Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Why your SMB needs a private cloud

For small to medium size enterprises (SMB) the private cloud is the next natural step for their IT infrastructure. Their employees need access to data no matter where they are, and the employer needs them to be always on, and always connected. The organization is going to want to accomplish this goal in a manner that is cost effective, secure, and able to be owned.

Employees need their data. Almost every job these days from sales to engineering requires access to either some form of CRM (customer relations management) interface, ticketing system, knowledge base, or some other database oriented solution. Setting up some form of private cloud environment that is accessible from anywhere is the key to giving them what they need. It's becoming easier and easier to set up an infrastructure these days as well. You really just need some blade servers and some sort of virtualization platform tossed on top in order to deploy virtual machines to serve your purposes. Ultimately your deployment becomes less about hardware and more about services and software.

Your infrastructure cost should go down over time as well. While you wont be able to layoff your IT team, they will be able to automate more tasks, centralize more of the infrastructure, and spend time on things that develop the business instead of fighting fires. If you set up more centralized infrastructure with a proper disaster recovery and business continuity plan utilizing backup essentials you can create a resilient and accessible set of services for your employees and customers.

Ownership is also an issue of great import. One of the next big things in IT is going to be the 'how' in determining what filters to place on all this data that has been collected on users. The answer to that question is going to bring up a lot of privacy concerns, as well as the issue of user rights v. owner rights. Through the use of a private cloud you can avoid some of those pitfalls that you would run straight into by going to a public provider. The key portion of this is that in a private cloud scenario your data is housed in something you physically own. If you need to pull something, or migrate the data away you can and without being impeded by the governance of another organization outside of your own.

In owning the infrastructure yourself you can also lessen the risk of data leak. You have the opportunity to set your own strict testing and security standards. In the hands of another company your are subject to what ever policies they have dreamt up, be they for better or worse. This sort of thing is especially important if you are storing proprietary data, or personally identifiable customer/employee information.

The move to the private cloud is a natural step forward. We've witnessed over the past twenty years the empowerment of the personal desktop, which lead to the beginnings of a collaborative office environment. Now we're moving to each organization having it's own private cloud of computing power, giving them further capabilities and control. Your organization can move from a collaborative office environment to being that of a collaborative organization. No matter where your employees are, they can communicate and in a manner that is under your control.