The C-suite's guide to the cloud spectrum

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Gone are the days when technology was relegated to the sidelines of a business, only considered essential for industries and professionals directly dealing with it. Today, it is not just a value-add, but an integral part of every enterprise’s operations and ultimately, its success. This has wrought many changes in the way we work, the most noteworthy of which is creating the necessity for every executive – not just the CIO & CTO – to familiarise themselves with the technologies of the future.

Among these is cloud computing, which is essential to doing business in the 21st century. As the IT infrastructure needs of enterprises grow, and we inch closer to true mobility, it’s no surprise that cloud adoption is increasing by leaps and bounds. Unfortunately, too many C-suite executives dismiss cloud computing as being outside of their area of expertise. And while ignoring the technology aspect may have been possible for CEOs and CFOs in the past, it has now infiltrated every aspect of work, and arguably life itself. This makes it essential for executives across different functions and departments to familiarise themselves with at least the very basics of up-and-coming innovations.

One myth that has followed cloud computing is that it is a one-size-fits-all solution that businesses can merely install and use for storage. And while cookie-cutter solutions do exist, they end up doing more harm than good in the long term. To avoid this pitfall, it’s important for enterprises to understand the range of offerings at their disposal, and pick the one that most closely aligns with their needs.

Most people associate cloud deployment with subscribing to a third-party cloud service provider, which owns and manages all the resources that a firm might require. Known as the public cloud, this is the most popular option, especially for small and medium businesses that cannot bear the cost of IT infrastructure. Cost-effectiveness isn’t the only upside of this technology, though, since public clouds offer the added benefits of increased security, greater scalability, maximum uptime and ease of setting up.

Though the public cloud is the most widely used, it’s far from the only option that a business has. Enterprises seeking an added degree of customisation might find private cloud solutions to their liking. These offer an added layer of privacy, which may be mandated by the industry or jurisdiction that they operate in. Moreover, private clouds can allow access even in cases where geography or connectivity is unreliable. One of the factors that has held people back from switching to the private cloud has been the fact that they might need to buy and maintain the requisite infrastructure. In such cases, the Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) lets businesses tap into resources stored on a public cloud, within an isolated environment, with more granular control over virtual networks.

A fourth solution, known as the hybrid cloud, also offers the best of two worlds by utilising resources that are on-prem as well as on the public cloud. It is ideal for companies that already have money invested in IT infrastructure, but still want to make the most of the emerging technology. It can also serve as a stepping stone for ventures that are looking to make the switch, but have their reservations about the public cloud.

Each of these offerings comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. The key lies in evaluating your needs against the options at your disposal, and making sure that the two align. Only then will you be able to reap all the rewards of cloud implementation!

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