What Small Businesses Need to Know About Managing Cloud Workloads

The cloud can be a vital business tool, but only when leveraged correctly.

Transitioning to the cloud is a big step for any organization, especially small businesses looking for a cost-effective yet efficient way to store, manage and maintain various workloads.  

As the cloud market has matured over the past decade, making the decision to migrate is more critical than ever. Before investing in a cloud migration, businesses should analyze workload placement, business needs and performance requirements. First, what are the different types of cloud environments, and which is right for specific workloads?

SEE MORE: Get started on transformation with digital workspace solutions.

Choosing Among Public, Private and Hybrid Environments

Public cloud refers to a model in which IT services are delivered via the internet. Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform are examples of public cloud offerings. Small and midsized businesses are often attracted to public cloud solutions because the cost barrier to entry is low, and it is easy to scale up or down as a business’s resource needs change. Moreover, the cloud provider is generally responsible for managing the infrastructure that the business uses (although customers are responsible for properly configuring and ensuring the security of their assets in the cloud).

Private cloud consists of computing resources used exclusively by one business or organization. The private cloud can be physically located where a business operates, or it can be maintained by an offsite third party. A key factor of private cloud is that the services and infrastructure are always maintained on a private network, and the hardware and software are dedicated solely to one organization. 

Private clouds are often used by government agencies, financial institutions or midsize-to-large organizations with business-critical operations seeking enhanced control over their environment.

Hybrid environments use compute or storage resources both on an on-premises network and in the cloud. As Microsoft notes, hybrid cloud allows organizations to “integrate cloud platforms and services with your existing on-premises infrastructure as part of your overall IT strategy.”

Once an organization has identified the best cloud environment, several management factors become critical. 

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Four Steps to Best Manage Cloud Workspaces

According to TechBeacon, businesses that want to manage cloud environments successfully need to ask themselves four questions:

1. What’s being managed?

Specifically, who owns the workload within the organization? What do the workloads do for the business? When, where and how do the workloads run? Once an organization has answered these questions, leaders will have a better understanding of workload needs. 

2. What security and governance is required?

Organizations can leverage new mechanisms, such as identity and access management, to assign identities to data, people, devices and servers, and to configure who can access what and when in the cloud. This is especially important in public cloud, where access control is key to cloud health. 

3. How can cloud workload translation help?

Businesses can either learn all of the native interfaces for all public clouds — native application programming interfaces, artificial intelligence — or they can use tools to manage cloud service from a single interface. This unified interface allows for different cloud environments to better communicate with one another. 

4. What tools are available? 

Selecting tools to help manage workloads can be just as difficult as working without a tool. To simplify this process, answer the following questions: Is the data encrypted? If so, how does that encryption work with performance? How can backup, security and collaboration applications, including Microsoft Office 365, Adobe Creative Cloud and Google’s G Suite apps, help navigate workloads?

Sometimes, there’s not one tool to suit all workloads, which may necessitate the development of custom tools. If those custom tools fail, that workload should be left out of the cloud.  

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Sep 20 2019

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