Whether you’re computer usage is primarily for your business, or your education, or your own entertainment, you’re probably familiar with the omnipotent “cloud.” Like the man behind the curtain in the Wizard of Oz, “the Cloud” is the all-powerful wizard of the internet, who can grant all of our wishes, but most of us don’t exactly know what it is or what it does.
The cloud is a term that refers to data that is stored remotely and accessed through the internet, rather than being stored on your hard drive. You might be using the cloud for data storage, to run software, or as a platform that your applications are built on.
Using the cloud for your data needs rather than your hard drive is beneficial for a variety of reasons:
- Disaster recovery. The likelihood of your computer crashing and losing everything stored on it is an everyday occurrence. By storing your documents on the cloud, nothing is lost if something happened to your hard drive.
- Delaying Obsolescence. We all know how fast technology becomes obsolete. If the programs you use are supported by the cloud, your computer is relevant and functional as long as it has access to the internet; the requirements of the applications are supported by the data center that hosts it.
- Security. This is a highly debated benefit of using the cloud, but many tech experts (“texperts” if you will) suggest that storing sensitive information on the cloud is actually safer than storing it on your hard drive, unless you use a computer from the 80s that has no internet connection. If your computer is plugged into the world wide web, it can be taken over by a cyber pirate; when your sensitive documents are on a cloud storage provider who follows industry best practices for security, there is an extra layer of protection between you and hackers.
Creating a Cloud Strategy
Understanding what the cloud is and what it offers is an important first step in making the most of it. However, even then, you’ll find a hundred thousand cloud providers (both public and private) that each have different strengths. Figuring out the best use of the cloud for your organization can be difficult. This is why the universe invented cloud brokerage services.
Like brokers for mortgages, cloud brokerage services make themselves experts in all things cloud-related to help you ensure you have the best strategy in place. A few benefits of using cloud brokerage services include:
- Finding the best mix of services. Some cloud providers offer their own suite of cloud services. They may have some strengths, but every service offered by a single provider is most likely not going to perfectly align with your cloud needs. On top of this, the more vested you get with a single cloud provider, the more difficult it is to change directions (even in a single area of your cloud services) down the road if it isn’t working for your company.
Cloud services brokers help you develop a plan using a la carte services from a mix of providers, so you really do find the best fit for every need you have. If you discover that one particular service isn’t working as well as you’d hoped, moving a single piece to another provider isn’t as cumbersome as it would be if all of your eggs were in a single basket. Additionally, your cloud broker will help you make the necessary changes so that your cloud strategy is as efficient as a well-oiled machine.
- Negotiating power. The cloud brokerage service who represents you can use their knowledge of the business and relationships they have with providers to negotiate a better deal for you, both in terms of cost and extended service level agreements.
- Strategy implementation. Your cloud consultants will have a hand in your transition to the cloud, retiring non-cloud applications, and ongoing support. Having your own personal cloud expert ensures that common pitfalls are avoided while executing a cloud plan, and its ongoing success.
Have you used a cloud broker to develop a strategy and implementation of cloud services? What was your experience like? Please share in the comment section below!