that can grow or shrink based on business needs. That capacity change occurs without the administrative overhead of hardware procurement and setup cycles.

Cost Efficiencies

One of the most significant advantages of cloud-based data solutions for small and mid-size business is the cost optimization that can be achieved, not only in terms of hardware purchases but also in terms of the administrative costs associated with the IT staff required to manage those services.

Availability and Business Continuity

Cloud service providers usually have in place advanced high availability and fail-over schemes that ensure your data. This “always on” availability provides businesses with a “failsafe” in the case of local disaster or criminal activity that negatively impacts their ability to utilize data on their local network.

Compliance

Assuring your data storage and security is compliant with industry standards, and government regulations can be a very expensive and time-consuming process. Cloud service providers offer solutions and services that are already compliant with existing compliance requirements.

Deployment Speed

Most cloud-based data solutions can be ready in a matter of minutes or even seconds. Compared with traditional hardware and software deployments that can take days or even weeks to complete, this is an attractive option that not only saves time but labour costs as well.

What Should I Know Before Buying A Cloud-Based Data Solution?

  • Get advice from an expert: There are hundreds of cloud-based data providers. Selecting the right provider and the right solution for your business and requirements is not an easy task. Having the support of experienced IT consultants like the Fuelled Networks team can help you make the best cloud and data choices for your business.
  • Understand the bandwidth limitations: Large backups or restores take a lot of bandwidth to complete. Be sure that your upload and download bandwidth from your ISP is sufficient to handle the extra data flow. Another important consideration is the timing of backups and restores of data to the cloud. Timing those backups or restores when company workflow and bandwidth usage is low, prevents internal processes from being slowed.
  • Don’t Overbuy: One of the main advantages of cloud solutions is that you can buy exactly what you need and increase or decrease your use according to your business needs without having to be tied to fixed-term This flexibility allows your company to get into cloud data solutions at your pace and have the solution scale with your growing company’s requirements.
  • Make sure you understand how much it’s going to cost: One common mistake when buying cloud-based data solutions is to underestimate the total cost of the solution. Usually, entry tiers are cheap, but costs start to pile up fast if you are not paying proper attention. To avoid unpleasant surprises, make sure you do an adequate capacity planning and estimation of the total cost, and frequently monitor your consumption.
  • Get some good advice: A managed IT services company in Ottawa, such as Fuelled Networks, has the people with both business savvy and technical know-how to help you make the best decision regarding data, the cloud, and your internal data-use processes.
  • Make sure your sensitive data is encrypted: One of the major concerns when it comes to your business data in the cloud, is security. Cloud service providers usually have state-of-the-art security practices in place, a security breach for them could have catastrophic consequences, as they may be losing not one, but hundreds of customers. In addition, a breach exposes them to potential legal actions. So, your data is probably safer with an experienced cloud service provider than on your own IT infrastructure. As an extra security measure, you should ensure that sensitive data is encrypted, in case it does happen to end up in the hands of unauthorized

Want to read more about the cloud and the solutions offered by Fuelled Networks? We have more articles for you HERE.

Published On: 29th March 2018 by Ernie Sherman.