If considering the adoption of a cloud services model there are a number of options for the business owner to consider. For this post we will compare the different cloud service models available to business. There are three key service models available to business when choosing a cloud solution;

  • The infrastructure model
  • The platform model
  • The software model

Control: The Infrastructure model

The infrastructure model offers the highest level of security and control over ones data. Effectively, the entire cloud service is owned and managed by the business. The business has full control over the infrastructure, hardware, software and ultimately information stored on any servers. Given this however, establishment and maintenance costs can be higher than the alternate models.

The infrastructure model may be suitable for a business that has highly confidential information such as a patent attorney firm or a medical centre, where information is highly confidential and must be protected.

Outsourcing: The Platform model

When utilising the platform model, physical infrastructure of the cloud service is managed by a cloud services provider who manages hosting services. The business will still be able to select software and make adjustments to suit business needs, however underlying hardware is managed by a third party. While this is generally a safe option, business must be confident in the legal agreements they enter into, as these can stipulate important details around management of confidential data, IT disaster recovery and levels of technical support.

The platform model may be suitable for a business that has employees on the road, but need to access client information. It is a flexible and potentially cost effective model for business who need access to data, but are not inhibited by highly confidential information.

Free or low cost: The Software model

The software model offers basic cloud services to users, such as basic email functions and storage. There are many free software based models – targeted to private users, who are looking to save photos, music, Microsoft Office documents etc. While these are free, they also come with many commercial limitations and as such are generally not suitable for business. However, a Hybrid cloud services model, which utilises two or more of the above cloud service models, may be a superior option for a business.  

Balance: The Hybrid Cloud Services Model

Choosing the right cloud services model is about balancing security with your IT budget
Getting the right Cloud services model in place can save business money over the long run.

A recent article on ZDnet discusses the hybrid model in detail and looks at the benefits of utilising a hybrid model in relation to businesses IT strategy. Implementing a hybrid strategy in a business allows for a business to reduce IT costs, while protecting confidential data. Depending on what the data is used for, who requires access to the data and the level of security required in protecting the data a hybrid solution can be beneficial. However, the expertise from a cloud consulting firm can be invaluable, when considering which public software company to utilise in a hybrid strategy. This is because the introduction of a public platform into a businesses IT strategy could reduce the overall security of the entire strategy.

In summary, business must determine how important data protection is to the continued profitability of the business, as well as ensuring client data is not violated and relevant local privacy laws are not breached. There are a multitude of cloud service offerings available to business. Generally, a higher security, highly flexible solution may be higher priced in the short term – however it is important for business to identify the long term cost, both to profit as well as business reputation, in the event of a data breach or total loss of data.

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