Cloud hosting provides a lower-cost solution for small business IT needs, bringing you powerful software that you might not be able to afford otherwise. But finding the right provider can be a confusing and frustrating prospect. Here’s what you need to know:
Benefits of Cloud Hosting
Cloud hosting lets you access your data from just about anywhere there’s an internet connection. This flexibility can save you a lot of time and hassle, especially if you or your employees spend a lot of time in the field, away from your desks.
Cloud hosts also provide excellent backup services, keeping you from suffering a total data loss if there’s a fire or other disaster. You also won’t have to worry about updates to hardware or software, as these will be included in your monthly hosting fee.
Running your business “in the cloud” also makes it easier to get up and running when you expand your business to new locations — all you’ll have to do is get your internet connection setup, and you’re ready to go.
Types of Cloud Hosting Services
There are many different types and configurations of cloud hosting packages, but three major ones you should learn about include:
· Private: All of your servers and other computing needs are kept in-house and not shared with any other business or person. This type of cloud computing is more expensive, since you’ll have to purchase the equipment and software on your own.
· Public: This is an outside cloud that provides off-site hosting for any business who wishes to purchase it. This option is cheaper than a private cloud, but may also give you less choice over security or hardware.
· Hybrid: Your most important, sensitive applications and data are stored on your own in-house servers, with other data stored in a public cloud to save space.
How to Choose
To avoid problems such as data loss and downtime that can hurt your business, you’ll need to be careful with your decision on cloud hosts. Ask around to see who other businesses in your industry recommend, and check a potential host’s experience and reputation before handing over your data.
You can use a range of sources to check up on a cloud host before signing up for a plan. These sources include online reviews (which a quick Google search should turn up) and requests to your social network for referrals.
Make sure the cloud provider you’re considering delivers excellent security. Their security measures should include:
· Identity management to allow an application to be authorized for individuals or groups within your company; and
· Secure authentication to make sure only authorized people can make changes to your data.
Cloud hosting has the potential to put powerful software and hardware resources in the hands of small businesses, but it can also cause major problems if you end up with an unreliable service.
Know what you’re looking for in a provider before you start shopping, and do your homework before giving them your business.
About the Author: Freelance writer Angie Mansfield covers a variety of small business topics, including intelius removal.
License: Creative Commons image source